Thanksgiving Bread

    “Thanksgiving Bread,” Friend, Nov. 2012, 22–23

    Thanksgiving Bread

    You’re the only person who ever can be you (Children’s Songbook, 142–43).

    Mom says different can be good, but Ying isn’t so sure.

    When Miss Nonchello asked the class to bring a treat to share in honor of Thanksgiving, Ying was excited to ask her mother to bake bread.

    “I will make a special bread for your class,” Mom said before Ying went to bed that night.

    Ying spent the night wondering what kind of bread Mom would make. She pictured herself taking cinnamon bread to class. Everyone would like cinnamon bread. Or what if Mom made honey bread, like Emily’s mother made? Her classmates would like that too.

    Thinking about it made Ying’s tummy rumble. The next morning, Ying imagined she could smell the aroma of baking bread. Then her eyes popped open. She really was smelling something!

    Ying jumped out of bed and got ready for school. Hurrying to the kitchen, Ying saw Mom wrapping something in foil.

    “What did you make, Mom?” Ying asked eagerly.

    “Bread,” Mom replied as Ying peeked under the foil.

    Ying jumped back, staring at the flat pieces of bread she saw. It wasn’t honey bread or cinnamon bread. She didn’t think it was bread at all!

    “That isn’t bread,” Ying said, disappointed. “It’s like pancakes.”

    “Well, in the Chinese culture, we consider it like bread,” Mom said.

    “My classmates won’t want to eat it,” Ying said with a frown. She was worried about seeming different.

    “You never know,” Mom said, smiling. “Different can be good, and this bread is part of our family’s heritage.”

    With a grumble, Ying took the Chinese bread to school. She knew Mom wanted her to be proud of her family, but she could only imagine her classmates laughing when they saw her treat.

    A few of the students brought pumpkin pie. Others brought popcorn and candy. Seeing how different her treat was, Ying tried to hide the bread behind the large punch bowl at the back of the classroom.

    “What’s that?” Steve asked.

    “Bread,” Ying murmured.

    Before Ying could stop him, Steve opened the foil and took a sniff.

    “Ooohh!” Steve said loudly.

    A crowd of classmates gathered around to stare at the flat pieces of bread. A few tears formed in Ying’s eyes as she braced herself for laughter.

    “That looks wonderful!” Miss Nonchello said. “Who made this?”

    “My mom did,” Ying said, blushing.

    “It smells delicious,” Miss Nonchello said. “Ying, why don’t you tell us about it?”

    “My mom said it was Chinese bread,” Ying said quietly. “But it doesn’t look like bread to me.”

    “I think everyone is excited to try some,” Miss Nonchello said.

    And with that, the feast began. Ying’s classmates all took a piece of the bread. Afraid to try it herself, Ying nibbled on popcorn and pumpkin pie.

    “This is good!” Steve called out.

    “Yeah!” Emily said as she took another piece of bread. “It’s even better than my mom’s honey bread!”

    “Really? You think so?” Ying asked.

    “We all think it’s great,” Miss Nonchello said with a smile. “Come have some, Ying.”

    Ying nervously lifted one piece of the flat bread from the pile and took a bite. It was delicious!

    “I guess Mom was right,” Ying thought. “Different can be good.” She smiled as she took another bite, proud of her family and their delicious heritage.

    Illustration by Guy Francis