On March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I was asked to be guest reader at Montclair Kimberly Academy to help celebrate Read Across America. I was honored to be a part of it and... a bit nervous. I realize these are third graders we are talking about, but this is not their first story time. What book should I bring in? Since Dr. Seuss is part of the main theme, then my favorites are The Lorax and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Both of these are great books for cozy nights, but they are both long tales for the classroom and the last thing I want is to overstay my welcome. My other children’s book favorites are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, the Click Clack Moo series by Doreen Cronin, and any book by David Shannon. But I figured most of the kids had read those a thousand times already and I wanted to bring in a book that the class hadn’t heard before, so I chose The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz.
It’s a lovely story about a not-so-popular boy who sprouts beautiful flowers all over his body during the full moon. When a new girl appears at school he creates an especially thoughtful gesture to ask her to the school dance. The book is about celebrating differences and accepting everyone as they are. It’s not your typical Cat in the Hat, but the kids listened with intent and seemed to be genuinely interested throughout the whole book. When I finished reading we talked quickly about the book and then it was time for questions. I was impressed with their insightful questions about the bakery and me, and I realized it was actually a pretty good FAQ. I thought I’d share the questions and answers here in my blog:
Teacher: Why did you start The Little Daisy Bake Shop?
Me: I was baking at home for family and friends and it started to grow bigger than just a hobby. When I saw a space available in Upper Montclair, I decided I could really go for it and open my own bakery! I had no professional baking experience, but I knew I loved to bake and I believed I could do it. Now I have a team of 20 that bake and sell our delicious treats!
Child #1: Why did you name it Daisy?
Me: Daisies have always been a special part of my life. They were my wedding flower, and I had a daisy stamp that I put at the top of all my letters to my grandmother. The store was originally called Blue Daisy Bake Shop because the stamp on my grandmother’s letters was blue. Then we changed it to The Little Daisy Bake Shop, which fit perfectly for our little space.
Child #2: I have a horse named Daisy.
Child #4: My last name is Baker.
Child #5: Have you ever had any disasters?
Me: We’ve been in business 5½ years so we’ve had quite a few. We’ve dropped a tiered cake. We’ve smashed decorated cookies. Our refrigerator has caught on fire.
We’ve spilled full containers of sprinkles, and we’ve spilled full buckets of batters.
We’ve accidentally spelled peoples’ names wrong on cakes.
Why are half spelled one way and half another? Oops.
One time all our finished cakes were on a counter in the back and someone left the back door open and dirt and leaves blew in all over the cakes. We had to redo them all from scratch.
Dropped cake. Had to remake.
Melted cake in trunk of car.
This bear got sick.
Child #6: What’s your favorite thing to eat?
Me: I can never turn down a chocolate chip cookie.
Child #7: What’s your favorite thing to bake?
Me: I love to bake things that make people happy. I have friends who love our key lime pie and it’s fun to bring it to them and see the smile. I love to decorate cakes for kids who I know will be so excited to have their designs brought to real life. I bake because it makes me happy and I bake to make other people happy.
Child #8: Will you open up more bakeries?
Me: I’m looking in to it.
Child #8: Where?
Me: I’m looking in to it. Where would you like another one?
Child #8: ::shrugs::
Child#9: How old are your kids?
Me: 11 and 13
Child #9: Do they get to eat your stuff all the time?
Me: Sometimes, but they really love Ben & Jerry’s.
Child #9: I‘ve been to your bakery.
Child #10: My mom is a good baker.
Child #11: My mom is a good cook.
Child #12: My dad is a good cook.
Child #13: Did you bring anything for us to enjoy today???
Me: Yes! I brought chocolate chip cookies!