Pizza in Pienza
Written and Illustrated by Susan Fillion
A young Italian girl professes her love for pizza in this bilingual (English/Italian) picture book. Told through a series of paintings, readers are introduced to the girl’s hometown of Pienza, where life is simple and sometimes old-fashioned, but everybody knows each other, and the constants are comforting: extended family, large midday meals, and, of course, pizza.
I love to eat pizza anywhere, anytime.
Even when it rains, I eat it walking in the street.
Whether cooked in a hot brick oven at her favorite restaurant, or made from scratch in her grandmother’s kitchen, the young girl thinks about pizza so much that she goes to the library to learn more. Here, Fillion offers readers a simple history lesson, easily digestible for a third grade audience.
Ancient Greeks and Italians ate flatbreads with onions, herbs, and honey.
…But pizza as we know it was really born in Naples Italy.
This book would work well as a classroom read aloud, as there are many opportunities to engage students in discussions about food, languages, and culture. Children of all ages will gravitate to Fillion’s illustrations, painted in acrylic with rich, warm colors. She has a sense of humor, too – look for surreptitious slices of pizza popping up in portraits of the Mona Lisa and World War II soldiers, among others. Back pages include an Italian pronunciation guide, a “Brief History of Pizza” (designed for parents, teachers, or upper elementary grades to dig in to), as well as a recipe for Pizza Margherita – a tasty finish.