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Tea Cakes for Tosh
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Tea Cakes for Tosh

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Tosh loves his grandma Honey and her delicious golden tea cakes. When she tells the story of how the cookies became part of their family, he feels like he's flying back in time. But then one day, Honey starts forgetting things, even an ingredient for the tea cakes. Inspired by his love for his grandma and respect for his family's heritage, Tosh finds a way to give Honey an ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 6th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
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(showing 1-30 of 417)
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Age: K-2nd grade
History: Slavery
Family: Grandma
Tough Issue: Alzheimer's

A well constructed story that discusses two unique issues--slavery and Alzheimer's--and blends it around a family's recipe for cookies. The illustrations are emotionally evocative and I love that every other page depicts an ingredient of the tea cakes on a recipe card.
This book packs a punch. I was tearing up by the end. Grandma gets Alzheimers or dementia of some kind and Tosh helps her remember important things. Nice illustrations - this felt like a real grandma. Lewis also has a good ear for dialogue, making it all the more realistic (and therefore heartwrenching).
Esmeralda Gregg
This book tells of the special relationship between Tosh and his Grandma Honey. Tosh loves listening to Grandma Honey tell family stories. His favorite is about the special tea cakes that smell like vanilla and sunshine. When Grandma Honey prepares the cakes she tells the story of a great-great-great-great-grandma Ida's whose receive she is preparing and explains what life was like for slaves children. Unlike Tosh, the slave children weren't allowed to have any of the treats, though Grandma Ida ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Amelia rated it liked it
Tosh loves when his grandma Honey bakes her golden tea cakes, from a recipe passed down from when his grandma’s grandma’s grandma was a slave cook on a plantation. But then grandma Honey starts forgetting things, like where she parked the car, a phone number, and even the ingredients for the beloved tea cakes. But luckily Tosh has already been taught how to make them, and helps Honey remember the story behind the tradition. An important lesson of learning traditions, recipes, and family history ...more
Jul 06, 2013 Jill rated it it was amazing
Tea cakes actually came to the U.S. via British colonists, who liked these sweet round buttery cookies served with their afternoon tea. While American slaves working in the kitchens were not allowed to eat them, they were required to bake and serve them. Following the emancipation of the slaves, however, African-American cooks continued to make them, and they became a tradition in black families.

Tea Cakes for Tosh celebrates that tradition with the touching story of young Tosh who loves spending
A beautifully written story about the special bond a grandmother and her grandson share. Tosh's time spent with his grandma Honey are spent eating delicious homemade tea cakes and listening to Honey tell stories about their family from generations past. When Honey begins to forget things it is Tosh who helps her and carries on the tradition of sharing tea cakes and stories.

The watercolor paintings perfectly support this story. When Honey tells stories the color palette changes to reflect the jou
Oct 29, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Tosh loved spending time with his grandma Honey, who baked him tea cakes. She told him stories of the cakes, dating all the way back to his great-great-great-great-grandma Ida who made the best tea cakes around. But those tea cakes were not for her children, they were for her owners since she was a slave. Sometimes though, she would make some extra cakes for her children to promise that things would change. Honey started to forget things, like where she parked her car and phone numbers. Then one ...more
Gentle and sweet like the titular cookies, “Tea Cakes for Tosh” is a child’s look at the distant past and the worrying present. As the story unfolds, Tosh’s grandma Honey starts forgetting things and many adults know what such memory loss could mean for the unfortunate individual.

Tosh’s determination to be of help to his forgetful grandma is inspiring to read and tugs gently at the heart. Attaching his grandma’s memory to food is a very convincing tactic to take; anyone who has a favorite food
Allison Fortunato
I really enjoyed this story because Tosh never gave up on Honey. She had told him a lot of stories and made him teacakes and when she started to forget things he remembered and helped her out. My favorite part of the story was when Tosh made the teacakes for Honey. That was a very special gesture on his part and it was very thoughtful. In the story you could tell from the words of the story how touched Honey was that he did that.
Aug 17, 2014 Christine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved this story of family and the importance of oral history. As Grandma bakes tea cookies for Tosh she tells hime the story if his 4x great grandma Ida who was a slave on a plantation. One day Tosh's grandmother can no longer remember the story due to dementia; however, through her Tosh knows the story and in turn shares it with his grandmother. Beautiful illustrations by E.B. Lewis make the story even more special.
Alison Streb
Through the use of his grandma’s golden tea cakes, Tosh learns about his great-great-great-great grandma who used to be a slave. This story is very heartwarming and a story that emphasis’s the relationship of family and honors traditions. The story shows the little boy dealing with his grandmother’s aging and lapses in her memory, students may be able to relate to this with their own grandparents.
Pamela Powell
Dec 01, 2014 Pamela Powell rated it really liked it
Charming story about a young boy and his grandmother. Grandmother Honey makes tea cakes (cookies) from a recipe passed down from Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma Ida who was a slave. As tasty as the cookies are, what really makes them special is the story that Grandmother Honey tells every time she bakes them.
One of the most beautiful stories I've ever read; it had me balling in the break room at work, hoping no one would come in any time soon. It has such a lovely grandson/grandmother story which manages to deal with the topics of slavery and Alzheimer's disease in such realistic and clear ways while staying light, and hopeful, and kind.
Tameika King
Oct 08, 2013 Tameika King added it
Shelves: libs-642
This book is about a little boy who loves to hear his Grandmother's stories. I loved this story. It reminded me of the relationship I had with my Grandma. I think that anyone who has a close bond with their grandmother would relate to the book. The illustrations are mostly in color but go to black and white whenever Tosh's grandmother is talking about the past. One thing that I would do with students is have them read the story and then write a journal entry about someone who they are really clo ...more
Apr 22, 2016 hannah added it
Shelves: picture-books, 2016
Here is your substitution (or addition, depending on your viewpoint or the context in which you're reading) for A Fine Dessert.
Dec 21, 2012 Shelli rated it it was amazing
This was such a beautifully written and touching story about a young boy who loves to hear his grandma talk about times past. Times in which neither of them lived, during a time of slavery and the struggles their ancestors went through. Grandmother had always told these stories with such detail they both felt as if they are being transported back in time as witnesses. However, when grandma gets older recalling these stories becomes challenging for her aging mind to recall. Through baking and lov ...more
Teacher 007.5
Dec 25, 2012 Teacher 007.5 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about a boy who helps his grandmother remember a long and cherished family tradition. Tosh loves his grandmother's tea cakes and the story that goes with it. But when his grandmother begins to forget things, including how to make the family's time treasured tea cakes and their family story, he helps by making the cakes and telling her the story. It is a warming and heartfelt story that emphasis's the relationship of family, time honored traditions, treasuring family history and ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Christopher rated it liked it
Lyons tells a story that at first seems like a simple tale of a grandmother baking for her grandson. Instead, it’s a tale that touches on the delicate subjects of slavery, passing on a legacy, and Alzheimer’s. While reading “Tea Cakes” I am transported to my own grandmother’s kitchen sitting at the table and waiting for teacakes. Lewis’s combination of colorful and black and white watercolors adds to the book’s flavor. Included is also a recipe for the tasty treats.
Jan 27, 2013 Clay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This one really took me back to my Great Aunt Nonnie and her famous Tea Cakes. Every Christmas she and her sisters sent my sister and I each a tin and lifting the lid on a batch of them always brings back the best parts of my childhood. I have the recipe still, passed down the generations, in my Aunt Margaret's hand. Thank you, Kelly.
Heart warming book about a young boy and his grandmother and the relationship they have forged over a shared experience of making tea cakes. The history of the tea cakes is one that the boy learns well from his grandmother and then shares with her as she slips into the haze of dementia. The artwork is fabulous to boot!
Feb 11, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
a young boy begins the journey of his mother's alzheimers. not scary, v. helpful and beautifully illustrated by E B Lewis.
some of the best times i had as a kid were w/my Mom and sister as they cooked and invited me to "help"

this book is memories, added to it is the story of aging.
Tosh helps his aging grandmother make teacakes and share the story of the family.
The characters have real emotions. The illustrations do a great job of conveying confusion (especially with a bluish haze), remembrance and love.
Jul 18, 2013 Dale rated it it was amazing
Illustrations beautifully and realistically depict emotions. A tradition is past on from generation to generation as the reader watches a loved one's health decline. A heartwarming story that enlightens.
Edward Sullivan
Dec 08, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A poignant story celebrating the loving bond between grandchild and grandparent and the stories that keep family bonds strong superbly illustrated with E.B. Lewis's remarkably realistic watercolors.
Aug 31, 2013 Darlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-tea-library
This is truly a touching book! I couldn't get through the entire book without crying. Meaningful in some many levels!
Jan 28, 2013 Tracy rated it it was amazing
This is a great inter-generational story. It hits a little bit on memory and aging.
Teresa Bunner
Jul 05, 2013 Teresa Bunner rated it really liked it
A sweet story of tradition and family.
Mar 27, 2013 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2013-new
Nizam uddin
Nizam uddin rated it really liked it
Jun 19, 2016
Corrina Allen
Corrina Allen marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
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Kelly Starling Lyons is a children's book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her titles include NEATE: Eddie's Ordeal, One Million Men and Me, Ellen's Broom, Tea Cakes for Tosh and Hope's Gift. Her forthcoming books, One More Dino on the Floor and Jada Jones: Rock Star, will debut next year.
More about Kelly Starling Lyons...

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