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Dutton Children's Books, 2001

A baker brightens a bleak winter by baking a big golden sun bread, which lifts the spirits -- and bodies -- of all who taste it, and even lures the real sun out of hiding.


“With rhyming text, brilliantly colored illustrations, and her trademark collages, Kleven depicts a world teeming with animals who celebrate the joy of baking bread and the return of the sun. With a sun bread recipe on the back cover, this is the cheeriest book of the season. A perfect read-aloud for home or school.”

 -- American Bookseller

“Elisa Kleven has a soaring imagination.”
-- New York Times 


“Bouncy rhymes make this tale an irresistible read-aloud, and Kleven’s art is a great match. Enchanting, busy, colorful illustrations combine playful perspectives with whimsical details, patterns and textures to show an expressive animal cast in familiar and magical situations, from gloom to bright sunshine.”
-- Booklist


“The poetic lines of this tale swirl and arc , and the richly detailed illustrations, with the promise of an accompanying activity, hold alchemy of their own”.
-- Kirkus 


“Kleven handles what could have been a sappy theme with a light touch. Her buoyant, rhyming text brims with shimmering imagery (“It glittered on the blue-green seas/wove golden ribbons through the trees”) and has a consistent fun -to-read-aloud rhythm.”
-- Publishers Weekly 


From Elisa:

If you like making art even more than baking, you can make small sun bread ornaments out of salt dough. 

Use two parts flour to one part salt and one part water to form a  smooth but not sticky dough. Knead as you would edible bread dough. Shape your sun (or other figures-- see examples below) on a greased cookie sheet. Carefully insert a loop of wire for hanging and bake at about two hundred thirty degrees until golden and hard.

Elisa enjoys sculpting bread dough into different shapes, like the dog baker in SUN BREAD.  Here are pictures of some of her bread creations:




jennifer garner sun bread instagram post

American Bookseller Pick of the List

A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award 

To see Elisa's sun bread recipe (chock full o' refined flour, sugar, and other wicked stuff) please click here.

For a smile, click to see this short film, created by wonderful musicians and Sun Bread bakers in Japan.


To hear librarian extraordinaire Esther Dalgas' lovely, musical reading of the story, please click here.


To view hundreds of dazzling international sun breads inspired by the book,  please visit the

Sun Bread page on Instagram.  To the right is a  post from actor Jennifer Garner. 

And below  are some touching photos that Mamiko Tsukimoto, a high school teacher in Miyagi Prefecture in Japan sent me, along with this message: "The students who made bread were affected by the Great Earthquake in March, 2011...Nature, animals and food...I thought again after reading Elisa's picture book about the meaning of living, while being grateful for everything in the universe."  Mamiko's  students made the loveliest sun breads, and even created their own Sun Bread Bakery  in art!

SUN BREAD was translated into Korean, Japanese, and Chinese

                                                           A felted wool  tribute to the Sun Bread baker, made by artist Aairyn Maxwell. 

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Sun Bread Day at the Hanford, CA Library and Children's Storybook Garden. Children baked beautiful breads and created custom aprons and chefs' hats!

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