Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 23, 2021

Book Giveaway: PIE FOR BREAKFAST by Cynthia Cliff

Cynthia Cliff has written and illustrated her first picture book, PIE FOR BREAKFAST, published by Prestel Junior. It is available in bookstores April 6th and available for pre-order on Amazon now. Cynthia has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Cynthia.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A beautifully illustrated baking book for children featuring recipes for delicious treats along with a powerful message about family, diversity, and helping others.

When Hazel and her father bake together, her mother says they make the whole house smell like a fancy bakery. And when they bake in the morning, they get to eat their goods as a special treat–even if it’s for breakfast. One day Hazel decides to organize a morning bake sale for her school and encourages her friends to contribute to the effort. The results take readers all over the world, from strawberry mochi and pumpkin empanadas to Indian-spiced shortbread and Egyptian basbousa cake. Best of all, each of these treats including with muffins, carrot cake, scones, and vegan and gluten-free items–comes with its own easy-to-follow recipe. Cynthia Cliff’s charming illustrations combine the simplicity of folk art with a sophisticated flair. Her down-to-earth baking accommodate all sorts of substitutions and skill levels. The perfect book for satisfying baking, Pie for Breakfast introduces children to new flavors and treats, opening their palates and their eyes to the delicious ways that baking can bring us together.


This book’s journey began many years ago. As an eight-year-old I was allowed to bake on my own. I made pies and cookies, and sometimes a cake. I also made a lot of mistakes. Like the time I thought it was silly to put salt in a sweet cookie, so I left it out. The cookies were flat and tasted terrible! My mother let me learn by making mistakes. She also taught me that baking was both a way to be creative, and a way to show your love for others. So, I thought it would be fun for my daughter and I to bake together, and to also create artwork based on our baking (she is also an artist). For a year we had a blog called “Pie for Breakfast.”

In 2019 Prestel saw this blog and my illustration work. They emailed me on my birthday and asked me if I’d like to write and illustrate a baking book for children. In my head I was thinking, “I’ve never written a book before! I’ve never illustrated a book before! I’m not a professional baker! I don’t know if I can do this!” but I answered them, saying, “Yes, of course I would!” That email was the most delicious birthday present I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad that I said yes. I trusted and believed that I could do the work, and Prestel trusted and believed in me too. It was a fabulous partnership.

Just because the book offer came so easily, does not mean that the book was easy to make. It was a lot of hard work! The publisher wanted to name the book “Pie for Breakfast” after my blog, and they wanted to include children from different backgrounds, and different kinds of families, as well as a variety of recipes for many different baking levels. I needed to develop a story that would honor these requests and tie everything together. It was like building a big puzzle. I came up with the idea of children all working together on a bake sale to benefit their school’s library, with my main character, Hazel, organizing the effort.

Hazel, (who is named after my mother-in-law—a wonderful baker) and her family were developed first and paired with my blackberry crumb cake recipe. They were created to establish the character’s style, the recipe setup and layout format for the whole book—both for the illustration style and the writing style. Many of the recipes are deeply personal to me, but the blackberry crumb cake recipe is especially so. It was the first cake I made as a child all by myself. I would pick wild blackberries with my brothers, and then we’d make pies or the blackberry crumb cake. The pear muffin, zucchini cookie, and hand pie (pumpkin empanadas) recipes in the book were some of my children’s favorites, and I often brought those baked goods to my children’s preschool for a snack to share with their whole class.

Next, I developed a long, long list of recipe ideas and possible character, family and recipe pairings. The publisher, making sure to include a good variety of baked goods and characters, narrowed these down to the few that were included in the book. After that step, I sketched up thumbnails for the whole book, being sure to include a variety of settings like shopping for ingredients, harvesting pumpkins, tasting, decorating baked goods, and yes, of course some children stirring batter and measuring ingredients. Once the thumbnails were approved I could start working on each spread and baking—lots and lots of baking!

As you can see, I broke the whole process down into manageable steps. By working that way, it all felt doable and I never felt overwhelmed by the work. I also generally worked on one spread and one recipe at a time. For each recipe I’d do a formal sketch of the characters and their environment specific to that recipe. Each recipe needed three to four illustrations to show some of the steps. I would test the recipe, then type up the ingredients and the steps. I’d send the whole layout with sketches and typed recipe to the publisher for approval. After final approval of the layout, recipe and sketches, I could begin making the final artwork. The thumbnails and sketches were a combination of traditional and electronic methods, and the final artwork was all made in Procreate using those resources.

I have to say that the book was a delight to make, and I so enjoyed the whole process, every single tiny bit including tasting all of the things I made! Food is so full of meaning and memories. It’s beautiful and nurturing, and is the universal connector. I have many powerful memories that involve the growing of food, foraging for food, learning to cook and bake, and all of the special cakes that my mother would make for our family. I hope that when children look at this book they’ll be inspired to bake, and that their parents will bake with them, creating their own memoires that will last them a lifetime.


Cynthia grew up in a tiny, historic village in rural Virginia, surrounded by simple living, animals and gardens, and a large extended family—all of which provided her with a love of history, family, nature, and local folklore—themes that find their way into much of her work. As a young child she experimented with all kinds of art making, needlework and crafting. This upbringing fuels her optimistic, whimsical, folk-art based style and aesthetic to this day. She is a trained graphic designer whose knowledge of composition, color-theory, and printing all help inform her illustration work.

Her greatest joys in life are time spent with family and in nature, travel, baking, and when she can create make-believe worlds for young readers and dreamers of all ages. She has illustrated for children’s magazines, including two issues of Honest History. She lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband and not nearly enough animals.

Cynthia, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love that you have paired up your grogeous illustrations with the fun of food and cooking. I have never known a kid who didn’t want to help make a cake or a pie. Everything looks delicious. I know I want to taste everything. Good luck with the book! 

If you missed seeing Cynthia’s Illustrator Saturday feature, click here to view.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a yummy story! Loved hearing the background of how this came to be and can only imagine the baking adventures while creating this. The illustrations are GORGEOUS!Thank you for sharing! 🥧❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Umm As an avid baker myself, I have to have this book! Sounds wonderful!

    I subscribe to this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excited to see this book. Loved hearing the backstory and seeing samples of the gorgeous art. Thank you both for sharing the deliciousness. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As the author of Let’s Eat! Mealtimes Around the World, you can imagine that I love this book! It’s a fun and festive tribute to food for kids. I collect culture/food books and can’t wait to get this one. Kathy, I am a newsletter subscriber.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pumpkin pie is the best for breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree!


  6. Your book sounds wonderful! Kids and adults will love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats, Cynthia! I love all the illustrations you shared. Kathy, I’m a newsletter subscriber.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This book sounds so fun and delicious! Thanks for sharing and congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cute! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I actively seek new recipes to try, especially for baking new treats. This book will be a delight. I’m an email subscriber and shared on pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and Facebook:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thank you so much!


  11. What a wonderful book. Baking is about creativity and love. I can’t think of anything better than eating pie for breakfast – congratulations! (blog follower)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!


  12. I love baking with my preschooler and this book is as inviting as any dish The illustrations are beautiful and I really love the intentional diversity. I am a subscriber to this blog and I like reading about each book journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful idea for a kids book, I love the multicultural aspect. Thanks!
    I’ve tweeted a link:, and shared an image with a link too:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow, what an accomplishment! This book looks wonderful. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a sweet book! Thanks for telling me about it. I’m a subscriber to your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My kids would have so much fun with this book!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ooooh, books, food, and pie for breakfast! Sounds lovely. Congratulations!

    I tweeted this post and I follow by email, Kathy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a great idea for a children’s book and one I have wanted to see on the library shelves and in the bookstores.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a delicious-looking new picture book! I love the title (and actually love pie for breakfast, too). Thanks for sharing the back story.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love food-themed books and this one looks extra special!


  21. […] copy of this gorgeous cookbook for children! I read about Pie for Breakfast on Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating, a blog about books and the publishing world. Thank you, Kathy, for featuring Cynthia and allowing […]


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