Tayta’s Secret Ingredient by Amal Abou-Eid

Reviewed by Gail McDonald

Amal Abou-Eid is a passionate educator, mother and author of multiple self-published books. Amal started writing children’s books when she couldn’t find books that depicted characters and stories that related to their Muslim Lebanese Australian identity. This is the third book by Amal.

Cara King is a Melbourne based illustrator and graphic designer who has illustrated more than 10 books since 2016 published traditionally and for self-publishing authors. Cara paints in watercolour, scribbling with pencils and dabbles in digital art as well.

The focus of the book is on Harmony Day for the children in Billy’s class, celebrating diverse cultures and traditions when the children are able to take food to the school to share or their music or traditional clothes.

Billy loves the food on Harmony Day best of all and wanted to share his Tayta’s kaak, so everyone could have a taste of Lebanon on Harmony Day.

But Tayta didn’t have a recipe that she used to bake kaak and would use her secret ingredient. Billy could see some of the strange ingredients that were in Tayta’s recipe but was puzzled about the secret ingredient. What could it be?  Where did she hide it and what did it look like?

Billy looked everywhere but couldn’t find it.

Billy helped Tayta roll out the biscuit dough into little logs and then connected the ends together to make rings. He placed them on the tray and sprinkled them with sesame seeds before Tayta put them in the oven to bake. He still didn’t know what the secret ingredient was.

The next day he took the biscuits to school to share with his classmates and teacher but couldn’t disclose the recipe because of the secret ingredient which Tayta had finally shared with him.

An entertaining story about other cultures and traditions in Australia. The illustrations were clear and highlighted the traditions of Billy’s family and culture. This would be a great story to open discussions about difference in families in Australia.

Tayta’s Secret Ingredient


by Amal Abou-Eid; Illustrated by Cara King

MidnightSun Publishing

ISBN 978 192285 812 2

$29.99; 32pp

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