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Using Zitti’s Cake Shop


These activities are suitable for KS1 and KS2 as they can be adapted depending upon the age group.

Zitti's Cake Shop Activities, RtW2, Jan18


The Book

Zitti’s Cake Shop (La pasticceria Zitti) by Rosa Tiziana Bruno was part of the first RtW project. Although not published in English, OIW commissioned an English translation by Denise Muir which is available in pdf format below to use as part of this activity. 

English Translation of Zitti's Cake Shop



Zitti’s Cake Shop features an outstanding pastry chef who is deaf.  He mixes a secret ingredient into his cakes that leave his customers lost for words. The book explores the extraordinary properties of food as a form of communication because understanding does not always need words. The purpose of our workshop with River Beach Primary School was to consult children about images of deafness and ways to make books accessible to deaf children. Zitti’s Cake Shop was used to explore the themes in the book through baking activities.

The Author

Italian author Rosa Tiziana Bruno is a sociologist, teacher and author. She specialised in the teaching of Human Rights and has spent many years working on intercultural education, and running story telling projects in schools as well as a project in a men's prison based around her picture book Zitti's Cake Shop exploring the senses and food.  


Cooking Activity

For older children the story can be read aloud with the book being held up to show the illustrations.  For a younger audience it can be used for a storytelling session. This can be followed by a cooking activity (biscuits or cup-cakes).

Before the baking activity begins.

  • Ask each child to name their own secret ingredient which may consist of a particular quality he or she believes they possess e.g. (joy, hope, imagination), or a skill (dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument, drawing etc.) or a wish they want to fulfil.  Each child will then write their own ‘secret’ ingredient on a piece of paper that will be folded and put into a box.  (Only at the end of the workshop will all the secret ingredients be revealed and shared).

  • During the preparation of the biscuits/cup-cakes guide the children to pay attention to the smells and the colours released by the ingredients; ask them what they think of the dough mixture, how it feels to touch, what it smells like, all the while remembering what effect Mr. Zitti’s cakes had on his customers.
  • Encourage the children to collaborate in the preparation of the biscuit mixture by passing the bowls round, kneading the dough and taking a turn at rolling out the mixture, so that the biscuits are the result of team work.  It is a good idea to have a selection of different shaped cutters that the children can use to make their own individual biscuit. During the mixing process each child will add their own secret ingredient in silence.

  • While the biscuits are being baked the children can write a short piece or create a drawing that represents what their secret ingredients was.

Once the biscuits are ready place them on the table so that everyone can enjoy the aroma and appearance.  The box of secret ingredients can be opened and the secret ingredients shared with everyone. 

Writing Activity

Ask the children what they think about Mr. Zitti’s secret ingredient, for example:

  • What is the silence? Is it a nice thing? Or is it a bad thing?
  • Are there any circumstances in which silence is useful?
  • Are we forced to talk to understand each other?
  • Have you ever spoken without being understood? When?

This conversation can be used to reflect on the fact that silence is not a bad thing, but rather it can also be a valuable secret ingredient in our life. 

Ask the children to describe their secret ingredient by writing a short story:

  • What is it?
  • Does it make them happy?
  • How does it make them feel? 

Once they have finished their story the children can exchange them with another child who will read it aloud to the rest of the group.

Together as a group the children can think about how to use their own secret ingredient.

  • How would you use your ingredient?
  • What could you accomplish with your ingredient in the future?
  • What would you do when you grow up?
  • Your secret ingredient might be useful in your future work?

Drawing Activity

With younger children:

Use Zitti’s Cake Shop in an interactive storytelling session asking the children to comment on the illustrations.

  • Are the people in Mr. Zitti’s town happy or sad?
  • What cakes would you choose from Mr. Zitti’s Cake Shop?
  • Think of something secret that might go into Mr. Zitti’s cakes.

After interacting with the story the children can draw a picture inspired by what they discussed.

For more information see ‘Reading the Way 2’ Case Study 4 and Case Study 7 from our original research in 2015.



Suggested Books:

Zitti’s Cake Shop (La pasticceria Zitti)
Rosa Tiziana Bruno (text), Ambra Garlashcelli (ills.) La Margherita Edizioni, Italy, 2011
Language: Italian

Zitti’s Cake Shop explores the extraordinary properties of food as a form of communication because understanding does not always need words.

Other RtW2 books that could be useful’ are:

Answer Me, Leila (Leila, Ruddi Allaya)
Nadine Kaadan
Box of Tales Publishing House, Syria, 2011 Language: Arabic

The tale of a deaf princess, based loosely on the story of Rapunzel.  Here the princess is not portrayed as an 'outsider'; she is an empowered protagonist who speaks her own language and it is the prince who struggles and must learn to adapt in order to communicate effectively with her.
(See 'Using Answer Me, Leila Activities')

Answer Me, Leila is available from Box of Tales Publishing

Humbug (Vaker)
Tamas Vincze  (text), Mari Takacs (ills.)
Csimota Publishing House, Hungary, 2007 Language: Hungarian and Hungarian Sign Language

Humbug is a simple and structured book introducing signs for older children. Each illustration is accompanied with a one-word text description and the associated sign.  It includes 'slang' words that would be readily understood by young people. The bright and bold design of the book is very much concerned with its graphics.

Vaker is available from Sinosz Hungary

Books in English

Freddie and the Fairy
Julia Donaldson (text), Karen George (ills.) Macmillan, 2010

Freddie is delighted when he meets a fairy called Bessie-Belle who offers to grant his every wish.  The problem is that the fairy can’t hear very well so all Freddie’s wishes come out wrong because he mumbles.

What the Jackdaw Saw
Julia Donaldson (text), Nick Sharratt (ills.) Macmillan, 2015

Jackdaw is flying into danger!  The other animals try to warn him, but he doesn’t understand the signs they are using. A story about friendship and sign language written by a group of deaf children with Julia Donaldson in a workshop run by The Life and Deaf Association.


For these activities we have chosen books used in the RtW projects. Wherever possible we have checked their availability to purchase.  Some mentioned are not available through the Amazon link from our website (all the above books are listed under their original title if not in English) and can be purchased directly from the international publisher.


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