French Toast for Maleek

An Open Door Press Publication

A touching and poignant story of hunger as told through the eyes of a young child, French Toast for Maleek is the first publication of UCOM's very own Open Door Press. Written by local Grand Rapids author Amy Carpenter Leugs, the book follows a day in the life of Maleek as he wakes up to discover there is no food in the house. With Spanish language translations by Ale and Ben Siekmeier and beautiful illustrations by artist Heather Newman, French Toast for Maleek makes for a powerful tale for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Reaction to and praise for French Toast for Maleek has been overwhelming;

French Toast for Maleek is a powerful story that brings to life the day-to-day struggles of the working poor, something our urban congregation deals with every day as the "new" poor  -- the working poor -- line up outside our doors seeking assistance.
--The Rev. Todd A. Petty, Senior Minister, First (Park) Congregational UCC, Grand Rapids, Michigan

French Toast for Maleek is a beautiful, moving story that offers its readers, both children and adults, a most precious gift: the gift of empathy. Maleek and his family put flesh, bone, heart and soul onto the invisible nature of hunger…. May this book be a call to each of us to open our eyes, our hearts and our hands to people who are struggling and hungry.
-- Jennifer Gray, Vice President/Programs, Access of West Michigan 
Providing a place at the table for working solutions to hunger and poverty

A gentle, sweetly told tale about a child who longs for a good meal, and how his brother's songs, his mother's love and a community's generosity see him through. It will make you hunger for French toast and a better world.
-- Charles Honey, religion columnist, The Grand Rapids Press

French Toast for Maleek is a phenomenal story that captures for all of us who live in relative comfort what hunger is from the viewpoint of a child. I teared up the whole time I read the book and when I was finished I knew I’d need dozens of copies…
--Michael Merrin, Chair Essential Needs Task Force Food and Nutrition Coalition, Grand Rapids MI

The story of hunger in our community is told better by Maleek and his family than any data or headlines. I look forward to sharing this with my own children.
--Tony Campbell, VP Community Impact-Education, Heart of West Michigan United Way

French Toast for Maleek offers a special glimpse into the life of a child who just wants to  be a child but is burdened by the pain and stress of poverty—the kind of poverty that exists in our backyards. This book reminds us that the services we provide are much more than delivering food. We deliver love, consistency and nourishment for the mind, body and soul.

—Bridget Clark Whitney, Executive Director, Kid’s Food Basket, Grand Rapids 

Illustrations Copyright of Heather Newman, 2012, used with permission