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So Proud of Clarence!
This is Edna Morris from Educating Communities for Parenting, Philadelphia, PA.
Clarence has been selected to be a part of the curriculum for bullying within their program.
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Mom author is featured guest at Mennies
On Monday, Stephanie Baruffi stopped by the East Grant Avenue school her three sons attend to read her recently published “Clarence, A Story of an Italian Boy with Big Ears and Big Problems.”
The tale is fiction.
The inspiration is real.
The children’s book pays tribute to Baruffi’s grandfather, Clarence Claypoole, a retired City of Vineland heavy equipment operator who died in 2012.
“This book was really about dedicating it to him,” she said. “He was a big part of my life.”
Her Italian family heritage is featured prominently in the book.
Before started her reading, Baruffi taught the students about a half-dozen Italian words that are used in the story. She also pointed out the familiar faces in the illustrations.
“I cried I was so happy she could put it in there somewhere,” she said.
The book includes a lesson in dealing with school bullies.
Baruffi, an early literacy specialist with the Children’s Literacy Initiative in Philadelphia, took about three years to write the book.
“I have three boys, 10, 9, and 7,” she said.
“I love all aspects of literacy so I’m around it as much as I can,” Baruffi said, finding time to write when she could, even while sitting in the East Vineland Little League stands.
“It’s almost surreal, I can’t believe it,” she said. “All the work I’ve put into it, then I sent it off thinking that was a fun little project.”
“Then you get this in your hand and you think, ‘I did this from the cover all the way to the back,'” she said, holding her book.
Her first visit Monday was to Jessica Hyland’s first-grade class, where her youngest son, Matthew, is a student.
“It’s really good that my mom’s an author and she’s coming to school,” said Matthew, who positioned himself in a front-row spot.
“To have them giggle or really get the meaning of making better choices, that to me is an accomplishment,” she said.
The visit also underscores what Hyland teaches her young writers.
“I try to encourage them to use what they know,” she said, noting her students are at their best when they are writing about something relatable.
Baruffi wanted her writing project to inspire Matthew and her other sons.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,” said the Vineland High School Class of 1996 graduate. “So for my boys, I want them to know that if they dream it, go after it and get it done.”
“When he thought he was a big shot, he would always said ‘Man, I’m fancy,' ” she said, sure that would be his reaction to his namesake book.
During the reading, Matthew was her biggest fan, shooting his hand up to answer all the questions but yielding when his mom called on his classmates.
He also handed out promotional stickers for the book, giving his mom premium ad space on his forehead until Hyland suggested the sticker might be better placed on his shirt.
“He would have got up and read the book with me,” Baruffi said. “He’s a little bit of a ham.”
Deborah M. Marko: (856) 563-5256; email@example.com
Travel With Clarence
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On March 31st, Stephanie read to Mrs. Blakejewski's third-grade class at Stephen Girard School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Stephanie read to Jessica Hyland's first-grade class at Dr. William Mennies Elementary School, Vineland, New Jersey, where her son, Matthew attends class.
Follow here to see where Stephanie Baruffi's fans take Clarence.
This is Connor and Chase and they loved Clarence's story! Chase couldn't believe that someone made meatballs better than his Nonna and Connor liked it when Clarence stuck up for himself in the schoolyard. What a great story!
This is the Sarnoff family from
New Jersey reading 'Clarence' at bedtime.
Rocco and Mia loved
reading about Clarence!
Gracie can't put down Clarence.
"Our little Italian boy, Joey, 4,
loved that Carence's family had big
dinners like his family and really related
to Clarence because Joey says, "Wow-
Clarence has big ears like me"