This book idea was first born in the summer of 2013. I was in the process of taking one of my master’s classes called Multicultural Literature. I was asked to research a book that reflected my culture. So I began an inquiry for rich, children’s literature that reflected what my Italian family was all about. My results were very limited and in my opinion, did not represent the loud, loyal love that comprises an Italian family. So it was then that I knew what one of the focuses of my book would be. I didn’t know what the story would look like, but I knew I wanted to incorporate my grandfather into the story, somehow, someway…
In the fall of 2012, my grandfather, Clarence, passed away. He was so very special to me all of my life. He had the bluest eyes and a big, beautiful set of ears. I would often rub them and laugh until he said, “Don’t be wise, Susie.” This was his way of saying he knew, that I knew they were something to behold. He was a treasure, and I was blessed to have him in my life for 35 years.
And so I used my Pop Pop as my main character. The story is about a boy who didn’t look like his dark-skinned, dark-eyed, Italian family. They were loud, and they were loyal, like true Italians families can be. This story reflects the struggles that children face because they are “different” and just how much bullying can hurt someone. More than anything, this story shows that family is first, and that love, loyalty, and laughter is what being part of a BIG Italian family is all about!
I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.