(in chronological order)
The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers picks up where The Heart of Bakers and Artists left off. It’s 1911 In the Lower East Side tenements and Lily, a nine almost ten-year-old daughter of Sicilian immigrants, has big dreams to sing out with her powerful voice, but must do EVERYTHING, since Mama fell into a deep depression, the baby is sick, and the “Black Hand” terrorizes the neighborhood, threatening her chance to sing at the New York Highlanders Fourth of July baseball game.
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The Heart of Bakers and Artists is set in 1911. Nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, loves to sing out her artist heart and prove to her family, especially bossy big sister Margaret, that she is not a little kid. She learns that it is hard and sometimes dangerous to be a big kid in the crowded Lower East Side Little Italy neighborhood, skirting old world traditions, crossing treacherous streets by herself, and tackling bigotry, disasters, and dotty bakers.
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Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni. Antics play out while slurping soup and laughter echos throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There is always room.
“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina
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All of us have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the kids. The lockdown is not an overextended school holiday. Children struggle through the new routines and limits. They need their thoughts and ideas acknowledged, and a means to practice patience and kindness toward others and themselves. Journaling through the quarantine is a productive way to reflect calm and appreciation. Through writing, observations sharpen, and feelings sort so that paths to peace and solutions reveal themselves.
Journal On! Thoughts Gleaned While Quarantined is available NOW! Contact me to request your free digital copy.
Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer chronicles my first year battling breast cancer treatment as a wimpy patient. Through journaling and sending emails to family and friends—My Everyone, I was engaged in life’s stories and somehow, found courage. I signed the emails with the reminder to “hug everyone you know.” Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of my story. It was serendipitous that I was able to hone the elusive bravery because less than five years later, metastatic breast cancer popped into my life and onto my vertebrae. Writing a hopeful memoir became an imperative goal. I couldn’t leave the stories unsaid.
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My first children’s picture book! Famous Seaweed Soup was a labor of love and holds a special place in my heart. Sadly, it is out of print BUT you can view video links and fun facts here.