Italian Books for children for all 2014

Italian Books, libreria,  italian culture, italian heritage, italian american, italian news, italian traditions

The new location of the Knights of Saint Francis' new bookstore, around the corner at 1318 Grant Avenue.


Dear Readers,
Happy New Year 2014 and as you list your New Year resolutions be sure to include giving gift subscriptions to L’Italo-Americano to all your friends and relatives throughout the year.
Readers with “studenti” in the family studying far from home will find that the digital version of L’Italo-Americano, only $24 a year ($40 for 2 years), makes an ideal gift and can be viewed on any device, anytime and anywhere your young “studente” may be. In addition, they will think of you at least 50 times a year and say “Grazie”.
INCLUDE scanned graphic and include fill in the year 2014 on baby new year.
  New Year 2014, how do you like it so far? Fine I hope, if not, remember what Lincoln said on the subject: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. So take that frown and turn it upside down in a smile.
New Year 2014 is also a chance to play our Italian Heritage forward with the “Bambini” in our lives because never before has our Italian Heritage been so grossly distorted, via Tony Soprano type depictions, Jersey Shore Guidos and Guidettes on T.V. and Mafia video games for young people.
   It is not easy, especially these days, when it is uphill all the way, but please take the time and I promise that you will enjoy and learn something new yourself, every time you read a book or play a game with an Italian Connection.


Books, in English, with an Italian Connection by Tomie de Paola is a good place to start. Author Tomie de Paola, a native of Meriden, Connecticut, is the son of an Irish mother and an Italian father with roots in Calabria. He has written or illustrated over 200 children’s books and has continued to delight both children and adults for over four decades. He wrote Strega Nona in 1975 and has continued to write and illustrate many books with an Italian Connection i.e. Tony’s Bread(about a poor baker who won Serafina as his bride “pane di Tonio”, panettone became a big hit in Milano), Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi, Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons, The Clown of God (Little Giovanni is poor but he learned to juggle using oranges and lemons from the vegetables stall in the town square), The Mysterious giant of Barletta (a huge statue in front of San Sepolcro Church in the Adriatic town of Barletta, Italy) and many more including Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland, a nod to his Irish “roots” but “Patrick” turns out to have been the son of a Roman citizen.
Books written in Italian with an English translation, published by Long Bridge Publishers ( are just fantastic for young children. I recently found three terrific titles at the Museo Italo Americano Gift Shop(Bldg. C, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, Calif. 94123, Tel. 415-673-2200).
   Adriano, Il Cane di Pompeii (Hadrian the Dog of Pompeii), written by M. Frederick and illustrated by Leo Latti.
   Ottavia e i Gatti di Roma (Octavia and the Cats of Rome) by Claudia Cerulli.
   Filastrocche Italiane (Italian Nursery Rhymes) by Ellen Locatelli, with illustrated how to play instructions.
   If geography prevents you from visiting the  Museo Italo Americano soon you can visit for more titles and ordering information. In paperback the above titles cost between $10 to $12 each.
At the website which posted comments from Amazon verified purchasers, I found I was not alone in my enthusiasm for these books:
• A wonderful story and a great way to introduce my granddaughter to the written Italian language.
• What a fun book for us adults in Italian class. With the pictures we take turns reading it to each other just to practice our pronunciation and also listening skills in Italian. The English translations help when we get stuck on the meaning of the sentence.
• My son loves this book. Adriano is an infectious & heroic character. The book is well written without any grammatical errors. We like the fact that there’s an English translation so my husband can read it to him too.
• Very pleased with the help this little book provides—helping me to learn Italian even though I am in my 70s!
New Year 2014. From Filastrocche Italiane (Italian Nursery Rhymes) comes with an Italian version of our English “30 days hath September, April, June and November, of 28 there is only one and all the rest have 31”.
Filastrocche dei Mesi:
 Trenta giorni ha Novembre 
con Aprile, Giugno e Settembre,
di ventotto ce n’è uno,
tutti gli altri ne han trentuno.

This book will delight your child with 20 traditional Italian Nursery Rhymes that have been passed down from mother to child for centuries.
Francesco Rocks, the gift shop that benefits “La Nuova Porziuncola” (a replica in San Francisco of the little Porziuncola, in Assisi, Italy where in 1209 Saint Francis founded the Order of the Friars Minor), is located at 1331 Grant Ave., between Vallejo and Stockton Streets in San Francisco, CA 94133. The shop, operated by the Knights of St. Francis,, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., telephone (415) 983-0213, and is a great source of books for children and other gifts with an Italian Connection.
Among my recent purchases were "Francis of Assisi, the Saint and his Wonderful Story" (a book with simple but colorful illustrations that tell the story of a man whose name was Francis, who was born in a very little town, in the heart of Italy named Assisi and is now the Patron Saint of the city of San Francisco). Another book I enjoyed is "Saint Francis and the Wolf" (the story of how a wolf in the town of Gubbio who attacked people and farm animals, became as meek as a lamb, when befriended by Francis). At St. Bonifice Church, in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a plan which allows the homeless to sleep in the pews during daylight hours and shower at specified times is called “The Gubbio Project”.
The Porziuncola in San Francisco’s North Beach is located down the hill from the Francesco Rocks Gift Shop (1331 Grant Ave., between Vallejo and Stockton Sts.) so be sure to visit “La Nuova Porziuncola” which is adjacent to the main church at the National Shrine of St. Francis and is located on the 600 block of Vallejo Street, corner of Columbus Avenue. All are welcome to see, visit and pray in this small chapel and feel the spirit of St. Francis where once again all is PACE e BENE, and the Knights of Saint Francis volunteer docents are once again giving their time to provide information and a friendly face to all visitors.

Libreria Pino ( is also an excellent source for books for bambini in Italian. He also has an excellent select of books and DVD’s in Italian for adults. 
   Libreria Pino is an online business only, however, from time to time he is an exhibitor at Italian events, most recently at the Mercato di Natale, organized by the DIVE (Donne Italiane che Vivono all’Estero) at the Museo Italo Americano, where I purchased a musical copy of Natale con Topolino, where you “premi i bottoni e ascolta le melodie di Natale” (Push the button and listen to the melodies of Christmas), a book sure to delight young and old alike. At the previous event at the S.F. Athletic Club, I purchased Regioni D’Italia, dalla A all Z, with lots of pictures, past and present history and recipes from all 20 regioni.
The Italian Children’s Market (www.ItalianChildrens, request a free catalog online or call 310-427-2700) is a number you should keep handy throughout New Year if you want to “Give the Gift of Heritage” to the young people in your life.
   They have hand-picked toys, DVD’s, books, clothing, Pinocchio toys and many other newly imported items from Italy, which will introduce children of all ages to the culture and language of Italy.
   Italian Children’s Market (1536 W. 25th St., Ste. 321, San Pedro, California 90732, tel. 310.427.2700) can be your source for Italian  Culture and Language Products for children throughout the New York and beyond.

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