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Unlikely Stories, Anton Gabriel Calvy
Born in Pescara, Italy, the author grew up enjoying the stories of his grandparents, and now shares them with has spent most of his adult life in Florence, Italy as a hotel manager and restaurant owner. These stories delighted and frightened the author as a child during the long winter evenings. They were lovingly told by his grandparents to keep the children quiet around the fireplace, and allowed their imaginations run away with the unforgettable and mysterious personages. Unlikely Stories is very simple and interesting and suitable for people any age. Among many mysterious characters, the most principal ones are Mr. Highness who served the Majesty as a grenadier and Donna Celeste who was a fortune-teller, healer and had paranormal power.
The Legend of Old Befana : An Italian Christmas Story, by Tomie De Paola
The author evokes memories of my childhood Christmas' in both visual and verbal splendor. I was taken back to my
childhood and the story told to my sisters and myself about the Befana. Not only is this book written at a level that all
children can understand and appreciate but it also keeps adults interested. It beautifully illustrates a legend which
inspires the wonderful message of giving during Christmas. This is notably accomplished by Mr.
DePaola's illustrations that although simple are rich in color and meaning. As a person of Italian heritage I was
elated to see such a wonderful legend captured in print in such a obviously well researched manner. The subtle yet
awe inspiring symbolism contained in the book make it a pleasure for adults yet the simpleness and vibrant colours
make it equally riveting for children. I would label this book a "must have" for all parents but especially those of Italian
descent wanting to share some Italian culture with their children.
Italian Folktales, by Italo Calvino
I'm Italian American and to me, this book feels like a little bit of me from the past. I can remember my family telling these stories to each other in Asiago, after eating their meals.
Read this book to yourself, or better, aloud to your favorite adults and children. I really love these stories, and I read them to my cousins when they come over, and they enjoy them too! The tales, some short and some longer, offer magic, fantasy and adventure for the kids and sly insights into human nature for adults. The tales are not "dumbed down" as unfortunately happens in some folktale collections. Calvino preserves the flavor of the spoken word, but these stories work as literature, too. For the scholarly-minded, an appendix in the back gives the provenance of each story. It's a great book for the whole family to enjoy.