Saturday, December 24, 2011

24 Dec 2011 Christmas Eve

I have been reading an Italian book, written for pre-teen girls. It's named "Buon Natale, Valentina." Today was a extra special day, which is nice, since it's Christmas Eve.

Since I first started studying Italian many years ago, I have purchased books in Italy to bring home to California. My first books were from the children's section. I found a series about a girl named Valentina. I choose this series, primarily because I did not want to read American/British children's books which had been translated.

The author of the Valentina series is an Italian, Angelo Petrosino. In my quest to learn the Italian language, I have found that one needs to also study culture, families, traditions and history. This information can be found in children's books.

The first Valentina books (2001) follow 10 year old Valentina, her family, school friends and her dreams, questions and thoughts about her world. I now have over 20 Valentina books. Each trip I make to Italy, I buy a few from Edison Libreria in Firenze. It's my special indulgence.

Until 6 months ago, I was unable to read these books with ease. The first books took me months to get through, with a pen and dictionary always by my side. My books are marked with notes about grammar, customs and everyday phrases I want to remember.

The books are numerically numbered.  Two weeks ago, I jumped from number 4 to number 11 "Buon Natale, Valentina" (Merry Christmas, Valentina!). I have been reading it each day during my 30 minute van pool drive to work.

Yesterday, I finished this fabulous little book. It may appear to be written for children, but it is definitely more ... Yesterday I knew I had to write a thank you note to Angelo Petrosino. I pulled together my best Italian and sent an email, expressing my appreciation for everything I find in his books: grammar lessons, life lessons and an insight into the mind of a modern young Italian child.

I received an early Christmas present this morning. I found an email from Angelo Petrosino in my Inbox. WOW! A kind, thoughtful man whom I would love to meet. I didn't tell him that of course, but I would. He understood exactly what I said or meant to say. He's been an elementary school teacher for 40 years and understands children. He has been known as the Story Telling Teacher. He told me he learned the art of story telling from his grandfather. This skill, he used to create his Valentina books.

If you love the Italian language, you will love the Valentina series. Each book is a treasure.

"E siccome quel personaggio dice le cose che anche io penso, vuol dire che nelle pagine di un libro sta parlando anche per me. Di conseguenza sono io che, alla fine, dialogo con le mie lettrici e i miei lettori."
"And since that character says the things I think, means that the pages of the book speak for me. Therefore I am, ultimately, in a dialogue with my writings and my readers."

Interviews with the author:

WebSite: Angelo Petrosino