I grew up in Canton, Ohio and still consider it to be one of the friendliest, prettiest, and most unique cities in the world. Home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton is filled with small town staples and big incentive for visitors to come from all over the country. I spent my childhood wanting to be on Broadway, taking multiple dance classes (that I stuck with for 14 years), and reading constantly. To balance my love of reading, I also had a love of writing. And drawing. And playing instruments. My desire for creativity at such a young age meant that I threw myself 100% into any activity that excited me. Which, if I’m being honest, is a personality trait that’s stayed with me into adulthood.
My grandparents on both sides of the family immigrated to America from Italy in the late 1950s. This meant that my brother and I grew up with a different version of “American” than my friends did. My younger brother and I were exposed to authentic Italian foods, bands, festivals, language, and community. We are Italian-American, proudly embracing our heritage while patriotically claiming our nationality. This exposure to the Italian culture created a love for country far away from my own. I felt pride listening to Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola in elementary school- amazed that someone else knew where my Nonna came from- Calabria, Italy. This pride and longing to be in Italy increased as I read books and watched movies set in Italy. I kept that longing close as I studied Early Childhood Education at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Though life didn’t take me to Broadway, I learned how to perform in a different way for my students each day. In 2010, right before starting university, I went on vacation to Italy with my Nonna in her hometown of Sant’Andrea Apostolo dello Ionio in Calabria, Italy. There, I met my now fiancé Valentino. A whirlwind romance, years of long distance communication, and independent life experiences led to my decision to gain dual citizenship and move to Milan in 2017.
Teaching and living in Italy has helped me grow as an educator and as a person. Recalling the pride and representation I felt while listening to Strega Nona in elementary school reignited my passion for writing. I am currently writing children’s books.
Lots of love,