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When an Author meets his Readers

May 16, 2012

Recently, I was invited to join a group of middle school teachers and their students in welcoming an Italian young reader’s writer, Antonio Ferrara.  Before the event, all present had read at least one of the two books the author would discuss.  The book I had read was “Ero Cattivo”, I Was Bad.  In this story, the main character is Angelo, a young boy who is cynical and has carried out violent acts.  During the course of the story,  Angelo spends some time in the country at a rehab community where his leader is Father Costantine, a true example of “blind goodness and absolute altruisim”.  The qualities that set Father Costantine apart, are exactly what Angelo abhors.

The story is a wonderful example of the power of a  nurturing environment, positive reinforcement, believing in the potential in all people and building the circumstances to make a young person become a responsible one.

The students had been guided by their teachers in an exceptional manner and were well prepared with their questions for the author.  Of course, Ferrara, who spent years working in rehab centers in the north of Italy, at the beginning of his career, is a wonderful character himself.  He was delightful, entertaining, funny, charismatic and immediately engaged the students. He explained many details regarding the writing and publishing of a book to allow the students to better understand the whole process.

He read passages from his book and questioned the students on the interpretation.  He allowed time for the students to express themselves and feel truly valued during the whole program. Finally, a booktrailer was shown on the screen and it can be found on youtube by searching for Ero Cattivo.  This book is one of the finalists at the 2012 Andersen Prize.  The event was very engaging and  the two hour session just flew by!

Heartfelt thanks to Rosa, my good friend and French teacher at the school, who invited me to join her, her colleagues and their students for this event at  Giovanni XXIII Middle School in Catania, Sicily.








  1. RAP55 Thank you, from the son of an Aeolian expatriot (she was only3 months old)!


    • You are welcome. Those islands are breathtaking but too many had to leave to seek an easier life (or was it easier?).


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