A noteworthy review of Our Cultural Heritage from Children's Literature on November 1, 2002
During the nineteenth century over three million Italians chose to immigrate to the United States. Their reasons for leaving Italy varied, but for many, America represented a new opportunity for freedom and prosperity. Many Italian immigrants came to the United States with dreams of a land of milk and honey. One Italian immigrant recounted his experiences upon arriving in this manner, ‘When I came to America I thought the streets would be paved with gold. When I arrived I learned that the streets weren’t paved and that I was expected to pave them.’ It is the Italian immigrant experience that author Vicky Franchino traces in this illustrated glimpse of a bygone era. Franchino begins by discussing the causes of immigration and then describes the many contributions that Italian-Americans have made. As the author points out, life for Italian immigrants was often hard. Many Americans spurned them and their cultural and religious practices set them apart from mainstream America. However, over time, Italians not only melded into America but also helped shape its culture. Readers with an interest in the immigrant experience will find this little book to be of great interest.
—Greg M. Romaneck