FIAME holds annual book talk with Rosanna Chiofalo

FIAME holds annual book talk with Rosanna Chiofalo
Photo courtesy of Rosanna Chiofalo

The Forum of Italian American Educators held their yearly Book Talk event.

FIAME, based in the borough, hosted Rosanna Chiofalo, the acclaimed author of a number of novels on Italian and American life at their annual Book Talk at the Morris Park Community Association.

The event was planned for Thursday, November 19, just before press time.

The organization’s president, Josephine Fanelli, said that FIAME’s goal is to showcase Italian-American authors around the time of Italian Heritage Month in October.

This year, the event took place in November because of scheduling concerns, she said.

“FIAME has been doing this for many years,” said Fanelli of the Book Talk events, adding “It shows our members that our Italian American brothers and sisters are very active in different occupations.”

She added that Chiofalo’s books that are about Italian-Americans are based on stories that the author’s mother told her and that she developed them into fiction.

Chiofalo’s mother and brother both live in Morris Park, the author said, adding that she had addressed FIAME once before, several years ago at Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza. She said she found it to be a positive and rewarding experience.

The author’s books, Bella Fortuna, Carissima and Stella Mia, deal with the Italian American experience with settings in both New York City and in Italy.

A recurring theme in all of them, as well as in the forthcoming Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop, is the central role of family life for Italians both in the United States and in their native land, particularly Sicily, which features prominently in the novels.

The novelist said that at this year’s FIAME Book Talk she would read a short excerpt from the Stella Mia, talk about her inspiration for writing the book, explain her own cultural background and how her family immigrated from Sicily in the 1960s, and have a question and answer session with FIAME members.

“I am trying to promote the Italian culture in a positive way,” said Chiofalo, adding that she hopes to engage her readers not only about family life but also about the beauty and traditions of Italy.

The hope is that this knowledge could be used by teachers with their students, indicated both Chiofalo and Fanelli.

“I would hope that they would be able to pass along to their students what I am trying to convey in my books: how beautiful the Italian culture is and how important these strong family dynamics are, even for shaping people.”

FIAME’s Book Talk events are gatherings that provide an intellectual, as well as a social, experience for the educators, said Fanelli.

“We do this every year, and every year they get better and better,” said FIAME member Joanne Russo Rubino about the organization’s talks.

For more information about Rosanna Chiofalo and her work, visit

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.