Book Reviews

See what Fra Noi is saying about Sidekick

Written to improve literacy, develop critical thinking and encourage middle school children to read more, “Sidekick: An Activity Book for the Family” is K.F. DeNicolo’s alternative to our plugged-in world. “If you’re tired of sitting idly by while your family is glued to their electronic devices, this book is for you,” DeNicolo explains. “I created ‘Sidekick’ as a way of stimulating face-to-face conversations on wholesome topics and to inspire creativity and communication.” Readers are invited to remember memorable conversations with loved ones; change the characters, settings and problems of favorite stories; give a loved one a Valentine even if it isn’t Valentine’s Day; share a favorite photo; or plan a dinner menu, among a host of other recommended activities. (

Learn More about Fra Noi - Visit Fra Noi's website:

Fra Noi is a monthly publication that serves as the journal of record for the Italian-American Community of Chicagoland for more than three decades.



See what Fra Noi is saying about Connected

In the fictional comedy “Connected: An American Homecoming,” K.F. DeNicolo tells the story of Catherine and Tav, two teenagers who fall in love at the end of World War I. They marry and live along the Adriatic shores of Italy’s Puglia region — a beautiful place caught in the aftershocks of war — before deciding to leave with their daughter to start a new life filled with new opportunities in America.

Amid the struggles and disappointments of the migrant, they adapt and prosper along the Lake Michigan shore. Later in life, with her husband lost to Alzheimer’s and her grandson lost to indecision, Catherine must redefine the American Dream in the twilight of her years. An assignment that her grandson brings home from school offers her an opportunity to ​once again triumph. (

Learn More about Fra Noi - Visit Fra Noi's website:

Fra Noi is a monthly publication that serves as the journal of record for the Italian-American Community of Chicagoland for more than three decades.


More Accolades

Shared Problem Solving

By Richard Davidson, author of the five-volume Lord's Prayer Mystery Series, and the Imp Mysteries

Connected compares the problems and inadequacies of today's youth with the difficulties prior-generation immigrant families faced, trying to fit into the culturally strange American social structure. It uses an old-country grandmother's anecdotal memories and previously overcome problems as guideposts for a thirteen year old boy trying to face the difficulties of school, bullying, and a dangerous circle of friends.

How many of today's youth learn from history and the past experiences of connected family to face their own obstacles and challenges? Most young people think that they face greater problems than their parents did and that they have to work things out on their own. This book challenges that notion and tries to guide youth toward leaning on lessons learned by their elders. The author's experiences of raising a family and working as a teacher serve her well to grasp the contrasting viewpoints of family matriarch, perplexed youth, and educational staff within two different generations of the same family. Their experiences are indeed connected.


American Passion

A Passion for Being an American

By Judith M. Godfrey

This miniature epic follows an Italian family who immigrated to the United States soon after the twentieth century to pursue their American dream. The story unfolds through the monologues and conversations of the original immigrants and their progeny in the next three generations.

The grandmother is the story’s most compelling character. She is the one who encourages and inspires her daughter and grandson to embrace the American dream that beats in her own heart. She understands her children’s youthful impatience for a self-determination that does not come easily. She raises subjects children do not like talking about, such as feelings of being outcast, bullied and misunderstood. She resists the easier path of complying with her grandson as he struggles with his Italian American identity and exerts herself, instead, to guide him towards the self-assertion that America makes possible. The feeling of not being understood comes out in the characters’ speech patterns, sometimes broken English, elliptical teen talk, allegory, and metaphor.

"Connected: An American Homecoming" carries the strong theme that self-realization can only be achieved by confronting the challenges and difficulties of growing up and of being human. The monologues and conversations are intimate and laced with passion. ##


Connecting with Kids

Connecting with the younger generation

By B. Rossini

A moving experience of a wise grandma and teacher--Confucius-like in its thoughtful, contemplative give and take --with a beloved grandson as he moves a step closer to maturity.