Italy and Italian Culture - For Children

Il modo migliore di imparare e' tramite l'intattenimento. Nessun modo migliore per assimilare informazioni che farlo come svago. Se poi lo si fa' per mantenere vivi i legami con le proprie origini il beneficio e' molteplice. Janice Therese Mancuso ci illustra alcuni link e libri adatti a tale scopo; per imparare, per tenersi aggiornati ed intrattenersi..

Many Italian Americans are disconnected from their heritage because they are not aware of their rich cultural background. Some who study and write about Italian Americans note that the responsibility of preserving Italian culture -- which, in turn, keeps Italian American heritage alive -- is the responsibly of each generation teaching the next.

An easy way to introduce Italian culture into the family is with children's books. Parents, relatives and other adults can share stories about the history and culture of Italy through richly illustrated books that will keep children -- and readers of all ages -- entertained while educating.

Le Terrae,, features a nice selection of children's books about Italy. The online bookstore offers a variety of topics that includes travel, art, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance and numerous books about Leonardo Da Vinci. Four versions of Carlo Collodi's classic Pinocchio provide different views than the 1940 Walt Disney cartoon; and two books about Italian heritage are ideal for learning about ancestors. Le Terrae also sells Italian language books and educational toys made by the Italian company Quercetti.

In Italy Online, at, has "the Internet's largest collection of books about Italy." Its selection of children's books includes a variety of travel books that include treasure hunts and an assortment of Italian language books. Both Le Terrae and In Italy Online have compiled collections to make it easier to view some of the books about Italy available for children, and both websites direct the viewer to an online bookstore for purchasing. A sample of some books featured at Le Terrae and In Italy Online follows.

Set in Ancient Ostia, the port city located where the Tiber River empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea, The Roman Mysteries is a series of 17 books written by Caroline Lawrence. The first book, The Thieves of Ostia, written in 2000 -- and all subsequent books -- revolve around four friends of different backgrounds and are based on actual historic events that occurred from AD 79 to AD 81. The stories about life in Rome were so popular; ten of the books were made into a television series for BBC. For more information, go to

Another book detailing the life of Romans is Pompeii (The Roman World) by Peter Connolly. Published in 1994, the book begins on the day of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and includes color illustrations and maps, a glossary and the history of the city. The highly detailed maps provide both children and adults with an excellent look into the ancient town that was completely covered by volcanic ash.

Described as a "visually opulent volume," Leonardo da Vinci: Artist, Inventor and Scientist of the Renaissance by Francesca Romei, Sergio Ricciardi and Andrea Ricciardi is beautifully illustrated to highlight the work of the master. Limited (used) copies are available, but the scope of the subject and the detailed artwork makes it an excellent resource for any child with a special interest in science or art.

The books above, and those on the websites mentioned, will provide children with another view about life -- a view that will give them insight into their Italian heritage; and possibly spark their curiosity to learn more about their heritage and to share their knowledge with others.

Janice Therese Mancuso is the author of Con Amore, a culinary novel; and founder of Thirty-One Days of Italians, an educational program to promote Italian and Italian American history, culture, and heritage. For more information, visit, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..