The Most Beautiful Rose
by Domenica Calabrese Tedeschi
Trafford Publishing

"We were neither rich nor poor. We were just a large family with lots of love, doing the best we could for those times."

Growing up in a large Italian family just years after the end of World War II, this book follows the young life of the author's journey from the Italian countryside all the way to the United States. With a grandmother who demanded a personal audience with Mussolini to the tragic death of her mother at a young age, the author's hardships are laid out for all to witness, but the combination of familial love and religious faith keep young Domenica in good spirits, even as she is sent to live in an orphanage. Most of the family is reunited when her father remarries a woman living in America, allowing the children to emigrate with him, but the feelings of loneliness and isolation continue as Domenica is forced to go to school and work without being able to speak a word of English.

This memoir focuses almost entirely on the author's childhood and the difficult and inspiring circumstances surrounding it. Readers will be amazed to learn how different life was not just a few decades ago but on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. After the main story, several discussion questions are present, making this a great way to introduce students to a different culture. Additionally, a glossary of Italian terms used in the book and a wealth of photographs spanning multiple generations fill out the back end of this title. Whether fans of Italian culture, a good human interest story, or the power that faith has to help someone through difficult times, readers who love to hear inspiring stories with happy endings will want to read this memoir.

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