Reads Like a Movie

An Italian coming of age story


Piccolo Santino

My Calabrian Childhood
in the ’50s. Then to New York
Italian Style.

The book had been waiting for Sal’s entire lifetime for completion. Santino’s story takes place in the first ten years his life in poverty-stricken Southern Italy during the 1950s. Coming to America in 1958 with a rich desire for learning and Lone Ranger comic book his father had given him, that frustration in the new land caused him to throw out of the family room window.

While flying back to his hometown after 60 plus years, the aged author reflects when Piccolo Santino dreams of becoming a famous Italian poet at a time when compulsory education was only up to fifth grade in rural Italy. His childhood takes many tums with internal struggles from a fear of confronting strangers.

When his family moves to America before he could attend fifth grade in his home county, Santino insists on remaining focused on his desires to leam and succeed in America, despite his father’s s preference for him to quit school at sixteen and work to help out his Family grew to ten siblings.

At the time Sal attended the School of Visual Arts in 1967, he wrote a scene for Piccolo Santino in a screenwriting class of Andrew Sarris. When Mr. Sarris said, “1 like it, it is very titillating,” Sal felt he was on the right track.

However, he also realized this was not a book he could write in a hurry. There were many stories to recollect, much information to gather from family members and a maturity in Sal that needed time to properly age, then express and put into perspective a childhood that always pressed for the stories to be written.

As a writer, Sal became influenced by Ernest Hemmingway, Charlotte Bronte, and the American Philosopher, poet, critic, and founder of Aesthetic Realism, Eli Siegel.

Piccolo Santino
Family foto on Pier 84, July 5, 1958. Taken by the ACIM, American Committee on Italian Migration

A Walk In Time


She doesn’t know
I think of her like this.
Wondering if I should tell her.
Or what might happen.

Must there not be an answer?
Would it matter?
Would it not?



My mother’s cousin wrote a great story. She is enjoying reading and remembering what life was like way back in the day.


This book was very well written and an excellent true story of the life and struggles of a southern Italian boy and his family. Incredible detail almost brings you into the story itself. Could not put it down - a definite must-read.


This book is very well written. It describes exactly what life was like for an immigrant.

JoAnn Mallimo

A fantastic story must read! What a treasure to have a look into this life, an Italian kid in the 50s, and his journey of coming to America.

Amazon Customer

Memory of a past time Reviewed in Canada on September 21, 2020 Verified Purchase I loved these memories of the author's childhood in an Italy just after the war and his brutal plunge into the New World. This book is better than a novel, sincere and true.

Client d'Amazon

My mother’s cousin wrote a great story. She is enjoying reading and remembering what life was like way back in the day.


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