St John Bosco teacher illustrates uniquely Italian-Australian story for children

08 December 2021

An Italian Teacher at St John Bosco College has teamed up with a Perth-based writer to create a bilingual book that celebrates Italian traditions and culture in a uniquely Western Australian way.

Born in Sicily, Daniela Pruiti-Ciarello is an Italian Specialist and Teacher at St John Bosco College, as well as being an illustrator, author and graphic designer who is inspired by a love of her homeland.

Daniela collaborated with writer and media presenter Daniele Foti-Cuzzola to create Arrivera La Befana A Fremantle?, a book that brings an Italian folklore legend to an iconic WA city, with the aim of helping to teach children Italian, as well as about Italian-Australian culture.

Antonio, the main character in their story, can’t wait to celebrate his favourite Italian holiday with his new friends in Fremantle. But when he discovers his friends know nothing about the Epiphany and the magical Befana, Antonio wonders “‘is the Befana coming to Fremantle?”. The story then follows Antonio and his friends on a journey around the port city to find out the true meaning of this special occasion.

Ms Pruiti-Ciarello is using the book as a resource for her students at St John Bosco College, and is planning on developing more learning activities based on the book for other students and educators.

 

Mr Foti-Cuzzola said that he and Ms Pruiti-Ciarello found lots of stories were either fairy tales or fables, and not books that related specifically to the Italian-Australian experience.

We were compelled to write our book as we felt such stories were not readily available,

“This book is a celebration of two homes and the unique Italian-Australian experience, and we hope it encourages children from all backgrounds to embrace their own respective heritage and to be active in retaining their language and traditions,” he said.

“The story of the Befana is something students of Italian remember years after studying Italian. So we chose to focus our story on this celebration, and the feast of the Epiphany, which even though it’s not an exclusive Italian celebration; the way it is celebrated is still somewhat unique,

“We also decided to set our story in Fremantle as that was the first point of call for many Italian migrants, and Fremantle played an important role in our multicultural history,”

To find out more about the book, visit https://www.labefanaafremantle.com

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