by G.R. Gemin
Shortlisted Little Rebels Award 2017
Joe is proud of his Welsh/Italian heritage and the business run by his family in Bryn Mawr, South Wales. Mum is starting to feel less enamoured with Café Merelli's cracked Formica walls and peeling vinyl, none of which is likely to get repaired while the local recession persists. But Joe is full of entrepreneurial spirit. Inspired by his grandfather/Nono's stories of the past and with the arrival of his authentically Italian cousin, Mimi, Joe is eager to learn all the secrets of al dente pasta and to fight to protect Café Merelli's future by reviving it's Italian origins. Along the way, Joe learns some sometimes difficult truths about his own roots and the history and lives of Italian immigrants in Wales. A warm, funny and clever story about identity, belonging and immigration, within a working-class (for once!) community- with a very endearing, chip-loving, opera-adoring child at its centre. (nb: one of the narrative strands is loosely based on the 1940 sinking of the SS Arandora Star which sailed from Liverpool with interned Italians and Germans- 53 of the Italians who died were from Wales). Fab backnotes on opera and some pasta recipes! Age 9-12, Paperback 283pp
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