Little Italy
Little Italy

Little Italy

Italian Americans: A Story Based on Real History

By Tana Reiff, Illustrated by Tyler Stiene


Hopes and Dreams


80 Pages, 5.375 x 8.375

Formats: Paperback

Paperback, $13.50 (US $13.50) (CA $17.95)

Publication Date: July 2015

ISBN 9780866473897

Price: $13.50


This 80-page easy-to-understand reader is one of 12 historical novels in the Hopes and Dreams series, whose diverse and fascinating characters, regardless of their ethnicity, face prejudice, danger, hardships, and setbacks, but survive with perseverance, a little bit of luck ,and a generous amount of love in their new home in the US. Downloadable audio recordings of all 12 novels and free supplementary materials for teachers are available (visit for more details).

Plot Summary for Little Italy: This is the story of the Trella family. In 1920 Vito's land is worn out, and he can't sell his oranges. Sadly, he leaves his Italian homeland and sails to New York to get work and save enough money to bring his wife, Rosetta, and their three children to America. For more than two years he works as a stonecutter, building the new skyscrapers of New York. It is dangerous work. Finally, he saves enough money for four tickets. Rosetta and their children join him. They make their new life on Mulberry Street in New York's “Little Italy.” Rosetta finds the city dirty and depressing at first, but she learns to love her Italian neighbors and her church. They have four more children. Then Vito falls, is injured, and must take a job making paper flowers; the whole family helps. All seven children finish high school and get good jobs. Vito and Rosetta stay in Little Italy. The novel ends as their youngest child, Dominick, graduates from high school with honors.


"The Hopes and Dreams series is highly recommended... as an excellent example of controlled vocabulary with a low-Lexile level and a glossary, relevant content about immigration, and engaging storytelling by the author, Tana Reiff." - Helaine W. Marshall, PhD, Professor of Education and Director of Language Education Programs, Long Island University

Author Biography

Tana Reiff, author of the Hopes and Dreams series, holds a B.S. degree in elementary education and a master’s in secondary English with a concentration in applied linguistics. She has taught adult basic education, ESL, and college-level linguistics, and worked in multimedia communications for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She is the author of dozens of hi-lo books (high interest, low reading level) for readers of all ages.