“A heartfelt novel celebrating friendship and family ties.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This is the story of Granny Torrelli, her twelve-year-old granddaughter, Rosie, and Bailey, the boy next door. The friendship of Rosie and Bailey has its ups and downs. Rosie can change from good friend to sassy girl to ice queen in an instant, as Bailey bounces through his reactions to Rosie and plows through his own challenges. Granny Torrelli regularly breezes into Rosie’s house, and in a flurry of making zuppa (soup) and “some superior pasta,” Granny’s wit and experience help Rosie and Bailey smooth out the kinks in their friendship.
ALA Notable Children’s Book
Book Sense Pick
ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice
Virginia Young Readers Award
New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
When I learned that my daughter was expecting her first child, I began thinking about what it would be like to be a grandparent. In remembering my own grandparents, it seemed that most of my memories of my grandmothers swirled around kitchens and food. There was something important—more important than the meals being made—that took place in those kitchens, and I wanted to explore that. I kept seeing images of my Italian grandmother, with her elfish smile and quick wit, and those images evolved into the character of Granny Torrelli.
Granny Torrelli refers to her own childhood friend as Pardo, which, in “real life” was the name of my grandfather.
Although I don’t remember making zuppa with my grandmother, we did make cavatelli and sauce, just as Rosie, Bailey, and Granny Torrelli do in this story. And Rosie’s favorite salad (“the one with oranges”) was also my favorite when I was Rosie’s age.