When I was a child, I grew up in Lindenhurst, a suburb east of New York City.

However, every weekend, my parents would drive my sister, Donna, our pet dog, Pebbles, and me to Brooklyn. We would spend the weekend with our extended family on 18th Street. I am one of 18 cousins, so there was always someone to play potsy, caps, basketball, or just walk on the “Avenue” with. We would often sit on a stoop and listen to my aunts, uncles, and grandparents’ stories. I have many fond memories of my days in Brooklyn, especially of my Uncle Frankie’s stories about going to Ebbets Field to see the Brooklyn Dodgers play ball. While Uncle Frankie told stories on his stoop, my Nana was next door preparing Sunday dinner for our entire family. I can still smell the aromas of garlic, basil and tomatoes wafting from her house as she cooked her tomato sauce (or gravy, as she would say). And of course, she made the best meatballs in all of Brooklyn. (Nana’s meatball recipe is included in the book.)

The best advice I have ever received was to write about what you know and love, hence, I wrote my first book about one day in Brooklyn with my Uncle Frankie and the rest of my 18th Street family.

(I donate a portion of my royalties from SOFIA’S STOOP STORY to Rotary International which helps people in need all over the world.)