Synopses & Reviews
An unforgettable novel, based on a true story, about racism against Italian Americans in the South in 1899.
Fourteen-year-old Calogero, his uncles, and his cousins are six Sicilians living in the small town of Tallulah, Louisiana, miles from any of their countrymen. They grow vegetables and sell them at their stand and in their grocery store.
Some people welcome the immigrants; most do not. Calogero's family is caught in the middle of tensions between the black and white communities. As Calogero struggles to adapt to Tallulah, he is startled and thrilled by the danger of midnight gator hunts in the bayou and by his powerful feelings for Patricia, a sharp-witted, sweet-natured black girl. Meanwhile, every day, and every misunderstanding between the white community and the Sicilians, bring Calogero and his family closer to a terrifying, violent confrontation.
In this affecting and unforgettable novel, Donna Jo Napoli's inspired research and spare, beautiful language take the classic immigrant story to new levels of emotion and searing truth. Alligator Bayou tells a story that all Americans should know.
Talullah, Louisiana. 1899.
Calogero, his uncles, and cousins are six Sicilian men living in the small town of Tallulah, Louisiana. They work hard, growing vegetables and selling them at their stand and in their grocery store.
To 14-year-old Calogero, newly arrived from Sicily, Tallulah is a lush world full of contradictions, hidden rules, and tension between the Negro and white communities. Hes startled and thrilled by the danger of a gator hunt in the midnight bayou, and by his powerful feelings for Patricia, a sharpwitted, sweet-natured Negro girl. Some people welcome the Sicilians. Most do not. Calogeros family is caught in the middle: the whites dont see them as equal, but befriending Negroes is dangerous. Every day brings Calogero and his family closer to a a terrifying, violent confrontation.
From the Hardcover edition.
It's 1899, and to a 14-year-old Sicilian immigrant, Louisiana is a lush world full of hidden rules and tension between the Negro and white communities. He's thrilled by a 'gator hunt in the bayou, and by his powerful feelings for a sweet Negro girl.
About the Author
Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many distinguished books for young readers, among them The Great God Pan, Daughter of Venice, Crazy Jack, The Magic Circle, Zel, Sirena, Breath, Bound, Stones in Water, Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale,
and, most recently for Wendy Lamb Books, The King of Mulberry Street.
She has a BA in mathematics and a PhD in Romance linguistics from Harvard University and has taught widely at major universities in America and abroad. She has five children and one grandson and lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where she is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College.
You can visit her on the Web at www.donnajonapoli.com.