Connecting kids with the past

Local author releases second in children’s book series

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Antoinette Truglio Martin is very passionate about stories and storytelling.

Once Truglio Martin, who grew up in Sayville, retired from being a speech therapist and special education teacher, she decided to dive right into storytelling and began writing books.

“I always wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but you can’t quit your day job,” Truglio Martin said. “When I retired, I decided that I was going to plunge right in because now I had more time.”

Her newest book, “The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers,” is the second in a series that originally started as just one book but eventually expanded on at the urging of her publisher. The first book is titled “The Heart of Bakers and Artists.” The books in the series tell the fictional stories of children growing up as immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s. They tackle historic social issues such as child labor, immigration, and growing up as a kid in a different time period.

Despite the books being fictional, Truglio Martin said a lot of the story is a “fictionalized mesh” based on her grandmother’s experience as an immigrant from Sicily. She conducted lots of research for the book, such as visiting the tenement museum in New York. “The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers” is a middle-grade book perfect for ages 8 to 12.

Truglio Martin initially became interested in writing the children’s series because she was beginning to develop a program for kids where they sit down with their elders and ask questions and have deeper conversations. She titled the program “Grand Prompts to Ask Your Grands.” The program allows elders to tell children an oral history with kids asking questions such as “what was your first job?” She said the oral storytelling adds so much more to the history of people than simply researching genealogy.

“It’s amazing the stories they come up with,” Truglio Martin said of speaking with elders. “It gives me a sense of gratitude for their bravery and their resilience and focus on making a better life for themselves.”

In addition to her children’s books, Truglio Martin wrote a companion cookbook titled “Becoming America’s Food Stories.” In it, she shares recipes and stories, with many of the recipes coming from the pages of her children’s books.

“The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers” can be found on Amazon as well as Truglio Martin’s website, antoinettetrugliomartin.com. Truglio Martin said that if bought off her website, she is able to sign the books with a personalized message if the buyer would like. Her website is also a treasure trove of information where she tells “stories served around the table” from her own family.

Going forward, Truglio Martin said she is still outlining her third children’s book, and they take her about a year to write.

“I get to give my imagination free rein,” Truglio Martin said. 

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