Graziella (Grace) Pacini Buonanno grew up in Massarosa, a small Tuscan town near Lucca, the birthplace of the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. Being exposed early in her life to lovely romanzas from La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and other Puccini operas fostered in her a love and appreciation for all genres of music. She is a retired schoolteacher and an incurable book-a-holic. During her many years of teaching, she strove to instill in young children her love for music, literature, and the arts.
She is a member of the Hudson Valley Historic Society, the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys telling stories of her Tuscan childhood to her family, especially her grandchildren. For that reason, she began to mine her memories and to write them down. Her website is
Congrats Grace! Dancing on Grapes was voted Honor Book for the 2012 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, by the Poetry Center at Passaic Community College in Paterson, NJ.
Where I’m From
I’m from walled towns
From queues of cypresses leading
To fruited hillsides crowned with castles.
I’m from sun-kissed vineyards and terraced land
with shimmering olive trees outstretched,
twisted and knotted like grandfathers’ limbs.
I’m from sandy shores and gentle breezes waving a mythical sea,
and candid white peaks offering not frozen snow
but immortal works of art.
I’m from songs, poets, heroes,
and outlaws too, carrying rosary beads,
heaps of polenta, pasta, and risotto, but very little meat.
I’m from Mama, Papa, Nonni and neighbors too,
Plenty hugs to go around four siblings sharing
Cold sheets, hand-me-downs, skimpy holidays and love.
Graziella Pacini Buonanno
Writer, West Chester County, NY