It is in the genetic makeup of each of us to seek out an education, apart from the structured world of schools and "schooling".
Pepino got his formal education on the streets of Brooklyn, among his peers and from more fundamentally his family and heritage. In the course of just 6 months, he learned that life beyond the confines of his apartment was most important to him. What makes the World tick? Who matters in our lives and when does it matter? Is there a God?
It is the wise, hopeful, and respectful cultivation of learning on the streets of Red Hook, undertaken in the belief that all should have a chance to share in the life that Pepino got his education from, one that guided him through the rigidity of school and church. It involved all of life's lessons, the good and bad, the realization that as the World can shatter around us we can still seek out the answers to the truths that occupy our hearts and minds.
In six short months of life at the age of 9, Pepino made new friends, experienced success learned the lessons of dedication and hard work and more importantly, that work was more than labor, it was an identity.
And what does it teach us as readers? That life holds all the ugliness and sadness without discrimination for a young child, yet life does glorify and reward. His Dad's loss of work and his Mom's sacrifice to feed her children, his parent's need to translate from the inferiority complex visited upon immigrants who didn't speak the language, all made his fabric woven, his threads each a moment in his life that woven together is Pepino,well educated and schooled.
A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN is more than a story of a young boy, it is a historic reference to life in 1948, a glimpse into life that today still stands relevant to America's immigrants seeking their place in America.