If I was the type (I am) to keep a list of my all-time favorite books, there is a new contender for #1 tonight.

For the longest time, #1 was held by The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I read this in a college summer class and it changed my life. It was not a case of purely relating to the character either, it was more that it widened and deepened my world view as a woman so dramatically that I was not the same person anymore.

Tonight's book is not quite as life-changing in that regard, but it speaks to my heart so acutely, in such a critical way, that I wish I could escape the mundane reality of the Sunday night blues to go be somewhere: somewhere magical, romantic, starry, cold and warm at the same time and drink alternating sips of red, red wine and capuccino while listening to acoustic guitar and Andy Garcia read Pablo Neruda poems to me.

(It occurs to me, re-reading this, that I wish I was in Italy, feeling full of hope, connected to the land and yet, terribly, achingly homesick at the same time).

I feel so much that I am a lost little piece myself the past few years. I walk around and wonder where I belong, what am I to do with My Life and other Big Questions like that. The fact that Lionni chose the color orange for Pezzettino is nothing short of ironic right now for me.

This book has the added charms of being Italian. Being Italian makes it easy to fall in love with other Italian things. Still this is a Caldecott-winning author we are talking about here.

Leo, you inspired me in many ways tonight and writing my first Amazon review is just one of them.

Mille grazie!