Book Review of Pisa Loves Bella: A Towering Tale of Kindness
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Kimberley Lovato
Illustrated by Barbara Bongini
Ages: 5+ | 42 Pages
Publisher: MB Publishing (2024) | ISBN-13: 9798987140161
What to Expect: Magic, adventure, history, travel, and family.
In Pisa Loves Bella: A Towering Tale of Kindness, author Kimberley Lovato and illustrator Barbara Bongini collaborate to deliver a heartwarming narrative centered around Bella, the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa, and her journey towards self-acceptance amidst societal expectations.
The narrative unfolds through Bella’s perspective, offering readers a unique glimpse into the emotional world of an iconic architectural wonder. Bella’s initial pride in her distinctive tilt is challenged when she overhears hurtful comments about her appearance. Struggling with her confidence, Bella embarks on a transformative journey of self-discovery, ultimately learning to embrace her uniqueness with the support of Mayor Luigi and the community of Pisa.
Through vivid illustrations and poetic storytelling, Lovato and Bongini explore themes of kindness, friendship, self-acceptance, confidence, and pride in a manner accessible to young readers. Lovato’s zippy rhymes and Bongini’s vibrant and cheery illustrations capture the essence of Pisa’s charm and Bella’s endearing personality. The use of Italian expressions adds an authentic touch to the narrative, enhancing the cultural richness of the story—complete with a glossary at the back of the book and a little backmatter on the tower itself.
Pisa Loves Bella delivers a timeless lesson in celebrating individuality and extending compassion to others. Through Bella’s transformation, readers of all ages are reminded of the importance of resilience and self-love. With its engaging storytelling and universal themes, this book is a welcome addition to children’s literature, offering a delightful journey through the picturesque city of Pisa.
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About the Author
Traveler and writer Kimberley Lovato has never met a journey she didn’t love and has written about the wonders of seeing and being in the world for more than 20 years. Her bylines have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Virtuoso: The Magazine,
CN Traveler, Travel + Leisure, AARP, Hemispheres, Ciao Bambino, and many other print and online publications. Kimberley’s culinary travel book about the people and food of the Dordogne region of France, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, won the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award, an honor bestowed by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
She has also been recognized by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and by Travelers’ Tales, which has published several of her personal essays in its annual Best Women’s Travel Writing anthologies. Pisa Loves Bella is Kimberley’s debut picture book—a celebration of travel, good friends, and the importance of spreading kindness wherever you go.
Visit her at www.kimberleylovato.com.
About the Illustrator
Barbara Bongini was born in Milan, Italy. She knew at an early age that she wanted to be an artist. She went to a high school that focused on the arts and later enrolled in the illustration program at the European Institute of Design. After graduation, Barbara pursued a career in children’s publishing, illustrating several series for various age groups for the largest Italian publishing houses. She is herself the author of an album on modern art for children, as well as several series of interactive gamebooks.
Barbara also has considerable experience in the advertising field as a designer of packaging materials, leaflets, brochures, posters, and characters and backgrounds for cartoon series. When not illustrating, Barbara loves spending time with her two kids and watching cartoons. She also enjoys going to bookstores and building her own library of illustrated books. When she works, she is always in the company of her cat, Achille, who often gives her advice.
Visit her at www.instagram.com/illustrator.barbara/.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This is a sponsored*, non-biased review of Pisa Loves Bella: A Towering Tale of Kindness. Learn more about getting a book review …