Enjoy A Reading Of ‘Sofia’s Stoop Story’ On The Local Street That Inspired It

Enjoy A Reading Of ‘Sofia’s Stoop Story’ On The Local Street That Inspired It
Sofia's Stoop Story

Teacher and children’s book author Maria LaPlaca Bohrer was born at Methodist Hospital, but grew up in Lindenhurst, Long Island. That didn’t keep her from the neighborhood, though — through her childhood, she spent every weekend at her uncle’s house on 18th Street with her parents, her sister, and their extended family who all lived on the block. They’d eat and they’d talk, and often the conversation was about baseball.

“My Uncle Frankie Affisco would tell us stories about some of the great Brooklyn Dodgers,” Maria says. “He would often go to Ebbets Field to watch them play. He, and all of my relatives, were devastated when the team left Brooklyn.”

Sofia's Stoop Story

The stories of Uncle Frankie, and all that time spent in the neighborhood, was the inspiration for her new book, Sofia’s Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn. The story within the story is about Carl Furillo, a right fielder who played his whole career with the Brooklyn (and then Los Angeles) Dodgers.

“My father believed that baseball belonged to the people,” wrote Carl Furillo, Jr. as an endorsement of the book. “Now, thanks to Sofia’s Stoop Story, Carl Furillo belongs to a new generation of fans.”

Those new, young fans will have a fun chance to hear a reading of the book in person on the very stoop that started the story this weekend, when Maria will be there for a fun event. Neighbors are welcome to stop by the home, which Uncle Frankie’s grandson lives in now (and some cousins still live across the street), where Maria will also share old photographs from the neighborhood and one of the Dodgers from the 1955 World Series, and she’ll sign books if anyone chooses to purchase one.

“Everyone who comes will meet all of my cousins in my extended family,” Maria says, “and Carl Furillo, Jr. may even attend!”

If you get into conversation with the relatives, you’re likely to talk baseball — and it seems, aside from the author herself, they’ve become a bit diverged since the Dodgers moved to the west coast.

“The funny thing is, I am not an avid baseball fan, so I do not have a favorite New York team,” she says. “However, my family is divided…Yankees fans and Mets fans!”

Sofia's Stoop Story

If you can’t make it to the event, you can certainly get a feel for the neighborhood from the book, which was illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, who have worked on books for Dr. Seuss, Maya Angelou, Jon Scieszka, and more.

“I gave my publisher, Blue Marlin Publications, photos of 18th Street which they shared with the illustrators,” Maria says. “They did a fabulous job capturing the look and feel of the neighborhood. Anyone who lives in Brooklyn, or spent time there, will love this book.”

In addition to baseball, the book, like Maria’s childhood, features a lot of Italian food. And while she might not spend her weekends in Brooklyn anymore, she does carry on the tradition of spending time with family — which, naturally, involves some great meals.

“My husband and I live next door to my sister and brother-in-law, and we often cook big Italian dinners together for our family,” she says.

And if you and your family want to take a crack at the delicious food seen in the pages of the book, Maria was happy to help.

“On the very last page of my book is my Nana’s meatball recipe!”

Join Maria LaPlaca Bohrer for a reading and signing of her book Sofia’s Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn on Sunday, June 1, from 2-3:30pm, at the stoop at 277 18th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. Hardcover copies of the book will be available for sale at a discounted price of $15.

All images via Maria LaPlaca Bohrer


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