International Literacy Association's Reading Today

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In October, I was invited to read and share my writing process with a Girl Scout Troop at Daniel Street Elementary School in Lindenhurst.  These girls were very attentive and asked great questions.  I informed them that they are the first group to see my dear Uncle Frankie's actual aluminum folder chair that he sat on because his "butt was too bony to sit on the stoop."  Notice how the webbing is worn from much use.  I use to take my mom's fairly new chair to my presentations, but when I signed on THE stoop at Uncle Frankie's house on 18th Street in May, my cousin gave me Uncle Frankie's well-worn chair.  He said that he had no idea why he saved this chair, because no one could actually sit he knows why he saved it!  I am honored to share my dear uncle's chair with my readers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hofstra University's Italian Festival

Yesterday, I attended Hofsta's Italian Festival.  It was a beautiful day for a festival.  The food, music, and people were all wonderful.  Sofia's Stoop Story was well received.  And I met so many wonderful people.  I even met another LaPlaca whose family is also from Petralia Soprana, Sicily.  What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I am over the moon!!!

I am over the moon!!! Thank you to all of my friends and family for your support. Thank you to Francine Poppo Rich of Blue Marlin Publications for publishing my book and for choosing such talented illustrators. And a special "thank you" to Learning Magazine and their committee of teachers who selected Sofia's Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn! 

My Uncle Frankie must be beaming.  He told my cousin, Liz, shortly before he passed away, that I was going to make him famous.  I certainly hope so!

Sofia's Stoop Story won the 2015 Teachers' Choice Award from Learning Magazine

Blue Marlin Publications

We are proud to announce Sofia's Stoop Story has won the 2015 Teachers' Choice Award from Learning Magazine. Congratulations to Maria LaPlaca Bohrer, Lou Fancher, and Steve Johnson for creating a magnificent teaching tool for teachers! And teachers...don't forget that you can download a free lesson plan by clicking on this link:'s%20Stoop%20Story (5 photos)
Blue Marlin Publications's photo.
Blue Marlin Publications's photo.
Blue Marlin Publications's photo.
Blue Marlin Publications's photo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This is the site...It was ten long minutes.  I even froze when Gail asked me to name some of the Boys of Summer.  Of course I could name some of the Brooklyn Dodgers, but I froze for what felt like five minutes.  Well, at least the rest of it went well. 

Madhouse TV...yes, I was a guest on Making a Difference with Gail King

Oh, my, I was so nervous. Can you tell? I enjoyed meeting Tom, Shelly, Gail and all of their guests. Everyone was so friendly. Check out the beautiful hydrangea arrangement...they're from Lindenhurst Village Florist

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More photos from 18th Street, Brooklyn

Here are a few more....the neighbors, cousins, and a local principal.  I was so happy that they all stopped by.

That Meetball Place and 18th Street Book signings

I've been home recuperating from emergency gallbladder surgery on Friday, June 13th.  I feel very fortunate because I had heart failure symptoms.  I'm just so grateful it was my gallbladder and not my heart.  Well you don't want to read about this, but I'm sure you would like to see more photos from my last two signings. 

They are:  BIG Ralph from That Meetball Place and me; baby Lincoln on the stoop, his dad who's originally from Port Jefferson with me, and another adorable baby and her dad on 18th Street...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Signing on Uncle Frankie's Stoop...Jun1, 2014

Had a wonderful time reminiscing with my cousins on Uncle Frankie's stoop at 277-18th Street.  Also saw some old neighbors and met new ones.  I especially enjoyed meeting Lincoln and Abby, two adorable toddlers who stopped by with their fathers.  I also met two lovely principals from local schools. 

(more photos to follow)

Etched in Sand and Sofia's Stoop Story book signing....May 31, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Signing at Barnes & Noble with Regina Calcaterr, Etched in Sand is #4 on NYT list!


Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Regina Calcaterra. We shared stories of our very different childhood memories and signed our books at Barnes & Noble in East Northport (thanks to Deborah Perham of a Lifetime Legacy). Regina truly is an amazing woman. Etched in Sand is now #4 on the NY Times list! Congratulations to Regina! This is a must read for all.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Check out the article (see link above) that the editor of the South Slope Patch wrote about my upcoming signing at 277-18th Street, Brooklyn.  Uncle Frankie's grandson, Jon, lives there now and suggested that I have a signing on his stoop.  I'm so excited!   See you on Sunday, June 1st, 2:00-3:30pm.  Please share the news with your friends. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Barnes & Noble book signing in East Northport, Saturday, May 31st

Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island
Please join Regina Calcaterra, the amazing woman who shared her story in Etched in Sand.  This is a must read memoir!  Deborah Pelham of Lifetime Legacy organized this event in which Regina and I will be signing our books.  Everyone is welcome to attend and bring a "show and tell" item from your past.  We hope to see you at Barnes & Noble in East Northport, on Saturday, May 31st, from 2pm until ?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Signing Tomorrow...Thursday, May 1st

Please join my publisher and me for a reading and book signing at the West Babylon Library on Route 109 just south of Sunrise Highway.  I'd love to meet you!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sofia's Stoop Story is in Italian America, the oficial publication of the Order of Sons of Italy in America

I'm so excited! My publisher wrote an article and submitted it to Italian America, the official publication of the Order Sons of Italy in America. Thanks to Francine Poppo Rich of Blue Marlin Publications Sofia's Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn made a national magazine!

Friday, April 18, 2014


I'm having my 3rd official signing at the West Babylon Library on Thursday, May 1st at 6:30pm.  If you are in the area, please come by.  I will talk about Sofia's Stoop Story, from seed to published book, and read it with an authentic Italian accent.  My publisher will be there to sell books at a discount ($15 cash, check, or charge) and of course, I will sign them.  I should be there until around 8:00pm.  I'd love to see you!
I know, it's been a long time since I posted anything.  But I have a good excuse, I was preparing for my youngest son's wedding on April 5th.  I had to get my house ready for out of town guests (yes, I clean my own house) and get myself that took a loooonnng time!  I had to step it up at the gym, have hair trials, make-up, nails, etc.  When you're as old as I am, it takes a lot of preparing to look good.  LOL  So Brett and Erin's wedding was beautiful!  After snow the Monday before, we were worried about the weather, but it finally warmed up and they had sunshine at church and at Land's End on the bay.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My free close reading lesson is on Teachers Pay Teachers!  I used this lesson with two of my reading fourth grade and one fifth grade group.  I was even observed by my Language Arts Coordinator during one of my group's sessions.  It was a huge success!

If you would like to use it, go to TPT and look up Maria LaPlaca Bohrer.  It's free!!!

I must give my daughter, Erica Bohrer, a TPT professional seller for setting me up on the site.  I couldn't have done it without her.  She is amazing!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Second Book Signing at the BACCA Center in Lindenhurst

If you missed my first book signing, please come to my's tomorrow, Sunday, March 2nd at 2pm at the BACCA  (Babylon Cultural Arts Center) on North Wellwood Avenue. Hope to see you there!

Book Launch at the Lindenhurst Memorial Library Today

Sofia's Stoop Story: 18th Street, Brooklyn's first book signing at the Lindenhurst Memorial Library was a huge success. (Despite technical difficulties.)  I was touched to see so many people attend. Former students who are adults now, current students, colleagues, friends, parents, former neighbors, and even my former Language Arts Coordinator, Chris Nagle, came all the way from Larchmont!  Thank you to all who attended.  I am blessed to know so many wonderful people.  And a GREAT big thank you to Robby for my beautiful roses!  And another HUGE thank you to my publisher's entire family for selling the books!  Thank you Jude, Francine, Jude, Dominick, and Anna!!! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sofia's Stoop Story made the Children's Book Council list: It's About Time!

Exciting news for Sofia's Stoop Story!

Blue Marlin Publications shared a link.
It's About Time!!!

The Children's Book Council has made a winter Seasonal Showcase list of children's books that explore the many facets of time -- time travel, historical fiction, history, the passage of time, counting, and so much more! Sofia's Stoop Story is listed alongside Eileen Spinelli's Now It Is Summer. You can view the full list here:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yesterday, February 10th was the official release date of my first children's book!  My publisher, Francine Poppo Rich at Blue Marlin Publications sent me a text message to congratulate me and tell me that I am officially a published author.  Wasn't that so sweet of her!  I couldn't be happier.  Blue Marlin Publications should be receiving the entire order of books next anyone who ordered a book directly from them,, or, please be patient.  A special thank you to Francine, Blue Marlin Publications, Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson for making my dream a reality!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My publisher sent Carl Furillo, Jr. two copies of my for him and one for his brother.  This morning, he surprised me with a phone call.  What a personable guy!  (But, I already knew that, we have spoken before.)

Carl told me that he is not an emotional person, but the story brought tears to his eyes.  He said he loves the warmth of the whole story, the Italian family, and the stoop.  He said it brought back childhood memories of his days living in NY.  And he loves Uncle Frankie's story of his dad.  We talked about Filomena, (which was his grandmother's name) one of the store owners in the book.  Carl said that his dad loved his mother dearly.  He told me that she was heartbroken when her son, Carl Sr., went away to play baseball.  Oh, and Carl told me that he loves the we all do!

Today he is going to bring his copy of the book to share with his mom who will be 92 on Tuesday.  I hope Mrs. Furillo enjoys reading it, especially Uncle Frankie's story about her dear husband, Brooklyn Dodger, Carl Furillo.

I was truly touched that Carl Furillo, Jr. took the time to call me and share his feelings about Sofia's Stoop Story

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kirkus reviewed my book.  At first, I was upset about their comment regarding my Nana's accent.  But after reading the rest, I can't complain.  It is mostly a positive review.  I just wish I could tell them that my Nana did speak with a strong Italian accent.  I actually interviewed two friends from Italy before I wrote her dialogue, so it is authentic.  I guess they can't relate.  Oh, well.  I'm still so thrilled to have my very first book reviewed by Kirkus. 
18th Street, Brooklyn
Author: Maria LaPlaca Bohrer
Illustrator: Steve Johnson
Illustrator: Lou Fancher

Kirkus Reviews

Review Issue Date: February 1, 2014
Online Publish Date: January 22, 2014
Publisher:Blue Marlin
Pages: 32
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.95
Publication Date: February 10, 2014
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-9885295-2-6
Category: Picture Books

A richly sentimental picture of a Sunday gathering from the author’s youth.

In present tense, Sofia recalls sitting on the stoop with her six cousins listening to Uncle Frankie’s tale of the time he met Carl Furillo. As he regales the gathering, she’s repeatedly called away to fetch cheese and other ingredients from local shops for Nana’s meatballs. Though she uses effectively evocative names and cadences in speech, Bohrer gives Nana an accent that is overwrought to the point of parody: “Bella mia, go downa to D’Amico’s Bakerya, get two loaves o’ Italiano breada, fresh Italiano breada, make sure isa fresh. And, we needa some cannoli for desserta.” When everyone’s finally called in for dinner, Nana promises to save Sofia “braciole and a nicea sweet sozeecha” while Frankie stays outside to fill the little girl in on the parts of the story she missed. Johnson and Fancher incorporate glimpses of old news items and handwritten recipes into loosely brushed scenes of the stoop, neighborhood and an antique kitchen, but aside from Uncle Frankie’s plaid pants, the setting has a timeless quality. It is capped, as is only proper, with a mouthwatering meatball recipe.

Though a little heavy on the ethnic flavoring, the memories are as rich and savory as Nana’s homemade sauce. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-9)
My publisher sent me several copies of Sofia's Stoop Story....I can't believe it!  My dream is finally a reality!  I held my hardcover book in my hands and thought, "This is a real book, and it's mine."  I'm still on cloud nine!  And it is absolutely beautiful!!!  I couldn't be happier with the illustrations, actually collage paintings by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson.  They are fabulous!!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I just saw some of my cousins today and we were talking about this old photo of our grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles at a "Football" wedding in Brooklyn in 1955.  My Uncle Frankie's son, John, can name just about everyone in this photo.  Wish we would take photos like this at weddings nowadays.  Don't you?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tonight, I was going through my numerous files and came across my certificate from a writing course I took in the fall of 2006.  It was conducted by Francine Poppo Rich at the OWL Teachers' Center in Lindenhurst.  Francine is a talented writer and instructor.  I learned so much from her about writing for children.  Actually, that's where I wrote my first draft of Sofia's Stoop Story or should I say, Uncle Frankie's 18th Street Stoop Story, the original title.  After that class, I wrote, rewrote, and revised it countless times.  Then I gained the courage to send it out to publishers.  I received numerous rejection letters.  My best was from an editor at Viking...on a form rejection letter she handwrote these encouraging words "Since I just edited a pic book on Roy Campanella, I'm not interested, but this does sound like a good story.  So no doubt another editor will like it."  Needless to say, that was hanging on my fridge for a while.  But, after receiving many other rejection letters, I gave up.  Then one day, years later, I ran into Francine.  She asked me about my manuscript and I told her that I was at a dead end.  She asked to read it....and as they say, the rest is history.  You see, Francine and her husband run Blue Marlin Publications.  So tonight, I sent Francine and Jennifer Bova (the director of the OWL Teachers' Center) a copy of my original certificate.  If it weren't for both of these amazing ladies, I would not have achieved my dream of becoming a published author.  I am so grateful to both of them, to the OWL Center, to Blue Marlin Publications, and to the talented illustrators Francine hired to illustrate Sofia's Stoop Story!