About Us

Why an Italian Children's Market?

The idea was sparked by a little Italian bear named Giovanni.

When deciding the best way to introduce her young son to the languages of his family, Isabella Centofanti, founder of LingoBears and creator of Giovanni the Italian-Speaking Bear, drew on childhood memories: immigrant parents recounting their youth through stories laced with German and Italian phrases; German and Italian songs streaming from the stereo console; her year of school in the Abruzzese village that is her father's birthplace, followed by numerous returns to Europe beginning while yet a teenager...Such life-shaping experiences fueled Isabella's desire to open the world to her then two-year old son which led to the founding of Lingobears, and to Giovanni, a cuddly companion for any child's venture into his heritage!

But when children grow, so do their needs. Hence, the creation of Italian Children's Market, a place for fun as well as progressive exploration into the language, land, and culture of Italy.


Never forgetting that the seeds of passion for knowing her Old World ties were sown by music and loving voices around the family table, it is with genuine care and attention to quality and safety that Isabella hand-picks the books, toys, CDs, DVDs, and other products that stock her shelves. You are cordially invited to browse.

Whether you choose a book, an article of clothing, a Pinocchio straight from the sawdust and paint of Geppetto's own workship, Giovanni the Italian-Speaking Bear, or any other item, we at Italian Children's Market sincerely hope to enrich your child's life through education and an appreciation of his Italian Heritage.

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Isabella Centofanti currently teaches art at a middle school in California, where she resides with her husband and two young sons.

 

 Isabella with classmates at the village school in Marane, near Sulmona Italy , 1968

 

                                                    

     Isabella's parents, 1953                            Isabella's grandparents, 1913              Relatives in village near Sulmona, 1915