Born and raised in Miami, Andrew Toffoli is living one of his many dreams. Having graduated from Florida State University in 1993 with a degree in Graphic Design, Andrew combined this degree with a love of teaching and began his career in the educational field where he has been motivating students for over 10 years. He has been an inspiration to many of his students, most of whom now have successful careers in graphic and web design. Collaborating with them worked so well, that Andrew hired some of his previous students to embark upon his endeavor of writing and illustrating his own books. His student’s motivation and continued support were the catalyst to get his wonderful series of books published.
On April 16, 2005 the journey officially began! Andrew debuted Christopher Cowlumbus at Books & Books in Coral Gabels, Florida and the rest is history! “I created this series to teach important history along with a life lesson. It is important to learn at a young age about those who have paved the way for us and what better time to learn than with a bedtime story or a school reading.” His books fill a void in the kindergarten to third grade level history curriculum. They teach basic historical facts about actual historical figures. Loveable animal characters coupled with engaging illustrations make these books a unique learning experience. Andrew and his wife Cristina live and teach in Miami, Florida, but never pass on the opportunity to be able to share Histories.
The first book in the new “histories presents” series introduces the industrious Bengal tiger, who is based on the life of Benjamin Franklin. Ben’s story is told in rhyme and starts with how much he enjoyed reading as a young cub. “Bengalmin would read… and read as many books as he could get his paws on.” The story continues through Ben’s career as a printer and the writing of Poor Richard’s Almanac through his creation of a library, a fire department, and bifocals. Of course, Ben’s electrical experiments and diplomatic pursuits are included as well. The book is beautifully-illustrated. Its large, whimsical text surrounded by plenty of white space makes it easy to read. Young readers will enjoy learning history and all about Bengalmin Franklin’s contributions to it. This is an excellent volume to include in an elementary school library or classroom library. 2005, Little Germ that Could Creations, $13.99, Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Sue Reichard (Children’s Literature).
Little Chris Cowlumbus was an Italian cow with an adventurous spirit. As unlikely as the premise is, children of all ages will get a chuckle out of this re-telling of the traditional discovery-of-America story. While Chris is growing up, he becomes discouraged by the tale that the world is flat, and he decides to set out in search of proof of a round world. He has no money to finance his journey, so he heads over to Spain to ask the king and queen. They say no initially, but Chris keeps at them and eventually he is given the funds to support his quest. He takes a human crew with him and after weeks on the water, they find a new land and new people to greet them. How will Chris learn to get along in a new land and with new neighbors? Toffoli’s boldly colored illustrations capture the humor and character of Chris and lead the readers along with his adventures. This volume of the “Histories” series is fun to read for both children and adults. 2007, The Little Germ that Could Creations, $14.99, Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger (Children’s Literature).
A unique way to introduce children to great people in history is established in this “histories” series that uses animal figures as a way to tell about the lives of real people. In this rhyming selection from the series, Michelangelo Bunnyrroti portrays the great Michelangelo Bounarroti. Readers can follow the tale of how “Mic” first started producing artwork and how he progressed to various projects including some of his most well known works, the Pieta, the Sistine Chapel, and David. Terms such as fresco, plaster, stone carvings, sculpt, marble, and chisel are introduced as part of the story and give teachers or other adults the opportunity to extend learning with further discussion. Bright colored humorous illustrations add to the text and to the understanding of the art terms. This book can be used in classrooms to enrich history or art lessons, or it can be offered as well as just a fun early reader. 2006, The Little Germ That Could Creations, $13.99, Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Nancy Attebury (Children’s Literature).
Andrew’s presentations are unique because they are history lesson and art lesson in one. The presentation consists of a reading of one of the books, followed by a full demonstration of how drawings come to be, a question and answer session about writing and illustrating and a trivia game where the students compete to win sketches by answering questions from the story.
Each book covers a different program:
- Christopher Cowlumbus highlights discovery and following your dreams.
- Bengalmin Franklin highlights inventions and science.
- Michelangelo Bunnyrroti highlights humanities and the arts.
Andrew is available to do 2 -3 presentations in a day. Ideal group size is not to exceed 150 students. His presentations are designed for grades K-4, and last approximately 45 minutes. Appearance fee is negotiable.
To learn more about Andrew Toffoli and his publications please visit www.littlegerm.com.