My Italian American Family: A Memoir

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Born in Bloomington and raised in Elmhurst, author and journalist Daniel Nardini has led quite the extraordinary life from living in Taiwan and South Korea as an English teacher as well as authoring three books, entitled “South Korea: Our Story,” “The Day China Cried,” and “My Taiwan, Seoul and Guadalajara Memoirs.” Nardini dedicated nearly 24 years of his life to journalism that he amassed a plethora of experience. Enough to pen four books, this time focusing on a more personal matter, family. In “My Italian American Family, rural Taiwan and Lawndale News Memoirs,” Nardini delves into his early years and the moments that have shaped his life. “It is a sensitive subject matter and one that took time to write because I really go into my family history,” said Nardini. “It was extremely important to me to record my family’s stories, my family’s history so that it lives on through the pages.”

“The story of my family is one that so many American families could easily identify with. My grandfather came to the United States from Italy, served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and started the Nardini family. My grandfather had an especially difficult time and had to struggle to keep his family alive during the Great Depression…” begins the story of the Nardini clan addressing his family’s impoverished life while living in the Italian ghettos to the origin of his parent’s connection to his first memoires of his doting grandparents. “My grandfather loved me and my sister, and he clearly wanted to see his grandchildren at least once a week. He would give us a kiss to greet us,” he writes in his book. “I’ve written extensive books about my experiences living in South Korea, living in Mexico that writing about my life was a natural progression for me,” said Nardini. “I always knew that I wanted to share my story, my heritage because it is the story if immigrants, a topic I know people can relate to…it is everyone’s story.”

Although putting pen to paper served as Nardini’s bread and butter, he found it particularly difficult compiling the stories to put in his latest memoir, especially the story of his father’s passing. “I wanted to ensure that I told the stories in a way that would make my family proud and inspire others to author their own life story no matter how sensitive the subject matter. It is rather difficult to share the passing of a loved one, but it is a part of life and in some way, they live on in the pages of my book,” said Nardini. “I encourage anyone and everyone to learn about their heritage, the origin story and put it in writing. It is cathartic and allows us to realize that we are far more similar in the values we share and the family pride we carry.”

“My Italian American Family, Rural Taiwan and Lawndale News Memoirs” is broken into three parts. His personal story, his life on a Taiwanese farm, and his work as a journalist for Lawndale News. “I have to say that I have led an unexpected life. I learned a lot. Some parts were grueling, other parts were dangerous, and I am happy to share it. It is my hope that my life’s story inspires and motivates because it was my mission to capture the spirit of the people who have meant so much to me.” “My Italian American Family, Rural Taiwan and Lawndale News Memoirs,” is currently available for purchase, at As for Nardini’s next project, “Well, I may write my fifth book, we shall see. I still have to s many untold stories to share.”

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