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East Rockaway resident, 7, becomes author


Rhame Avenue Elementary School student, Joseph Petraro, 7, became a published author on March 27. 

His book, entitled, “The Pumpkin Man vs. The Boogie Man,” is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, at various bookstores and it is available to borrow at local libraries. 

Joseph has donated all the money made from his book sales to Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing, to support an elderly woman named Caroline Manna, whom he has no relation to, but refers to as his adopted grandma. 

“Joseph is such a sweet kid,” said his mother, Anne Petraro. “He always thinks about other people.”

After getting published, Joseph decided that he wanted to use the funds that he made from each book that was sold, solely for the purpose of helping someone else. With support from his mother, Joseph contacted Lynbrook Restorative employee Mario Philidor, who later introduced Joseph to Manna, whom he decided to help.

“I think he has become more assertive and confident because he is giving back to others,” Petraro said. “His book is about him in many ways … it’s all about love and never giving up. The book really displays the message that there can be bad people, but as long as you keep going, things will be okay.”   

In the 25-page children’s book, published by Fulton Books, the protagonist, Pumpkin Man, has to find a way to protect his family from an antagonist, the Boogie Man, by using karate techniques. Joseph dedicated his book to his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Drummy, and to Sensei Steven from the Karate Academy in East Rockaway.

“My teachers helped me and inspired me,” he said. “My goal is to write 100 books one day.”  

Petraro said that her son was always very shy and Drummy inspired him to get out of his shell and between her, his karate sensei and his family, Joe was inspired to write.

“We are blown away that the book is really out there for Joe,” Petraro said.

The idea of writing books and telling stories, all started as a hobby and bonding time for Joseph and his mother. The two created videos of themselves telling fictional stories and uploaded them to YouTube. After some time, the videos were recognized and Fulton Books contacted them to publish the story.

“Upon reviewing the manuscript, we found the book to be a charming story that young readers could enjoy and be inspired by,” said Scott Parker, the publication assistant for Fulton Books. 

Petraro said she was pleased to see her young son get published.

“I am so proud of my son because he is such a charismatic little boy,” she said. “I hope my son can continue to be happy and artistic for the years to come.”