A Book about Bridging Cultures
John Kallas was born in Newark, New Jersey, a first-generation American to Greek immigrant parents. He, his sister, and his two younger brothers were raised in the space between two languages, two cultures, two completely different ways of life. They were the bridge between their Greek parents and their American home. Many American customs were confusing for John’s parents, but they embraced America as the place where they could realize their dreams, and they worked hard and made a life for themselves. John’s father was proud of his Greek heritage, but he was also deeply proud to be an American.
Royal Fireworks Press is pleased to re-release John Kallas’s book Growing Up as a Greek-American, a collection of small stories about the funny, quirky, beautiful lives of his immigrant parents, siblings, and neighbors living in a Greek neighborhood in an American city. John’s family story is like so many other immigrant stories, and yet it is also unique in the array of vivid characters we meet. John, who was also a playwright adept at writing with dramatic and comedic flair, portrays them with warmth, wit, humor, and love.
The immigrant experience is different for everyone who comes to this country. There are different motivations for coming, different reactions from others, different levels of being able to settle in and call America home. But common among them is the belief that America is a place where people can be safe, where there are opportunities to work hard and make something of yourself, where it pays to do the right thing. John Kallas joined the Army and served for the U.S. during World War II. He wanted to give back to the country that had given his family so much.
At Royal Fireworks Press, we embrace these stories of struggle and promise, of hope and dedication to a new way of life. We offer several books that explore the immigrant experience from the perspectives of people coming from not just Greece but Norway, Ireland, Germany, Hungary, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Rwanda. America is truly a melting pot, and these stories of immigrants coming to America show us why.