Tonya Russo Hamilton is a teacher and author in the greater Portland area. Her first published work, ‘Wrestling with the Devil; A Story of Sacrifice, Survival, & Triumph, from the Hills of Naples to the Hall of Fame,’ is an inspirational memoir inspired by her father's journey from a small town in southern Italy to Brooklyn, New York and eventually Portland, Oregon. Her children's book is titled, ‘Tino and the Pomodori’ and is about a young boy who plants and harvests tomatoes with his grandfather in a small town just outside of Naples. It celebrates the wonders and beauty of family and Italian culture. Tonya has a love of cooking, but she especially enjoys it when she is re-creating the recipes brought to the U.S. by her Italian family. She currently teaches STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts & Mathematics) and Drama in the greater Portland area.
Author's note: I have come to realize how profoundly my family experiences have shaped who I am as a person, a teacher, and a writer. In researching and writing, 'Wrestling with the Devil,' I was able to draw on my family experiences to accurately and authentically tell the story in my father’s voice. And in depicting the story in my illustrated children's book, 'Tino & the Pomodori,' I was also able to relate my experiences growing up harvesting tomatoes and making tomato sauce every fall with my family.