ITALY: 50,000-Fold

Frail, flame-haired Fabio Signorini, 10, was the smartest boy in his class—and the only one unable to bring a postcard to school for the geography project. With tears of shame in his eyes, Fabio explained matters to his teacher. Neither his mother nor his grandparents can read or write. His father was captured by the Russians on the Don nine years before, and, like 60,000 other Italian soldiers, has not been heard of since. None of the other ten relatives who share the poverty-ridden farmhouse in Sant' Alessandro had ever sent or received a postcard in their lives.

Teacher Ilda Rossi...

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