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Etched in Sand

A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Regina’s Calcaterra memoir, Etched in Sand, is an inspiring and triumphant coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope.
Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. Her painful early life, however, was quite different. Regina and her four siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons.
A true-life rags-to-riches story, Etched in Sand chronicles Regina’s rising above her past, while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together through it all.
Beautifully written, with heartbreaking honesty, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American Dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 24, 2013 – This true story of a woman surviving domestic abuse as a child, emancipating herself as a teenager, and then becoming a successful attorney is courageous and fascinating, written with a descriptive restraint that recalls moments of tragedy and perseverance with simplicity and subtlety. Her story begins with an account of life among a scrappy pack of homeless siblings and narrows to Calcaterra s rise to executive director of the New York State Moreland Commission on Utility Preparation and Response. Woven into the narrative is Calcaterra s search to discover the identity of her birth father, a man who resisted acknowledging that he is her parent; this conflict led to a landmark court decision in the state of Washington over an adult child s right to an accurate determination of paternity; it also led to a touching reunion with other members of her birth father s family. Written as a story of the hope it took a community to raise a child, Calcaterra concludes her story with the genuine sentiment that we all have to believe. At the end of this unforgettable book, readers will.

Customer Reviews

Etched in sand

Best book I've read in quite awhile. Absolutely heartbreaking, but a true inspiration and insight into the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. We are all responsible !

Great book

Great read, couldn't put it down. Such an inspiration!


I don’t even know where to start. This book is just that powerful. I’ve been putting off writing this review because I was trying to figure out how to put into words the impact it had on me and I’ve finally realized that I’m speechless. Absolutely speechless. And we all know that never happens. I read this book from cover to cover (until 4 am) and cried for the Calcaterra kids on numerous occasions.

I’m getting my Master’s in Public Policy, so this book impacted me on two levels. The first was the heartbreaking story of the Calcaterra siblings, whose childhoods are demonstrative of what is wrong with our child welfare system. There were times that I wanted to scream because I was so frustrated with the protocols. The second impact has to do with Regina Calcaterra –  public policy expert. She is an incredible woman who has made her way in a man’s world, not to mention everything she had to overcome to get there. She had to conquer both the gender gap and her past. She successfully completed college and her law degree, which is no easy feat for a foster child who’s told to marry well. I can safely say that she has secured her spot on my most-admired women list (next to Hillary Clinton). I can only hope that I can enact the kind of positive change that she has.

But back to the book.

Etched in Sand is the true story of Regina Calcaterra and her four siblings who were forced to endure a horrific and abusive childhood. Separated and bounced around from foster home to foster home, the close-knit siblings suffered the abuse of not only their mother (when she didn’t disappear for weeks on end), but also their foster parents. When they were placed back with with their mother, Regina had to steal food to provide for her younger siblings. It’s all heart-wrenching, but perhaps the most tragic part about their story is that they were failed by social services, whose bureaucratic red tape left them fighting for themselves.

Far from being a woe-is-me tale, this is one of perseverance and redemption. Despite the odds, all of the children survived and thrived later in life, especially Regina. Having experienced firsthand the failures of our public policies regarding aging-out foster kids, she is a strong advocate and board member for You Gotta Believe, which focuses on placing older children in foster homes. She has also put her public policy expertise to good use as the Executive Director to NYS Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparedness and Response. I could go on about her various accomplishments, but instead I’ll direct you to the author box or her website.

The point is – you must read this book. Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, into public policy, or experienced with the foster care system, this book WILL have an impact on you. And thanks to TLC Book Tours, I have the opportunity to send one lucky winner a copy of this book. But if you don’t win, I politely demand that you purchase it.

Etched in Sand
View in iTunes
  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Aug 06, 2013
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings