Lastly, I’m forever indebted to my eldest son, Louis Rotella the IV. He’s not just the inspiration for this book, but my whole life.

Thank you, to the sweetest daughter ever, Mia Rotella, and the happiest of all baby boys, Niko Rotella, who teaches me what matters in life.

Tiffany Meyers, a widely published writer and journalist, provided editorial guidance throughout. She underscored the importance of maintaining a sense of freewheeling fun in the text–not in spite of but because of the complex themes in this book. She encouraged the use of language that respects our young readers’ intelligence. I appreciate her heartfelt commitment to the book, which she once described to me as a “dream project.” I’m grateful to all of my friends and family–more people than I have room to list here–who reacted to this idea with genuine enthusiasm. It served to reinforce my own dedication to getting that final draft done.

Mark Chickinelli’s ability to capture the essence of his subjects–from the expression in their eyes to the quality of their gestures–never ceases to amaze me. During his 30-year career, the extraordinarily gifted illustrator has worked with Fortune 500 companies and major advertising agencies across the U.S. Since 1981, he’s produced our family bakery’s advertising–but I’ve been lucky to call Mark my friend since childhood, when he used to walk from his family’s business to my family’s business on a mission for donuts.

Jill Rotella, my wonderful wife and partner-in-crime, was a wellspring of encouragement and ideas, not to mention a primary source for stories about the hilarity and tenderness that defines life with Louie.