Giacalone inspired to start business

Hannah Giacalone, Farragut native and a Hardin Valley Academy Class of 2013 graduate, has started a new company, The Maafia Project, and plans to donate children’s books to children in need.

“We will produce a line of children’s books, and each book is based on a kid in a different country,” she said. “They are pretty simple books.

“They are about what the kid’s life is like and what his or her city is like.”

Giacalone said her company’s purpose is to promote literacy and cultural awareness.

“Right now, we have two books written,” she said. “One is about a girl in New York City and the other is about a girl in New Zealand.”

The New York Book is written by Jenny Rollins and illustrated by Ameila Hillebrant, and the New Zealand Book is written by Kellie Addison and illustrated by Pip King.

“We have an [online] account at, where the pub-lic can purchase the books. The premise is when a book is purchased, another book is given to a child who does not have access to a quality education system.

Giacalone said a person now can pre-order the New York Book for $30 or the New York Book and New Zealand Book both can be pre-ordered for $45.

“We are going to need the money to take 300 books to an orphanage in Mombassa, Kenya,” she said.

“Hopefully, the books will be available in October. They will only be available if we reach the amount needed, $10,000, to publish both sets of books.”

The inspiration for the name of her company, Maafia, came from the name of a child Giacalone knew while she living in Ghana, Africa, she said.

Giacalone took off a semester of college at Brigham Young University in Utah and taught at an orphanage school in Ghana, Africa.

“I lived there last year for three months,” she said.

“I always wanted to travel and give service around the world. Since I was in college, I decided it was a good time to go.

“I just saw so many opportunities in Ghana for children to learn and how they could continue their education further if they had more access to books,” she said. “When you live in poverty, books are the last things you buy.

“So, we want to be able to give these kids books to become more educated to get out of poverty,” she said.