Losing three grandparents in less than a year, Staten Islander’s new book encourages courage and adventure


STATEN ISLAND, NY – Phil, a fictitious fly, is often mistakenly viewed as a pest. However, he’s actually a friendly little guy who loves to take in the views and have thrilling adventures. And that’s how Staten Islander Gabriell Lucchese-Hood’s new children’s book, “Phil Fly’s first flight,” start.

“A nomad, Phil has gone on his next trip to find a temporary home,” said Lucchese-Hood, a former high school student in Port Richmond, said of his protagonist. “During his trip, he stumbles upon a strange place he has never seen before. The accidental discovery he makes changes his life forever in the most amazing ways.

With her new book, the SUNY Purchase graduate and resident of Mariners Harbor – where she lives with husband John and their dog Jedi – has made her long-held dream of becoming an author come true.


“The past year has been very difficult, so I decided to make the most of my midlife and make my dream come true,” she said.

By profession, Gabriell Lucchese-Hood, MS, CF-SLP, TSSLD, is a speech-language pathologist and EFL / ESL tutor, having completed a professional certificate program in early childhood development.

In 2019, she obtained her master’s degree from Adelphi University in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is the daughter of Maria Scuderi Capasso, formerly of Westerleigh and a resident of New Jersey, and Peter Lucchese, of Arden Heights.


“As I returned home from Texas in 2015, I jotted down a few ideas in a notebook after spotting a fly on the plane I had on board,” said Lucchese-Hood. “The mere thought of this fly traveling to another state, much further away, with the same ease as I lived, made me laugh. I knew it wasn’t an idea I could ignore.

Lucchese-Hood hopes his new book will encourage resilience in his readers. “Sometimes you just have to stumble upon something so small and if you let it happen, your imagination will do the rest,” she says.

“These days you’ll see me opening my Notes app to write down whatever stories or poems come to mind. I have already gathered ideas for the second book in the “Phil Fly’s Adventures” series, ”she added.


The author’s brother, Damien Lucchese, a native of Staten Islander, worked on the graphic design and the print production part of “Phil Fly’s First Flight”. Her husband, John Hood, also from Staten Islander, is currently doing business.

“Our family has been through a lot over the past two and a half years, so this project started out as a stress reliever that became a new source of fulfillment and joy,” said Lucchese-Hood. “We have lost many loved ones, including three of our grandparents in less than a year: Staten Islanders Rosa Scuderi, Peter Lucchese and John D’Esposito.”

Lucchese-Hood is convinced that they are “all looking down and smiling”.

“I know they would have been so proud,” she said. “John D’Esposito was the only one who could see the book when he died just two weeks ago and since he was in the hospital during the holidays he told every nurse he had that his little- daughter had written a book.

“That alone will allow me to continue.”

To order the book, please click here. To learn more about Phil Fly and his adventures, visit PhilFlyFlies.com.

Gabriell Lucchese-Hood holds her new book, “Phil Fly’s First Flight”. (Photo by Lisa Porazzo)

Photo by Lisa Porazzo

Gabriell Lucchese-Hood wrote her first book, “Phil Fly’s First Flight”. Gabriell is pictured with her husband, John. (Photo by Lisa Porazzo)

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