Author Profile

Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra’s memoir Etched in Sand, A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (HarperCollins Publishing, 2013) is a #1 international best-seller and a New York Times best-seller.  As a result of Etched in Sand’s messages of resilience, optimism, the plight of foster children, that no child is a lost cause and how we can all positively impact the life of a child in need, it has been integrated into college and high school curricula throughout the U.S. and been selected for community reads. She is also co-author of Etched in Sand’s sequel which she wrote with her younger sister Rosie Maloney, Girl Unbroken, A Sister’s Harrowing Journey from the Streets of Long Island to the Farms of Idaho (HarperCollins Publishing, 2016). Girl Unbroken has also been integrated into college curricula alongside Etched in Sand.

Etched in Sand’s and Girl Unbroken’s impactful messages include those of resilience, optimism and perseverance; how kind acts can forever impact a child in need; the vital role of the public library system, public education and the public university system on impoverished children; how educators can forever impact transient children; that no child is a lost cause; childhood hunger, poverty, abuse, abandonment & homelessness;  the power of sibling bonds; risk of homelessness for young adults aging out of foster care parentless; determination to succeed regardless of social status; and breaking the cycles of addiction, alcoholism, child abuse, homelessness and incarceration.

Calls to Action

Etched in Sand and Girl Unbroken have resulted in readers and those who have heard Regina speak: adopting older foster youth; becoming first time foster parents; changing the rules of a food bank that now allow children to get food without no longer requiring that they be accompanied by a parent; creating the first program at a Long Island library that provides library cards for the homeless to allow them to access all of the library’s resources, although they do not have a permanent address; becoming guardian at litem and CASA members to ensure that every child in foster care has a voice; learning how we can all forever impact the life of a child in need although they may only be before us for a moment in time; and, increasing fundraising goals and/or becoming first time contributors to related community based organizations. Additionally, after learning that foster youth age out of the system parentless, a teen created an annual event called Teens Gotta Believe, where he raises community awareness about the need for adoptive parents for older foster youth and raises funds for You Gotta Believe, a not-for-profit that works towards getting older foster youth forever homes.

Professional Bio

Regina is a partner at the law firm of Wolf Haldenstein where she practices securities litigation and federal civil rights litigation. Prior to joining Wolf Haldenstein, she served as Executive Director to two of the New York State Governor’s statewide investigatory commissions, Deputy General Counsel to the New York State Insurance Fund, Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County Executive, Deputy General Counsel to the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Director of Intergovernmental Relations to the New York City Comptroller and a partner in a securities litigation firm.

Regina serves as the second vice chair to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board; as an Ambassador to Library for All, a global effort to eradicate childhood illiteracy in third-world countries; and, on the Advisory Committee to the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. For close to ten years, she served as a board member to You Gotta Believe, an organization that works to get older foster youth adopted.

She has received awards and honors such as the: Lifetime Achievement Award, Primi-Dieci Society and the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce; Speak Out for a Child Award, CASA-NYC; Geraldine Ferraro Award of Courage; The Children of Bellevue Award for serving as a role model for foster children, Tom Collichio, Chair Children of Bellevue; Woman of the Year Award, East End Women’s Network; and the Maxine Postal Humanitarian Award.

"Regina is MORE wonderful than we ever imagined or that you promoted! Tarpon and Clearwater Campus locations; both were standing room only. Barnes & Noble ran out of the books they had available for sale. The libraries had all the books we had ordered checked out. Regina is charming, delightful, engaging, poised, and her story has challenged us to "get out there" and make a difference in the life of one person."
-- Bobbi Cullinan, St. Petersburg College | One Book, One College

"The event was absolutely wonderful - one of the best programs we have ever had at Islip. I can't even say what was the most interesting part of the program, she had my complete attention throughout. What an amazing person."
-- Laurie Atkin, Islip Public Library, New York

"Regina Calcaterra is as gifted, sensitive and intelligent in private as I described her publicly in my blog. I'd place Regina in an extremely rare category of evolved individuals who mix humor, kindness, social grace and wisdom in a way that reaches all sectors of society. She's powerful in the most subtle of ways, simply because she's a natural."
-- Maura Sweeney , Ambassador of Happiness - Author, International Speaker and HuffPost Contributor

"Words cannot adequately express how grateful I am that Sharon Karmazin heard you on Sirius and by your grace and flexibility, we were able to secure you for today's event. You were so easy to talk to, great on the podium, and fantastic for our youth!! You took your time with each of them and left a seed/s to germinate. I cannot think of a better person to reach and engage youth, judiciary and child welfare staff, and community volunteers all at the same time!! My boss left me with one word before he departed.....Perfect!!...and it was. Thank you for agreeing to the fee, schlepping to NJ, rearranging your calendar and being so easy to work with. You have also left seeds for me and I want you to know that it all matters and keep sowing your ministry of hope and promise. It was great that our paths crossed and I'll look forward to the criss cross in the future. Thank You!!! Have a relaxing weekend, joyous upcoming holiday weekend, and beyond!... "
-- Candice Covington-Thomas, United Way_Aging Out - NJ

For more about Regina and her works, go to

Reviews of Etched in Sand

Courageous...Fascinating...Unforgettable. 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.
-- Publishers Weekly,

Riveting reading from start to finish.
-- Kirkus Reviews,

Videos featuring Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra at Clarkson University

An Evening with Regina Calcaterra the Author of Etched in Sand

Etched in Sand Thanks Message