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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 May 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 MAY 2016 9 engaging stories "The first series focuses on Greek words, with follow-up series that will expand the universe of characters to include the Greek alphabet (the grammatakia), myth, philosophy, history and the beauty and mystery of the Greek land," he says. "We are not focused on the fallout of yesterday's problems. We want to build cultural bridges to a Greece that is socially connected and economically thriving in the future. “The company has a clear vision. To make one of the most fundamental languages in the world the easiest to learn, and to fascinate children with the depth and breadth of Greek culture." Yannis Nikolakopoulos' first book in the series, titled Greek Around the House, is The Greek Salad. The ingredients are transformed into lovable characters, so that the simple act of making a Greek salad becomes an engaging adventure and an educational opportunity. A little girl at a whitewashed stone window looks out to the dawn over the Aegean Sea. Today is her name day and she must prepare a Greek salad for her 24 cousins who are coming to celebrate with her. But when she tries to gather the ingredients, she finds they are all busy competing in the Olympic games. Does this sound a little Greek? "I decided to turn all the ingredients of the Greek salad into little people," the writer explains, insisting it is easier for children to absorb the names of the ingredients when they can relate them to a plot and think of them as individual characters. "The love between the characters of the story and the plot is what helps children remember and learn Greek." In the second series, which is for four to eight-year-old children, the writer has 'invented' The Grammatakia, about every letter in the alphabet. The first book is about A(lpha) in Athens. "It's basically a creature called Alpha who looks like the alpha case and visits all these locations in Athens," Yannis says. "The book acts like a tool-guide book and familiarises children with the important locations around Athens like the Αgora and the Αcropolis. Through Alpha's adventures we also meet the rest of the story's heroes, the other letters of the alphabet." Moving onto the next series, the writer acquaints us with Sophia's family while focusing on cultural and historical aspects of Greek life. In the first book, titled Pappou's pappou's pappou, Sofia is living with her grandparents on a tiny, undiscovered Aegean island. One day she asks her pappou where he learned everything he knows. "I actually worked with a historian to get around historical information accurately so that each pappou has a different job which reflects the situation Greece was in at the time," he explains. "There's a priest, a farmer, a sponge-diver, a soldier pappou, who all together share stories featuring specific characters with which readers can engage." As a last addition, Yannis has put together another book that helps Sofia understand the woman's role in Greek society. Her yiayia recalls all the great women of ancient Greece and modern times in order to inspire and help the young girl deal with her emotional ups and downs. "Greek history has so many examples which a child can draw strength from, heroes to look up to and values to formulate a character in life," Yannis points out. "What we found helps children of all backgrounds absorb these books is that the historical information isn't dispensed in a taxonomical way of factual resuscitation, but unlocked via simple, human interest stories without becoming boring or difficult to comprehend." For more information and to buy the book, go to grammatakia.com / You can watch the trailer here: www.vimeo.com/160914739 With the books comes a set of stickers parents can use to reward their children when they learn new words, or place them on the fridge so they can remember what the words mean.
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