This is my first year participating in the online event Multicultural Children’s Book Day as an author and book reviewer. The mission of the event is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries. So, today i’m reviewing the childrens book “Speak up!”, written by Vassiliki Roumeliotou, which is published in Greek.
Celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023-
Book Review of “Speak up!”
The book is a heart warming conversation between Luciano, a sweet little boy, and a bruise he’s got on his cheek… The bruise is trying to convince Luciano to speak up… to understand that his voice has the strength to send the bruise away and help him live free and safe. It’s a book about the power of our voice against all kinds of violence.
I really like this book which aims to motivate children to talk about whatever is pressing them, to talk about “wounds”, to learn about strength that has their voice and for the right to live freely and without fear! The way of writing is very strong and understandable by children. In addition to the author’s excellent text, the words come alive through the amazing images of illustrator Maria Papandreou. It’s a book that worths to be read by all children.
Title: “Speak up!“
Written by Vassiliki Roumeliotou
Illustrated by Maria Papandreou
Published by Papyros Books, 2022
Celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023- Book Review of “Speak up!”
About the author
Vassiliki Roumeliotou studied for her Bachelor Degree at the University of Athens, Greece. She teaches ancient and modern Greek Language, Literature and History at Secondary Special Schools. She holds a Master of Education in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs from the University of Birmingham, England. She is the writer of the children’s book ‘Μην πας, φωκάκι! (Don’t go baby seal!), published in Greece and Spain, about self protection and her new book ‘Μίλα!’(Speak up!) is about violence and childhood trauma. Both books are published by Papyros Books. With the support of Papyros Books she organizes seminars for children, parents and teachers about self protection and ways to learn how to deal with violence and trauma. She is also a PhD student at the University of Crete. Her research interest is Autism and Sexuality.
The name of the hero of the book is in honour of Luciano Garbati, the Argentine-Italian artist, whose amazing sculpture of Medusa With the Head of Perseus became a symbol of the #MeToo movement. The statue depicts Medusa holding a sword and the head of Perseus, a role reversal of the greek legend.
The book includes a paedagogical section for parents and teachers on how to help children speak up and discuss whatever troubles them.
The book has been edited by George Styliaras, psychotherapist.
Some educational ideas of how to use the book
- The book has its own song by Nasos Kavathas. Sing and learn the lyrics by heart!
- The book has its own stop-motion video by Dr Chronis Giannikopoulos. Enjoy it.
- After watching the video, get some post- its. Ask the children to write negative thoughts/memories. One on each post-it. Ask for a volunteer. The children stick their post-its on the volunteer. The more post-its the better. Soon the volunteer’s body will be almost fully covered.. Make sure some post-its are stuck on the centre of his back where the volunteer can’t reach. Talk about negative experiences and how they affect us unless we talk about them. Ask the volunteer to get rid of the post-its that are drowning him. The volunteer will not be able to reach the ones on his/her back. Explain that sometimes things are very challenging for us and we need to ask for help. Ask the classmates to help and to take off the post-its from the volunteer’s back.
- Draw a human body on a white board. Explain to the pupils that sometimes our thoughts lie to us but our body always tells the truth. Brainstorm how our body talks to us (eg. tears, quick heartbeat, weak, trembling knees, sweaty palms etc etc) and use post-its or draw on the human body on the board to pin-point how our body communicates with us.
email: [email protected]
Stop-motion video by Dr Chronis Giannikopoulos
Song by Nasos Kavathas
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