Have you or a friend ever experienced bullying? Kids all over the world are bullied every day. But as a kid, you have the ability to stop bullying before it even starts. Loukoumi the lamb is on a mission to prove it in the new book Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully by Nick Katsoris.
“Bullying is a really important topic,” Katsoris told TFK at the book premiere on November 9 in New York City. “The reason why I wrote this [book] is because I really enjoy teaching children lessons of life. Someone once said that Loukoumi is a fluffy little lamb that just wants to make the world a better place. That’s exactly what she is.”
Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully is the sixth book in the Loukoumi series, which is “really all about teaching kids to make a difference, not only in their lives, but in the lives of others,” Katsoris explains. Katsoris teamed up with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, encouraging readers to take the group’s pledge against bullying. Katsoris donates money from book sales to PACER and to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In the Loukoumi Illustration Contest, kids were encouraged to submit drawings of new characters that could appear in the book. Ten finalists were selected, and their illustrations appear on the book’s dedication page. Caila Tsamutalis, 10, won the contest. Her drawing of a pig inspired the book's new character, Oinkerella.
A Star-Studded Event
Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Olympia Dukakis, and Oscar nominee Nia Vardalos are among the celebrities who narrate the story on the audio book. At the New York book premiere, Dukakis and others including Nick Gregory, Kalomira Sarantis, Alexis Christoforous, Frank Dicopoulos, Ernie Anastos, and Constantine Maroulis read and signed copies of the book. They also lead a discussion about bullying.
“Nobody is ever, ever, ever allowed to bully you. They’re just not allowed to do that,” says Dicopoulos, an actor. “And if someone is bullying you, the most important thing you can do is to go to a teacher or your parents or your best friend. That’s the first step that you can take to stop someone from bullying.”
Maroulis, also an actor, shared his tips, and PACER’s Kids Against Bullying pledge: “Speak up, reach out, and be a friend.”
“Bullying has become such a problem in society today, not only with kids but also with adults,” says Katsoris. “I hope that people will learn to be kind to one another and not bully other people. If they see bullying, I hope that they to try and do something about it. I feel that if we teach children to be kind to each other and to respect one another, that could be the greatest gift that we give to them.”