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Author Spotlight: Children’s Book Author Agatha Rodi

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  1 year ago   ·  

There are so many talented Greek authors! This time, I put Greek Children’s Book Author & Educator Agatha Rodi in the Author Spotlight.

Author Spotlight: Children’s Book Author Agatha Rodi

Welcome to a brand new feature! From time to time, I’ll put an author in the spotlight. This time, meet Greek Children’s Book Author Agatha Rodi! Keep reading for a Q&A.

Meet Agatha Rodi

Born in Patras, Greece, Agatha Rodi has been a foreign language teacher for 24 years. She has translated/edited short stories, anthologies, and poems. As a writer, her work has appeared in the Greek Anthology of Patras, “8 People of the City” (2019). Agatha’s bilingual picture book Amelie at Grandma’s (Independently published, 2020) is available in two versions, Greek-English and Greek-French. Her latest, a picture book called A Young Kimolistas (Weaving Waves, 2022) is available in Greek, English, French, and Italian.

Agatha is the policy maker for Kimolistas NGO, and under the auspices of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, she organizes “Story Telling Waves” workshops, related to the environment, and Kimolian tradition. She’s won multiple awards for this work.

In 2022, she launched her own publishing company, called Weaving Waves Publications.

Agatha is an active member of the international organization, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Circle of the Greek Children’s Book (Greek Ibby)Cyprus Association on Books for Young People (Cypriot Ibby)Greek-Japanese Association, and the European Association of Creative Writing Programs (EACWP). She represents Greece as the ambassador of the non-profit organizations MCBD-U.S., International Read To Me Day-Australia, and Inclusion Matters (U.S.).

As a writer, educator, and avid reader herself, Agatha is an advocate for children’s reading programs and much of her work is designed to encourage children to not only read, but also to inspire a love reading.

Maria A. Karamitsos is an Amazon affiliate. As an Amazon affiliate, she earns money from qualifying purchases. By clicking through the links, when you make a purchase, she will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps to support her writerly endeavors Thank you!

Q&A with Agatha Rodi

… On Teaching

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? A teacher? Which came first?

Initially I desired to become a policewoman, then in high school, I read like crazy and bought books secretly. I used my pocket money for books such as literature and poetry. Literature opened many paths for me and becoming a teacher came naturally. The need to write led me to write children’s stories and short stories in Greek and English. I’ve met many American writers online and in person who motivated me to follow a writing career. This is how I got more involved in writing and reading a lot more.

Where do you teach? What grades/subject?

For 24 years, I’ve run my own School of Foreign Languages, teaching English and French at all levels. Private schools of TFL in Greece teach all levels, from Junior A class to University Exams. I have been teaching students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, long-term memory, and autism. I feel blessed to be taught by them. Teaching charismatic kids, watching them improve themselves, realizing their potential, and improving themselves thanks to their way of thinking, can’t be expressed in words.

… On Writing

Why did you want to write children’s books?

Well, after visiting the U.S. many times I discovered the need for Greek-American children to know more about Greek places, customs, and history. At the same time, I considered it a real challenge to write for children and in English. I started writing nonfiction biographies and submitting them to agents and editors. There are so many people who have brought amazing changes in the world and kids need to know their struggles and efforts to make our world a better place. I believe writing children’s books functions as the medium to uncover the layers of one’s self, be inspired, and discover a purpose in life.

When did you publish your first book?

My very first book was Amelie Gets Impressed (Independently published, 2014).

The latest book by Agatha Rodi

Your newest book is A Young Kimolistas. What is it about?

Published in August 2022, it’s ideal for ages from 8 to 80! Phaedon visits the island for the first time. He gets to discover with other Kimolian boys, the volunteer work of Kimolistes NGO, the awarded open cinema Cine Kalisperitis, Polyaigos islet, and the islanders of the past who have left their mark on Kimolos island. He meets Beba the famous chef, Captain Augoustis with his trexandiri-boat Mr. Apostolis at Kali Kardia restaurant, and other Kimolians. Through the narrations of real and funny incidents, Phaedon unites us with the history of the Cycladic Island, the Kimolian customs, the unique beaches, the medieval castle, the churches, the rare flora and fauna, the bees, the sea lilies, and the kritama, the Mediterranean seal (Monachus Monachus), the sea turtle (Caretta-Caretta) reminding us of our the efforts to protect the environment.

Since the book is intended to show the emerald beauty of Kimolos and the efforts of the Kimolistes team for the sustainability and maintenance of the Cycladic elements, and also elated to tradition and customs that tend to be forgotten, please read and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Every purchase and review is very important for us.

… On Publishing

You started a publishing company. Tell us about it.

For three years, I struggled to be compensated by the Greek publisher who previously published my books. So I decided to start my own publishing company and am now I am an Indie Publisher in Greece. I never planned to become a publisher but while working with the Kimolistes NGO and the Volunteer Team of Kimolos island, I decided to create a company focused on publishing children’s books and short stories. Weaving Waves Publications aims at writers with unique voices and books whose themes introduce readers to social issues and tradition, too.

… on Literary Citizenship

You actively promote other authors. Why is this important?

When I started promoting other writers, I heard all types of wild comments. Sadly, not everyone believes in volunteerism and goodwill towards other individuals. They wonder about your motives but mostly, in my case, they thought it was pointless and a waste of time since money wasn’t included. This type of confrontation made me more determined to continue what I do and to ignore all those voices. I choose the things that make me happy and appreciate the satisfaction from doing what I truly support with all my heart. Giving a helping hand never hurts. I love other writers’ books and for me, it is natural to talk about the book concepts and the themes that trigger young readers’ imagination.

How has this helped you?

In 2023, a book I wrote will published by a well-established American publisher, but I can’t tell more at the moment. I’m very excited about this! And grateful. It all happened when two American writers on Twitter suggested me as the ideal Greek writer for the topic. This gave me the opportunity to be published in the U.S! It’s wonderful. I help writers and writers help me. It all comes back.

… on Multicultural Books and Storytelling

You’re very involved in the multicultural book “movement”. Talk about this.

I started as a reviewer for MCBD, in 2016 and two years later, I was asked to become the global co-host for Greece. MCBD is a nonprofit organization and my contribution is on a volunteer basis. It’s an amazing feeling to know writers from all over the world who share the same vision and passion for writing about your country, promoting diversity through culture and myths. After contacting Writers Peggy Fourka and Foto Skorda, we formed a group of Greek writers to participate and exchange reviews with Greek-American writers. It’s a very important part of my writing path and with the 10-year celebration this year, we hosted events in Chania and the Public Library there with the Greek Writer Marina Ploumpi as the coordinator and myself with parents and students at Patras Bookstore Polyedro. MCBD is an endless source of information for educators, parents, and writers with free resources and thousands of books to check with cultural references, videos, and reviews from other writers. I urge writers to participate in the event which takes place each January, in a monthlong celebration with events that unite writers in a unique bond while promoting literacy.

Amelia at Grandma’s by Agatha Rodi

… On Workshops

What is Story Telling Waves?

The Story Telling Waves workshops were born from the whispers of the Aegean air when I traveled for the first time with the ferry boat “Pantofla” from Milos to Kimolos. I listened to the islanders narrate moments of their lives. These funny and serious adventures inspired A Young Kimolistas. The Hellenic Tourism Organization has under its auspices the Story Telling Waves Workshops as part of the Kimolos Experience» Festival, organized by the Kimolistes NGO, on the Cycladic Island of Kimolos, in the South Aegean Sea. The Story Telling Waves workshops have to do with the Creative Writing Courses at Primary Schools of the South Aegean Islands, more specifically in the Cyclades, as well as on the islands of the Ionian Sea.

You’re going to do some workshops or events in the Cyclades. Talk about this.

Story Telling Waves is part of the Kimolos Experience Festival so this summer there will be workshops with a different topic involving creative writing and storytelling by young readers/writers and the elderly.

… On the Future

What’s next for you?

Life is unpredictable and this is truer than ever before. I wish to have new beginnings at all levels of my life and the paths that I intend to follow will be a real surprise for those who know me very well.

What comes next? Well, the implementation of my idea, with the cooperation of four European organizations based in the following countries: Sweden, Malta, Azores island-Terceira, and Esthonia of recording the cultural heritage of Kimolos’ Island, through storytelling in combination with Sustainable Development, the rebirth of tradition and stories. It’s funded by the European Union as part of Erasmus + Projects. The joint synergy was born in a program for young people aged 15 to 25 years with the aim to exchange, educate, and record from their part, all the unique elements that characterize small Islands, as the program is entitled ISLANDERS: MANY ISLANDS – ONE COMMUNITY, which will take place in 2023-2024.

The program is designed to activate young people living on small islands like Kimolos as a storytelling as a tool for the preservation of cultural heritage through sustainable development and recording of culture.

The first official exchange of information and implementation of our action plan will be in the Azores on 17th April 2023, on the island of Terceira, where two members of the Kimolistes NGO will be present, and then the visit of the members of the organizations, will follow for a week on Kimolos, in September 2023 in the framework of the program.

Greek children's book author Agatha Rodi
Agatha Rodi

Children’s Book Author Agatha Rodi

Hope you enjoyed meeting Agatha Rodi! Check out her books on Amazon. They make great gifts too! And don’t forget to leave a review.

For more information about her books, Weaving Waves, workshops, and more, connect with Agatha on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn.

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Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria currently pens a literary column for NEO magazine and also contributes to Greek City Times and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on her 1st novel.

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