CHICAGO – Katerina Athena Mallios created the Follow Apollo Series for the sole purpose of helping Greek families everywhere teach their children all about Greek history, traditions, and language in a fun and engaging way. The first book, a hardcover about Greek Easter was created by Mallios and Aymsley Upp with illustrations by Max Alnutt. She spoke with The National Herald about the series and the products now available online.
“The first product is a hardcover book and plush toy focused on Greek Easter. The main character, Apollo, travels through time and space with his horse Troy to teach siblings Athena and Dino more about this special holiday. Throughout the story, over 50 words are translated and there is an accompanying English/Greek glossary included at the end of the book as well,” Mallios told TNH.
She continued, “The second product is an Activity Book that contains 36 pages of coloring and activities highlighting Greek traditions like Oxi Day, the Changing of the Guard in Athens, Pascha, the cutting of the Vasilopita, and more! Additionally, you will find Greek-themed mazes, connect the dots, find the difference, and find the object pages. Many Greek words (like colors, animals, and more) can be found throughout as well.
“Growing up Greek, it is important to me that future generations understand why we participate in certain traditions and that they appreciate the importance and honor of being Greek. We just launched earlier this year and are excited to bring Follow Apollo to families across the country.”
TNH: How long did it take to put the project together?
Katerina Athena Mallios: From bringing a simple idea to fruition took about two years between coming up with the brand, writing a novel, and manufacturing our products. I was inspired by seeing other authors creating educational items to help teach the younger generation about their heritage, culture, and traditions. I thought to myself, why not give Greek families all over the world the same opportunity to learn about their history in a fun, captivating way?
TNH: We see you are based in Chicago, where in Greece is your family from?
KAM: Yes, I currently reside in Chicago, IL, but I grew up in Winthrop, MA surrounded by many aunts, uncles, and cousins. My mother's father was born in a small village named Kokova which is now known as Skotani. It is in the mountains of Kalavrita. My mother's mother was born 35.5km north in Vassaras, a village in Laconia, which is part of Sparti. My father's side previously resided in Epirus, Northwestern Greece.
TNH: What has been the response so far to the series?
KAM: The response has been amazing by not only the Greek community, but others who are interested in learning about Greek culture and history. Our first set of products included a book about Greek Easter which captured the reasons why we partake in certain traditions including 50+ Greek words and a plush doll, Apollo.
Given the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic, our customers provided feedback that a Follow Apollo activity book would be beneficial for their children during this time. With that ask, we just released our first Follow Apollo Series Activity Book 2020. The book includes basic Greek learning material and coloring pages that highlight Greek traditions like Oxi Day, the Changing of the Guard in Athens, Pascha and more. We plan on releasing more books with time and continue to welcome feedback from The Follow Apollo Series parea.
Our goal is to ensure that Greek families have the opportunity to use The Follow Apollo Series products to educate their children about any and everything Greek!
TNH: What are you working on next?
KAM: We are now working on a Greek Alphabet puzzle and a Christmas/New Year's puzzle. After that, we will be writing additional hardcover books.
More information is available online: https://www.thefollowapolloseries.com/.
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