NEW YORK – Nine years ago Maria Nikolis started telling stories to her first granddaughter, Helen, who enjoyed her grandmother’s tales more and more as she got older. Sometimes Helen asked for a new story, and sometimes she wanted reruns, like “The Butterfly and the May Beetle” or “The Computer and the Penguin.”
As time went by and grew Helen grew up, Nikolis’ passion for the stories and her desire to share them with other parents and children grew.
Two years ago she decided to take the first steps towards publishing a book of the stories Helen was nurtured on and in late 2014 she succeeded is having printed and distributed her first book, titled Grandma Maria’s Stories in Greek and English.
The author of is a teacher in the Afternoon Greek School of Kimisis of Island of Island Park and on March 14 she presented the book to teachers and parents in nearby communities of Long Island, as well as to former and current students.
The Wednesday before the presentation she visited the offices of The National Herald in Long Island City and talked about the first book and the series she is planning.
The lavishly illustrated and colorful soft cover book offer mothers, grandmothers and a teacher to enter into dialogue with children about colors and the protagonists of each story.
The book contains four tales namely, “The Butterfly and the May Beetle”, “The Computer and the Penguin”, “The Yellow Cat and the little Mice” and “Momma Bird and her Babies.” The English translation was provided by Maria Kasomanakis.
Nicolis belongs to the Tsimis family and was born and raised in Parparia, Chios. After high school she went to Athens to study. In 1977 she met Nicholas and they were married in her village on the same day Nicholas’ brother Costas wed Maria Nikolis.
In February 1978 the couple arrived in New York with Maria pregnant and her not knowing the English language. Like most immigrants, they were penniless but determined to work hard to secure a better future for themselves and their children. Nikos Nikolis worked in construction and now has his own company.
The couple gave birth to three children Joanna, Stavros, and John.
Nikolis taught from 1980-1985 at the Church of the Resurrection community in Glen Cove Long Island, and has been with Kimisis for the past twenty years. She attaches great importance to teaching the Greek language and culture to students and to help them pass the New York State regents exams for Modern Greek.
She said “the children are taught not only grammar and reading, but our history and culture…they are breastfed with love for the community, the Diaspora and Greece.”
The book can be ordered at www.amazon.com, or by clicking or through the website www.grandmamaria.com.