Oikonomou on Teaching Greek with the New Book, ‘Lydia: A Summer in Greece!’

The National Herald

Lydia: A Summer in Greece co-authors Konstantinos Oikonomou and Terpsi Gavala in the village of Azolimnos on Syros. (Photo by Afea Andreadis)

ATHENS – Konstantinos Oikonomou is a Greek teacher, published author, and proofreader living in Athens and originally from the island of Crete. He spoke with The National Herald about his latest book, an easy reader written with his colleague Terpsi Gavala, helping to teach the Greek language. Titled Lydia: Ena kalokairi stin Ellada! (Lydia: A Summer in Greece!), the book is available online as a hard copy or ebook.

Gavala is from Athens and both she and Oikonomou are qualified Greek teachers with several years experience teaching at the Omilo Greek Language and Culture School.

Oikonomou told TNH that the book “is intended for A1 to early stages of A2 level Greek learners [as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages]. The story takes place in Athens and on the beautiful island of Syros in the Cyclades.”

He noted that “part of the story takes place in the small village of Azolimnos and also in Hermoupolis, the capital of Syros and the Cyclades. We have spent many summers on the island of Syros teaching Greek with the school we work for, Omilo, and the island was a source of inspiration!”

Oikonomou told TNH that “the book is accompanied by an Audiobook (MP3 files) and original music was actually written for this Audiobook.

“At the end of the book, there is a selected vocabulary translated into English. Vocabulary is also available - at extra cost - in French, German, and Turkish. At the beginning of August, a companion e-Workbook will be released.”

Besides offering lessons in the Greek language with a hint of mystery and the vocabulary to cover various everyday conversation topics, the book also features charming illustrations and book design by David Hitch about whom Oikonomou said, “He is English, but his Greek is perfect!”

When asked how long the project took to put together from idea to publication, Oikonomou told TNH that it took “a year and a half more or less. It was not very easy to do so as at the same time we had to work full time.”

The National Herald

Lydia: A Summer in Greece by Terpsi Gavala and Konstantinos Oikonomou with illustrations by David Hitch is now available online. (Photo: Courtesy of the authors)

The main character of the story is Lydia, a Greek-American woman who lives in New York and works as a journalist for a Greek newspaper. She often travels to Greece to cover different stories. On one of her trips to Athens, she meets a man, Orestis, on the plane. He volunteers to help her with an article she is writing about Athens' neighborhoods. After they spend some time together in the Greek capital, Orestis asks Lydia to join him on a business trip to the island of Syros, in the Cyclades. The beautiful island in the Aegean Sea becomes the setting for a series of unexpected events.

The book includes dialogues covering many everyday topics, such as introducing myself, talking about my family, ordering in a coffeeshop or a tavern, arranging a meeting with friends, and asking for or giving directions.

The National Herald

Lydia: A Summer in Greece co-authors Konstantinos Oikonomou and Terpsi Gavala on the steps of the Town Hall in Hermoupolis, the capital of Syros and the Cyclades. (Photo by Afea Andreadis)

The audiobook is also extremely helpful with all of the story recorded by native Greek speakers Eva Christodoulou, another teacher at Omilo, as Lydia, and Oikonomou as Orestis. The musicians Issidoros Papadakis and Petros Kapellas also perform on the audiobook, adding another entertaining aspect to learning Greek.

More information about the book is available online:

Information about Omilo is also available online: