Loukoumi the lamb has always been a sweet little lamb with a big agenda, and now Nick Katsoris, author of the Loukoumi book series (www.loukoumi.com), has launched a national Bullying Awareness School Program in collaboration with the National Bullying Prevention Center, featuring his award winning children’s book, Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully, narrated by Oscar winner Morgan Freeman.
The program’s first event was held this week at the Anne Hutchinson School in Eastchester, New York for over 600 students. Similar events are scheduled at schools and bookstores nationwide.
In the program, Katsoris discusses bullying with the students utilizing materials created by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Students are asked what bullying means to them and then they discuss ways to combat this national epidemic which plagues schools nationwide.
Katsoris highlights that one of the most important participants in bullying is the third party spectator who can empower the bully with their reactions. Katsoris says that if a child witnesses bullying they should not encourage the bully with laughter or inaction.
"If you don’t encourage them, either actively or passively,” Katsoris says, “then you take their power away. The Loukoumi books are all about teaching kids lessons of life so that they can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others, and there is no better lesson than teaching kids about bullying. If we don’t, then the schoolyard bullies of today will be tomorrow’s adult bullies in the workplace and in the home.”
Following the Bullying Awareness discussions at the Loukoumi events, students then watch the ebook of Katsoris’ Mom’s Choice Award winning "Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully” narrated by Nia Vardalos, Oscar nominated screenwriter and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and author of the bestselling book Instant Mom. The book teaches kids how to handle bullying in schools and illustrates to them the points discussed in the Bullying Awareness assemblies.
Oscar winner Morgan Freeman voices the role of the schoolyard bully, Igor the alligator. Other character voices, reprising their roles from past Loukoumi audio books, include Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis as Marika the monkey, Grammy Winner Gloria Gaynor as Fistiki the Cat, Days of Our Lives star John Aniston as Loukoumi's Daddy, Tony Nominee Constantine Maroulis as Gus the bear, Actor Frank Dicopoulos as Dean the dog and Alexis Christoforous as Loukoumi. Proceeds from the book benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
At the end of the assemblies, Katsoris leads the students in the National Bullying Prevention Center’s Kids Against Bullying Pledge where kids vow to “SPEAK UP when I see bullying, REACH OUT to others who are bullied, and BE A FRIEND whenever I see bullying.”
Following the pledge, Katsoris then leads kids in repeating aloud Loukoumi’s lessons from the book series including:
“Believe in yourself and dreams come true!” – from Growing up with Loukoumi
“The secret ingredient is never give up!” – from Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook
“Do Something nice for someone today,” - from Loukoumi’s Good Deeds (narrated by Jennifer Aniston) and lastly, the words Morgan Freeman voices in Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully: “I won’t be a bully because it really isn’t cool. I will be accepting of others, that’s the golden rule.”
Loukoumi Bullying Awareness Assemblies are currently scheduled in over 30 states, with more to follow throughout the year.
About the Author:
Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully is Nick Katsoris' sixth book in the Loukoumi series. Other titles include the iParenting Media award-winning: Loukoumi, Growing up with Loukoumi, Loukoumi's Good Deeds, Loukoumi's Gift and Loukoumi's Celebrity Cookbook. The Cookbook features favorite childhood recipes by over 50 celebrities including Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, George Stephanopoulos, Betty White, several Disney Channel stars, and many others.
The Cookbook reached #1 on the Amazon.com children's cookbook list in January 2012 and received several awards including two World Cookbook Awards, The Mom's Choice Award for Excellence and The Family Choice Award.
Based on the themes in his books, Katsoris sponsors several programs including the Growing Up With Loukoumi Dream Day contest, which grants kids the opportunity to spend the day in their dream careers. He also sponsors Make a Difference with Loukoumi Day, based on his book Loukoumi's Good Deeds (narrated on CD by Jennifer Aniston and John Aniston), which rallies 20,000 kids each October to do a good deed on national Make a Difference Day. In addition, the winner of the Loukoumi's Celebrity Cookbook recipe contest, Grace LaFountain, cooked her favorite childhood recipe with celebrity chef Cat Cora at Cat's restaurant, Kouzzina, on the BoardWalk in Walt Disney World during the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Katsoris is a New York attorney and president of the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which has awarded over 850 scholarships totaling over $2 million. Nick is also a board member of Chefs for Humanity, has worked on a Loukoumi literacy awareness program with the National Ladies Philoptochos Society, and is a member of Kiwanis International, where he was the keynote speaker at their 2013 international convention's Faith and Humor breakfast in Vancouver, Canada. Nick is also author of the legal thriller Crimes of Fire. He currently resides in Eastchester, New York, with his wife, Voula, a real estate attorney, and their children, Dean and Julia.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the global leader in finding cures and saving children from cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude freely shares discoveries made and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists can use that knowledge to save thousands more children around the world. Unlike any other hospital, St. Jude relies on funding from the general public. As a result, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. For more information, please visit stjude.org.