Bullying plagues students in schools around the world, and now Oscar Winners Morgan Freeman, Olympia Dukakis and Oscar Nominee Nia Vardalos lead an all-star cast in the audio narration of the new book, Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully by Nick Katsoris (December 2013: Dream Day Press), which teaches kids that bullying is not cool. Proceeds from the book benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully, Loukoumi is about to have a baby brother. When her friends discuss what to name him, schoolyard bully, Igor the alligator, ridicules Loukoumi's name, which Loukoumi explains means "sweet" in Greek and is a type of jelly candy with powdered sugar on top.
During the course of the day, through several common interactions, Igor realizes that he and Loukoumi are more alike than he thought. In the end, he learns that bullying is not cool, and although Loukoumi's name is different, everyone is really all the same.
“The Loukoumi book series has long been a friend to children, opening their eyes to the world around them. This time, it provides comfort and assurance to kids who are frightened and bewildered by bullying. A worthy subject. We at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are honored to be beneficiaries of such a noble project.” Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The book includes an audio download of the story narrated by Nia Vardalos, Oscar nominated screenwriter and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and author of the bestselling book Instant Mom. 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 News anchor Alexis Christoforous as Loukoumi.
Also appearing in the book is the new character of Oinkerella the pig, which was inspired by Caila Tsamutalis, the 10 year-old winner of the Loukoumi Illuatration Contest. Sponsored by Katsoris, the contest called on young illustrators to draw a new character to be featured in Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully. Ten finalists were chosen and the winner was selected by a combination of Facebook voting and a celebrity judging panel.
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 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. The Loukoumi books have also been translated into Greek and plans are underway for a Greek-language Cookbook edition this November.
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.