Caritas Athens

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PRESENTATION OF THE CHILDREN’S BOOK “THE SMALL I AM ME” IN THE REFUGEE LIBRARY OF CARITAS ATHENS

The presentation of Mira Lobe’s award-winning children’s book “The Little I Am Me”, illustrated by Susi Weigel and translated by Dr. Anastasia Kalantzi-Azizi, was held at the refugee library, which is housed in Patission Street, with the initiative of the Minors Integration Team of Caritas Athens.

The book, published in a special 4-language edition (Greek, German, Arabic and Farsi), was presented to the young beneficiaries of the Organization by the translator herself, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Athens, Director of the Psychological Counseling Laboratory of the University of Athens and Scientific Coordinator of the Department of Therapy for Children and Adolescents of the Institute for Research and Therapy of Behavior (IETS), which has been dealing with psychosocial issues concerning young refugees over the recent years. She was accompanied by the volunteer teacher Ms. Panorea Kotrotsou.

Narration of the fairy tale took place in Greek, Farsi and Arabic (with the help of children). In addition, the young beneficiaries painted the little ego, sang and then played experiential games.

This classic multi-translated fairy tale has won the State Children’s Literature Prize in Austria and has been released in many countries, surpassing 1,000,000 copies worldwide. It is inspiration for dozens of theatrical performances, children’s operas, animated series, psycho-educational material for teachers and children’s mental health professionals.

The story refers to a small, colorful animal walking on a blossoming meadow, suddenly faced with a frog’s question: “And who are you again?” But he does not know what to answer. So, a journey begins looking for the answer, and in the process, it asks different animals if they know who it is and if it is same as them. Dogs, horses, fish, hippopotamuses, birds deny that they are the same as the animal, some kindly and friendly, others more abruptly and arrogantly.

The animal is in a real identity crisis, but at the end it exclaims: “Sure, I exist, since I AM ME”. The little animal is happy again and enjoys the environment and the companionship of the other animals, since it is overflowing with self-confidence. The concerns that arise from this moving story of the fairy-tale hero give children the opportunity to realize their own uniqueness. “As the animal discovers himself, his self-esteem, saying “I am me” and rejoices, it emits the certainty of who knows who he is, which is reflected in its interaction with other animals. By the same procedure, children are also helped to find their identity. It is known that children are constantly comparing themselves with other peers. The fairy tale helps to strengthen themselves and promote adaptation processes. The young refugees are animated in the sense that as the hero can overcome this issue, so with a stable identity they can make it work in a foreign country …»

We must note that the Caritas Athens refugee library has been in operation since July 2017 and includes books of five languages: Arabic, Farsi, Greek, English and French, and many of them are unique in Greece. The collection of books was materialized thanks to donations from parishes, catholic schools and volunteers.