- by Eleni Karvounari
They say that the best judges are always children. My twenty years of experience in schools has proven this to me. The reason; But because they have a clear mind and a clear heart in approaching things. That's why I chose, when I was asked to review the book Shipwrecked in Meteora by Giorgos Antonakis, to read it to my nine-year-old son Leontios so that I could have, alongside my own perspective, that of a child.
Even though the book is aimed at older children, Leontios loved it. The castaways in Meteora were our daily company without fail for two weeks. The story is simple. Three children are trapped in Meteora and try to survive. The fact that we are given information about an existing space is remarkable. Leontius liked the story "built" in Meteora so much, that by the end of the reading it was typical of him to visit them.
The time period of the story is one week. However, the author, with his excellent penmanship and magical pen, manages to take us on a journey with the details that color his speech, stretching time. The book looks like a child's diary. But the greatest advantage of the author's writing is the challenge and undiminished maintenance of interest from the beginning to the end of the book. Imaginatively, the reader's anxiety, both mine and the child's, escalated incrementally. New faces and elements, as the story unfolds, appear and make it more interesting.
Another element that cannot go unnoticed while reading the book is the vocabulary used. It is obvious that the author is addressing children, using words that belong to the modern vocabulary of teenagers. And this is actually very clever, because it is a way to make the text familiar and more enjoyable for children of this age to read. Additionally, many of their experiences are included in it. Also, the author's speech is so descriptive that it brings the images to life and therefore the illustration is limited and unnecessary.
But the greatest advantage of the author's writing is the challenge and undiminished maintenance of interest from the beginning to the end of the book.
The most important of all the positive elements of the book are the messages it gives. After many hardships and adventures, the story is given a happy ending. Messages of a theological nature lurk scattered throughout the text, such as loving our enemies, helping even those who mistreat us, the power of love that overcomes all fear, the existence of good elements within every human being, the virtues of patience and cooperation which help to achieve the goals, messages-guides of life for each of us.
So, if you are looking for both your child and yourself a good company for the days of this summer by the sea or for the nights of the coming winter next to the fireplace, I unreservedly recommend The Shipwrecked in Meteora by Giorgos Antonakis.
[Eleni Karvounari is a kindergarten teacher, theologian and writer.]
Shipwrecked in Meteora
illustration: Christos Gousidis