I am so honored of reviewing the first children’s book in Greece which is currently the only one that refers to breastfeeding and weaning, under the title “One Last Pearl” for the Multicultural Children’s Book Day! #ReadyourWorld #Mcbd
I’m reviewing this book as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/23) in its 10th Year Anniversary. This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
So, let me introduce you to Greek author Marina Ploumpi, and her book “One Last Pearl” , by Sweet Serendipities
“One Last Pearl”, By Greek author Marina Ploumpi, Illustrated by Irini Thanou, Published by Sweet Serendipities, A picture book in Greek for ages 2+
A summary of the book – Back cover blurb
Since she was a baby, Sophia has been enjoying drinking her mommy’s milk. Now, however, she has grown, and apart from milk, she eats delicious foods, fruit, and vegetables. At night she wakes, wanting mommy’s milk to drink. But one day, mommy said to her “Wait, better to sing a song, I think”. Sophia was very upset, The milk she could not forget. And so, with mommy, she made a deal, For her and her pearly meal.
A children’s book that refers to the extremely important and sensitive (both for the child and the mother) period of weaning toddlers. It is a difficult “separation”, which signals the start of a new, more independent time for the child.
“No moralizing, as it should be, no guilt. Marina bursts into kidlit with a smile.” Andromache Kallivrousi, educator (@big_mama_paidagogoi)
“It creates a new shelf in the bookstore”. Dimitra Peppa, of LittleBook bookstore in Halandri, Athens
“This book didn’t exist and it was needed.” Sofia Koumadoraki, of The Little Train bookstore in Chania, Crete.
“Shall I read you my favourite book, Mommy?” Myrto, aged 3
As we all know, weaning is a difficult and long journey full of ups and downs, setbacks and mixed emotions both for the mother and the child, too. “One Last Pearl” prepares them without shaking their relationship of trust and love created through breastfeeding, to go onto the next level. Undoubtedly, the author Marina Ploumpi, touches on this significant period of weaning with absolute respect and sensitivity to this one-of-a-kind relationship, managing to prepare the mother and the child psychologically for a smooth weaning without dramas. The author, using the technique of poetic flow in her book, harmoniously combined Irini’s Thanou wonderful illustrations, touching with sensitivity and empathy, the mother and the child, leading them to autonomy gradually. The illustrator, Irini Thanou, depicts this journey, in a unique way.
We have to underline that this book has been given to: psychologists, consultants in breastfeeding, dieticians, and nutritionists specializing in nutrition support, pregnant women and nursing mothers, educators, breastfeeding mothers, to be evaluated before final publishing.
The vocabulary of the book is rich without being difficult for a 2-year-old child.
The illustrations, by Irini Thanou , are realistic, vivid and with a lot of Montessori’s elements.
I have to say that my favorite part of the book is the last phrase – which refers only to the mothers. In just one sentence the author understands the emotions a mother has either she wants to wean or not and says go on, there are plenty of joys coming.
In an interview when the author was asked about that last particular sentence, she replied “When I wrote those last words, that last sentence, I wrote it for me. I was crying at that moment because the time for weaning my first child had come and I was not prepared emotionally for it.”
It is no coincidence that “One Last Pearl” was sold out within six months and reprinted, right away. It immediately touched our hearts and earned its place in Greek libraries. I would definitely recommend this book to mothers who want to wean as it is a wonderful book, full of emotions.
“One Last Pearl”, soon will be published in English. We look forward to seeing also new editions in other languages such as French, Italian, Spanish and German.
A few more info . . .
In the last page of the book, the author gives us very important information which I refer below.
- Note: The World Health Organisation and the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. After six months, breastfeeding should continue until at least 2 years old (and beyond), with the gradual addition of solid foods. (Source: www.who.int & www.aap.org)
- Author also refers for valid information and support on breastfeeding issues La Leche League International (and local) https://www.llli.org/
Closing with author’s phrase, with which I completely agree!
“Let’s not forget that breastfeeding is a sacred and precious act – how long it lasts, a long or short time, concerns only the child and the mother, only those two!”
Let’s meet the author
Marina Ploumpi was born and raised in Athens. Her subject of studies was Tourist Business and for fourteen years, she worked in tourist offices in Athens as a travel agent. Since her earliest days, she remembers herself either curled up in an armchair with a book, or bent over sheets of paper writing stories. Moving abroad gave her the trigger to change direction and follow her passion: writing. She went back to university to study Creative Writing, with some of her texts receiving recognition in literary competitions, and others being published in anthologies. “The Last Pearl” is both her first children’s book, and the first children’s book in Greece on the topic of gentle weaning of toddlers (first edition: November 2021). In June 2022 her second children’s book followed, entitled “We All Sleep at Night!”, on the topic of night weaning and night waking up. She is member of SCBWI, CYBBY, GREEK IBBY, MCBD-U.S. and Ambassador for Greece in Read to me Day- Australia. She is the founder of the initiative-event entitled “Greece, Storytelling Paths” the aim of which is equal opportunities -such as interactive storytelling-for all children and not only for children living in urban centers. Her vision is the spreading of the Action in remote schools of Greece and in schools of the diaspora; creating in this way another path that will unite all Greek children by conveying a strong message. “Equal opportunities in culture for all children”.
For more details, you could visit her online:
Facebook: Marina Pl
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