- Series: Greek Around The House (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Grammatakia Publishers; 1st edition (2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0646952811
- ISBN-13: 978-0646952819
- Package Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greek Salad Hardcover – 2016
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Today is Sofia’s nameday and her cousins are coming to visit. She has to prepare a salad, but all the ingredients are busy in the Olympic games! Can she and Artemis her cat make the salad in time? The Greek Salad is an adventure in the kitchen that teaches kids their first Greek words using fun stories, characters and games. By placing the included stickers in your kitchen, you can continue the lesson and effortlessly integrate Greek into your child’s life. Written inline in English, Greek and Greeklish, no knowledge of Greek is needed for a parent to read the story in Greek to their children, and as the child grows into being able to read themselves, they can also discover the language without prior knowledge of the Greek alphabet https://www.youtube.com/embed/wnkBiKvscSE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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The Greek Salad has a beautiful cover and sewn binding, not glued. The paper is thick, and the colors are vibrant. So many times, material for second-language learners just falls behind when it comes to art. I’ve seen drawings that look 100 years old, pixelated drawings, drawings that have no personality to them. This first Sofia and Artemis book is very pleasing to look at! The lines are smooth, the style is consistent. The characters have engaging expressions. Children can do a seek-and-find to look for characters from the Grammatakia series.
This book works for any parent who wants to pass on the Greek language to their child, but I think its true value is for the first or second generation parent who isn’t fluent, but still wants to pass on his or her heritage. Most immigrant families lose their language by the third generation; it’s a struggle to hold onto it when you don’t have a place to use it, and media to watch and read is a part of that. My husband and I go to a lot of effort to find Greek-language books for our sons, but I’m reaching a point where the books they want to listen to are above my comprehension level, and it’s difficult to spend time with a dictionary just to prep for storytime. This would also be ideal for the American parent who has married into the Greek culture. I know many moms and dads who work very hard to teach their children the words they know in Greek, but it’s difficult for them to read most Greek books quickly enough to keep their children’s interest, or they feel shy about stumbling over words.
So the first line on every page is in English, the second is Greek, and the third is Greek phonetics (what this Australian company calls Greeklish, but that has a different connotation here in the States). Stresses/accents are indicated by underlining in the phonetics. The words on each line are color-coded, so that you can understand which words correspond to each other even when sentence structure puts them in a different order (check out my picture for a visual on this). If you don’t know a word, you just look down. This ALSO means that you could technically read it in English and just substitute key words, if you wanted to work up to reading the whole book in Greek.
One thing that really surprised me was the diversity in cast. We’ve all grown up with the Greek textbooks that have one type of person: light-skinned with dark curly hair and dark eyes. Many Greeks do look like that, of course, including members of my family, but so many don’t! When the cousins show up to Sofia’s house, we see a double-page spread that is DIVERSE. They have children of every height, skin color, eye color, and hair color. They have a wide range of facial features, of clothing styles, and of interests! They have girls in pants and boys with earrings. They aren’t stereotyped according to their skin. This may sound obvious (and should be), but we all know children’s literature being published today that isn’t up to these standards.
After the story comes a list of food vocabulary words and a creative approach to a pronunciation guide. Each phoneme is explained by giving an example English word (for example, the sound of zeta is in Zebra). For the more unique Greek sounds, they offer 2 sounds to try to combine together (for gamma, they suggest y+g). I haven’t seen this approach before, and I like it—for people who haven’t spoken Greek, it can be difficult to imagine what sound we’re going for, and these descriptions are a creative way to approximate them. (There ARE a few sounds that my midwesterner accent would pronounce differently from how their pronunciation guide suggests (iota being in “era,” which I pronounce “aire-ah”, and omicron and omega as “hot,” which I pronounce with the same ah as in father) but I had no problems reading accurately by looking straight at the phonetics in the text.)
The book comes with 2"x2” glossy stickers of the foods mentioned in the book, intended to be placed in your kitchen cabinets where those foods belong. Each has Greek and phonetics on it.
Nothing is perfect, and there are a few things I would prefer changed. I like to see everything with a long E sound represented by one letter (i is the easiest). There are one or two places where this book uses “ee” as well as “i”. It’s still readable, but something that pops out to me. I’d also prefer to see a change with how delta is represented. It has the hard TH sound, as in “there,” and I feel that it’s much more clear if you write it in-text with “dh” as a visual reminder to the reader, so that someone reading straight from the phonetics will be able to sound it out accurately.
I’d also prefer commas to be used in the English imperative sentences (Stop, tomato; come on, cucumber). Comma usage is different in English and Greek, and it’s jarring to see English using the Greek rules!
Overall, I’d consider it an excellent choice, and it may be the only choice I’ve seen for second-language learner homes that acknowledges the necessity of phonetics. It’s an engaging little book with funny characters and well-executed drawings.
I received an advance copy of this book for review.
The story is cute and can be read in Greek, English and Greek phonetics in English (so a non-Greek speaker can read the story in Greek using English!). I thought this was a great feature of the book because we are in the US and some people do not regularly write or read Greek even though they speak it. It also comes with a stack of Greek alphabet cards.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next books in the series!