Stories with notes and letters - Wishevoke

Stories with notes and letters

A woman who is much more than just the niece of the late Mikis Theodorakis, who encouraged her to play the piano at the age of five.

Maro Theodoraki believes that many generations of children have been raised and educated on fairy tales that are obsessively didactic and often have an ominous ending. She, who in a few days will publish her 60th – and extremely interesting – book entitled “Musical stimuli for babies”She wants a child to feel complete and happy when they finish reading one of her books.

Without the heavy shadow of an evil dragon or a hungry wolf haunting his dreams. Although she is a prolific and prolific writer, her main professional expertise actually lies in music. As a pianist, composer, singing and speech teacher and drama school teacher, Theodoraki embodies in a way the essence of her family roots.

“The children’s book is a world I created, a refuge that I of course still need”

She lived until she was 9 years old between the strokes of her journalistic parents’ typewriters, while the music and her uncle’s presence were crucial – he also pushed her parents to buy her her first piano and to start taking lessons at the age of five. Her dual professional status is most clearly expressed in the show that will be performed in a few days at the Katerina Vasilakou Theater.

Maro Theodoraki adapted her book series “I Love the World” into a play for children, composed the music and directed Anastasis Deligiannis. But the reason for this discussion is the book about dyslexia that was published a few weeks ago, which for the first time is aimed at children who are dealing with it and not at their parents.

GALA: Your latest book is called A Strange Lady Called Dyslexia.

MARO THEODORAKI: It is a book for young age groups – 4 to 8 years old. The reason for this was that too many books were written aimed at parents of children suffering from dyslexia. However, they do not exist for the children themselves. That’s why I wanted the children who face this learning difficulty and their friends, all children, to learn what it is but also to understand the respect we should have for all diversity.

I suppose you will remember, my dear, that in the old days the dyslexic was the lazy one, the evasive one, the careless one, the one who didn’t try. People have a tendency to label. But labeling stays with a child throughout their adult life.

G: How did you end up writing books for children instead of adults – which would probably be easier?

M.Th: I find it much more difficult to write for adults. The children’s book is a world I created, a refuge that I still need, of course. I like this world, I lock myself in it and no one bothers me. And it’s an amazing way to teach big things and meaning to young children. In any case, the reason for writing my first book in 1999 had to do with my musical quality.

I was teaching at a conservatory at the time and wanted to find a way to make learning music fun for children. So I created a family, Paramythada, with notes. They were Grandfather Do, Grandmother Re, their cousin Mi and they all lived together in a beautiful five-story house called the Pentagram.
In fact, the foreword to this book was written by my Uncle Mikis. But writing was always an incentive in our house; my parents were journalists.

G.: So you were one of those kids who wrote down their thoughts in a diary?

M.Th: We didn’t have an internet bombardment today. What did we have? Two TV channels, radio and lots of books. Until my parents divorced, when I was 8-9 years old, I remember myself by the sound of their typewriters. In summer we read books on our vacation. The truth is that I also kept a diary. Especially after my parents divorced. Maybe it was a way to express my feelings. I also identified to some extent with Anne Frank. I had read her book three times. Writing came into my life quite effortlessly.


G: I wonder if it’s more important to win over the children or the parents who buy the book for the child?

M.Th: It’s 50-50. My audience is children, but no child goes alone to buy a book. He goes with his parents. And often the criterion for both children and parents is the cover, not even the text you wrote. So the first step is the parent and the next step is the child. What interests me is that the child reads one of my books and feels comfortable reading it. I want to pass on messages, but I don’t want to wave fingers. After all, so many others do it in their daily lives.

G: Can a book hold the attention of a child who is bombarded with countless stimuli via screens?

M.Th: It is difficult. But children are the mirror of their parents. If mom and dad don’t read, the child will never read. If a parent spends fifteen hours in front of a screen, so will he. I absolutely believe it. Parents or people who take care of us in the first five years of our life are our first teachers. Then comes school and the social environment.

G: So your own environment played a role in your decision to pursue music at a young age?

M.Th: The great and important thing for me was that my Uncle Mickey pushed my parents to get me a piano when I was 5 years old. This is how my musical journey began. And I am a blessed man for that. So we started studying piano with my brother from a teacher at home, but later I took the exams at the Athens Conservatory. I remember Uncle Mikis was also there, it was very emotional. For me, music became a form of expression. I came home from school happy and sat down at the piano, I came back sad and went back to the piano.

G: What did you play back then, do you remember?

M.Th: I liked Bach, as did my father, who was my first music fan. I always had very good hearing, so I could play anything I heard. My uncle’s music, Hadjidaki’s songs that I loved, but also Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd. I remember a well-known pianist who we visited together at the Athens Conservatory and who asked me: “Hey, my child, how do you play Hadjidakis so well, can you bring me your sheet music?” “No,” I answered him, ” because I play it by ear.” My uncle had the perfect ear. I remember one time he came home and asked me what I was learning on the piano. I was 10 years old. I showed him the music, he picked it up and started singing the music. Then I realized how unique this man was. Until then he was just my uncle.

G: Are you still making music?

M.Th: Naturally. Both inside and outside the course. Especially when we meet friends at home. The repertoire begins with Theodorakis and we reach Tsitsanis.

G: Do you have a favorite song of your uncle?

M.Th: My father and my uncle had written very beautiful songs together. But I will talk about the “beautiful city”. A song that has left an impression on me because it refers to the old town of Chania, where I spent all my childhood summers. Mickey’s music and my father’s lyrics defined me.

G: Are you very good at something else?

M.Th: What can I say; If I feel like it, I can bake a very nice pastry. But because I have a very good partner – he’s a husband, but I don’t like the word because we have camaraderie between us – who cooks just as well, I’ve been letting him do a bit lately.

G: After spending a lifetime doing it, what is music to you?

M.Th: I have been surrounded by a piano since I was 5 years old. For me there is nothing without music. It’s a way of life, a life lesson, a companionship, it’s everything with my family. As a child of divorced parents, I wanted to start my own family from a very early age. That’s why I often said no to very big jobs that were offered to me. For example, I never messed up on Sundays or public holidays because family came first.

G: Do you regret it?

M.Th: Of course not. Are you all right; These remain in life. A hug with family and the pastries we talked about before.

“I started playing the piano at home with a teacher and then took the exams at the Athens Conservatory. Uncle Mikis was also there, it was very touching.”

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