Short biography  

Sophia Madouvalou, dreaming, writing and acting for more than three decades to create a better self and a better world, has played a very active part both in the fields of children’s literature and education. Born in Athens in 1949, she early on made two inseparable friends: Imagination and Humour. Her studies in developmental psychology, educational technology and film directing helped her realize that without humour, imagination and creative expression, education cannot mould and shape creative and happy people.

Over the many years she has written for children and worked in Educational RadioTelevision promoting children’s literature in schools with more than100 programmes, she has succeeded in combining the imaginary and real elements of life, mixing the visionary with the everyday. From her first illustrated book, DoReMiFaSolLaSi (Mrs Music’s Little House, 1982) till the most recent, The Butterfly Garden (2013), her contribution to children’s literature has numbered some 70 titles. Her work has won awards both in Greece and abroad and has been translated into English, Chinese (Taiwan), and Korean. Her Greek educational animated series A Letter, A Story, which has won several awards and is based on her 24 verse stories (e-book), is widely used in elementary schools to promote oral and written language development as well as creative expression. The programme, produced by the Ministry of Education, is broadcast on public television and by satellite (ERT WORLD) with English subtitles. It is widely used by Greek communities and schools in Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Australia, the U.S.A., Kuwait and South Africa. She was invited by the University of Crete to write the script of the prize-winning educational CD-ROM for the teaching of Greek as a second language, Diagoras in Olympia (1999). Her story Dura Matsuka (The Invisible Evil) (feature in the Greek Unicef collective publication, Sept. 2013) on children’s right to live in a clean and safe environment, has formed the basis for her two social activism projects Earth’s Quilt and A Ball of Story Threads which run nationwide for many years. In addition she has published poetry and novels for adults and has written Animation vs Dramatic Representation in Teaching Greek Mythology (1977) and Contemporary Education and Television (1984). Her wish to bring children closer to literature very often brings her into schools and close contacts with educators.

She has also participated in many reading programmes both within and outside Greece in Hellenic communities in Europe, Australia, Egypt and Cyprus under the auspices of the National Book Centre and through University, and school invitations. She has also participated in teacher training programmes on innovative teaching methods (creative writing, use of literature as a tool for interdisciplinary approaches to learning, digital application of poetry for language development) and has been a guest author at numerous master class seminars, festivals, fairs, and workshops both in Greece and abroad. Extracts from her work are included in the Greek state primary school anthology and adaptations have been performed in Athens and other cities (The Teacher Whose Head Became a Saucepan, Once There was  ...  a Somersault, Riko Kokoriko, Rosy-Rose’s Fibbing Mirror). Her story in verse, Riko Kokoriko was included in the European Union Socrates-Comenius programme Literature as a Means of Multicultural Education to Fight Xenophobia and Racism. She has served as a jury member both for the State Literature Award for children and for the assessment of books submitted to the Greek section of IBBY.

She has contributed to literary journals and newspapers with articles on children’s literature. With her close friends and collaborators, Imagination, Humour and Surrealism, Sophia Madouvalou uses her keen observation of contemporary society to write books with a sense of freedom at their core, books that free children from the boredom and inflexibility of stereotyped thinking and offer them the means to think, feel and speak up for a better world.