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Children's Book Author Makes Dreams Come True









Children's Book Author Makes Dreams Come True

By Miles Doyle, FCRH 01

Children's book author Nick Katsoris (right) helped give contest winner Lionel Li the chance to play soccer with Chris Leitch of the New York Red Bulls at the team's practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J.
Photo courtesy of Nick Katsoris
Nick Katsoris (CBA ’88, LAW ’91) makes dreams come true.

The children’s book author recently gave three lucky kids the chance to spend a day living out their dream careers as part of a promotion for his self-published book, Growing Up with Loukoumi (NK Publications, 2006), the story of a young lamb who can't figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. (Loukoumi is Greek for “sweet.”)

Katsoris, a New York-based attorney and entertainment editor for the Hellenic Times newspaper, was inspired to hold the contest because of the positive feedback he received for his first book, Loukoumi (NK Publications, 2005).

“I wanted to give something back,” said Katsoris, a father of one. “I want [kids] to know that they can be anything they want to be. If that's the one thing they take away from reading the book, that’s perfectly fine with me.”

Growing Up With Loukoumi, which iParenting Media named one of the best books of 2007, teaches children that any goal is attainable—as long they are willing to work for it. To underline this, Katsoris set up 200 contests in schools, libraries and bookstores across the country, asking children first to draw a picture of themselves with Loukoumi in their future career and then complete the following sentence: “I want to be a ______ because ...”

Of the original entries, 20 national finalists were selected, and Katsoris, along with a panel of celebrity judges, including disco queen Gloria Gaynor, Oscar Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, CBS news correspondent Alexis Chistoforous, former American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis and actor Frank Dicopoulos, selected the three lucky winners.

This past May, Katsoris accompanied a 9-year-old Long Island girl to the NASA Jet Propulsion lab in Pasadena, Calif., to watch the Phoenix Lander touch down on Mars. The second winner, an 8-year-old boy from New York City, got to take the pitch with the New York Red Bulls at their training facility at Giants Stadium.

Later this summer, another young girl will get to live out her dream on television with acclaimed chef Tony Tantillo from CBS Channel 2 News in New York. Later, she will attend a taping of the Rachael Ray show.

“It's really rewarding to give a positive message to kids and give them a chance to do something special," Katsoris said. "To see [my books] grow and reach kids has been an amazing experience. It just goes to show you that a simple message can mean a lot to a lot of people.”

—Miles Doyle, FCRH '01, is the associate editor of FORDHAM magazine.


 

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