About the Author
Peggy D. Sideratos
What motivated you to create the Light Giver Story books?
I love and adore children which is why I became an elementary school teacher so many years ago. Like many of you, I have seen through firsthand experience and via the many outlets of the media, how different the world is today for kids and the damage it’s creating in the lives of the youth. Although I grew up in a wonderful and supportive family, there were many lessons and insecurities that I had to work through in my adult life which were a direct result of bullying and other negative experiences I faced in my youth. Looking back, I’ve wished that I had known then, so many things that I know now. I wondered, how could I translate these lessons to children in order to help spare them some pain and make them feel better about their place in the world? That desire motivated me to create my books, The Light Giver and Other Stories to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, and The Light Giver Stories Workbook. It also motivated me to spend the past year studying Social Emotional Learning and Character Education at Rutgers University.
Tell us about your professional experience.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a seasoned elementary school teacher with over fourteen years of experience. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College, and graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Master of Science in Bilingual Elementary Education from there as well.
I first began my teaching career working at the Soterios Ellenas Greek American Parochial School where I taught Kindergarten and 6th grade. Several years later, I also served on the School Board. I also worked at PS/IS 180 in Brooklyn for ten years where I was part of the Gifted and Talented program. I taught 1st grade for 6 years, but also taught 4th and 5th grades and 7th grade Literature and Language Arts.
Some of the most rewarding experiences I had with my students during my years of teaching were working on community service projects. My students and I organized several food, clothing and toy drives for the homeless and made many memorable trips to senior citizen homes and centers in the New York area. We also created class newspapers that were sold school-wide to raise money for charities of their choice.
Are you still involved in community service?
Absolutely, as a matter of fact, a percentage of all the proceeds from the sales of the Light Giver books will be donated to Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Also, in the past five years I have been an active member of the Dafnonas Society, a not-for-profit organization that raises money for charities and individuals who need help. During that time, I have served as a Youth Coordinator, organizing events, parties, dance performances, and Christmas caroling for children ranging in age from five to twenty-one. Along with the youth in the past few years, we have raised thousands of dollars which have been donated to the Make a Wish Foundation, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Ronald McDonald House and Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.
What else can you tell us about yourself?
Home for me is Brooklyn, New York which is one of my favorite places in the world, and I am blessed to live with my incredible family and my adorable dog, Junior. But this Brooklynite also enjoys traveling to Greece in the summer and loves spending as much time as possible with friends and family in New York, Florida and Greece.
About the Illustrator
Stamatia Mavrikos was born and raised in Chios, Greece. She studied Elementary Education at Democritus University of Thrace and has worked as a teacher the past four years in Athens for Greece’s public school system. She is a self-taught artist who has used her natural talent to create murals and paintings for many businesses, local municipalities and schools. Her artwork for the Light Giver series has integrated both her passions, her love for children and her talent for the arts. Stamatia also employs her devotion for both by providing face painting services for children’s parties and events.