Christos Boulotis, A Girl Hovers over Kerameikos. An Anti-war Story in Classical Athens, Drawings: Vassilis Papatsarouchas, PIOP Publications, Athens 2022, 56 pp. ISBN 978-960-244-224-1.

The story, published by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) in Greek is also available in English, under the title A Girl Hovers over Kerameikos. An Anti-war Story in Classical Athens.

The book, written by Christos Boulotis and illustrated by Vassilis Papatsarouchas, was published in Greek in 2011; one year later, it was awarded the State Prize for Children’s Books/Knowledge Books for Children. It is one of the most influential books published by PIOP mainly for children, since it has been a feature of literacy programmes, school libraries, educational programmes and activities.

The story of Myrtis, the young protagonist, takes place in the time of the Peloponnesian War and in particular during the great plague that ravaged Athens. The author was inspired by the discovery of a mass burial in the area of Kerameikos by archaeologist Efi Baziotopoulou in the 1990s as well as by the exhibition “Myrtis: facing the past”, scientifically curated by Professor Manolis Papagrigorakis. Christos Boulotis describes with tenderness and optimism a short life that began with games, joy and carefree fun but ended violently during the wartime, and painter V. Papatsarouchas illustrates it with drawings that reflect this very optimism.

The soul of Myrtis still “hovers” over Kerameikos, to convey to all children in the world the universal and, unfortunately, topical message of peace.