Born in Athens, Mania Douka studied education in Athens and England. She taught at Arsakeion, Athens College and the Hellenic College of London.
She loved reading stories from a very young age. Early in her teaching career, she realized that storytelling can assume centre stage in the learning process, across subjects.
This teaching process was the inspiration for complementary educational material she created for the classic children’s book “Trelantonis” by Penelope Delta, published by Hestia Publishers.
A sabbatical gave her the chance to go to Paris in order to follow seminars on Museum Education. The “Atelier des Enfants”, at Centre Georges Pompidou, opened up new horizons. At the Petit Palais museum, she followed a program animated by a storyteller. She started to experiment with the idea of giving life to artifacts.
Very quickly she managed to develop her own style of presenting educational material for numerous museums in Greece: the Athens City Museum, Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, Pierides Museum, and Kifissia Archeological Collection. She then embarked on her first literary project, the writing of “Journey to Cyprus”. Later, in 1999, came the book “The Clay Spindle-Wheels: 8 Stories”, which was received with great enthusiasm, as it was fully aligned with what children were learning in the schools’ History curriculum. They learnt about prehistoric times through museum artifacts, which she transformed into narrative heroes, and went to the museums to actually ‘meet’ them. A visit to a museum could be fun.
Then came “The Castaway of Glafki”, in which unpublished material from an underwater excavation – kindly given by the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology – was used. (Both books include a CD with narration).
In 2004 she published “Myrsene and the Sacred Goose”, which is about the famous sculpture collection of the National Greek Archaeological Museum. The collection is unique in its importance and consists of original ancient sculptures.
In order to be able to reach a wider audience of young learners, she also wrote and developed educational material for the teaching of Literature and History to bilingual pupils.
The A.G. Leventis Foundation has sponsored the publication of her books about Cypriot Antiquities: “Journey to Cyprus”, a book about Cypriot antiquities in the British Museum; “Once upon a Time, an Angel …”, about Cypriot Byzantine frescoes; and “Les Deux Enigmes du Sphinx”, about the Cypriot collection of the Louvre. Her book “With the Wings of the Kingfisher”, which features parts of the Metropolitan Museum Cypriot collection, was distributed to primary schools by the Cyprus Ministry of Education.
“Philip and the Magic Castanets” received the prize of the “Greek Children Book Circle” (IBBY GREEK SECTION) in 2011. The heroes of “The Little Griffin in the Acropolis Museum”, are works of art of the Archaic Gallery exhibited in the New Acropolis Museum. Both books are currently available at the Museum shop.
Mania Douka lives in Athens, has two children and three grandchildren. Her elder grandchildren are heroes in her book “Les Deux Enigmes du Sphinx”.