Looking for a one-way ticket to the world of imagination where your little one can discover valuable life lessons? That’s what the launch of Monika Athanasiou’s first book in Melbourne next week is all about.

Entitled I think I have swallowed butterflies, the book tells the story of a young boy who taps into his curious and inquisitive spirit to understand the world and himself.

It all starts when he visits the butterfly house at the zoo with his class. He finds it fascinating and “bursting with questions he opens his mouth, but then something surprising happens…”

Once immersed in the tale, children are invited to discover the book’s underlying message and come to a realisation about the source of emotions they might be experiencing for the first time.

“It basically says we all have butterflies in our stomach and that it’s normal,” Ms Athanasiou told Neos Kosmos.

“It gives them the message ‘don’t be afraid to be yourself, it’s okay to be shy but ask any questions you might have’.”

The story is enriched by Con Constantinou’s vibrant imagery, a collaboration the author speaks highly of, explaining she was looking for a long time for the right illustrator.

But the very idea behind it she says, was born even earlier.

“It started as a quirky poem I wrote more than 10 years ago,” she reveals. “People who read it suggested it kind of feels like a story and could be easily turned into a kids’ book.”

The book has been independently produced and published by the author’s husband and acclaimed poet within the community, George Athanasiou. Interestingly enough the initial poem helped facilitate the couple’s acquaintance.

“When I actually wrote the poem, I wanted to know more about self-publishing and this is how I met my husband. He had just published his first poetry book at that stage.”

Meanwhile, a number of groups are supporting the initiative, including the Greek Australian Cultural League, of which the author is a committee member, the Hellenic Writers Association of Australia, the Greek Community of Melbourne, the Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria “O Kolokotronis” and the Polish Literary Club.

The book will be launched by Effie Bindevis, a Greek teacher at Alphington Grammar.

The launch is scheduled to take place on Sunday 16 September at 570 Victoria St, North Melbourne, VIC at 3.00 pm. Attendance free.