"This short book of 31 poems is illustrated and includes a supplementary Conversation Guide and Audio Recording of each poem. It is a poetry series with a child with disabilities as the central theme and ambitiously portrays his agony, happiness and intelligence."
Little Dill is a poetry series that explores the feelings and thoughts of a child with disabilities named Dill. His imagination is his ally, and within his acute mind, he creates the most wonderful friends: Jazam, Baboo, Shagrim, and the other Dill. These characters serve as friends, confidants, alter-egos, and Dill’s escape. Dill lives with his mother and grandmother and, though disabled, has an extremely playful spirit. The stories he tells include life as it is and life as he dreams and often it is difficult for the reader to decipher which is which. The mystery of reality and fantasy are intertwined in a simple story which both children and adults can enjoy. Themes delved into include serious and deep complexities such as death, bullying, friendship, fear, lying, forgiveness, and love, while at the same time dance with rather innocuous but enjoyable experiences of tasting a first Popsicle, riding in a car, and hiding from parents. Enjoy the simplicity of this series and imagine a world without sound or voice or sight and in doing so, embrace Little Dill.Gregory John Gidman
The activities are individual or small group mini-projects, including drawing, skits, and creative writing.
These questions tend to be basic and introductory, allowing the reader to better understand the specifics of the poem leading them to deeper comprehension.
This section asks questions which tend to be more reflective and profound in nature. They may or may not apply specifically to the poem.
Words to Explore
For each poem, five (5) words have been selected for readers to study and learn. Many of these words may already be known, but many will be new words for the young reader or those learning English.
At the very end of the Education Supplement there is a page entitled Additional Individual / Group Activities which provides more ideas for projects, group and class assignments and presentations.
Gregory John Gidman was born in Brentwood, Essex, UK and raised in Canada. Both of his parents were educators: his mother an elementary school teacher and father a university art professor. Though he grew up with an avid love for sports, he also played trombone in his school concert and jazz bands, wrote poetry throughout his teen and college years, performed in a college play, served as President of his Church Youth Group, and even coached varsity soccer while still in his final year of high school. For his post-secondary education, Gidman studied Physical Education and Religion at Houghton College, NY and upon graduation took his first job teaching in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He later returned to Canada to complete his Master of Arts degree at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Following a short stint in the Canadian Soccer League, he coached and taught at five universities over a span of 27 years. During three of those years he served as a Community Educator in remote Arctic communities, an experience that was the source of Gidman’s inspiration in writing the poems of Little Dill: "While living in Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean of Canada, the relationship between the isolated and disabled struck a chord with me." The high Arctic is known for its long winters, sunless days, and bitter cold and this young, helpless, and innocent child, Little Dill, feels and experiences the isolation, the aloneness, the darkness. But, the far north resurrects itself each spring. The sun rises and eventually never sets. The expectation and excitement, energy and hope, can be felt among the people, the animals, and the birds. It is this energy that bursts out and resonates in this young child named Little Dill.
Harriet Wilson is an experienced artist currently living in Jacksonville, Florida, where she paints and draws extensively. She has presented her work at art exhibits and shows in the Greater Miami and Jacksonville areas. Harriet is a proven artist, producing numerous high quality pieces depicting animals, tempestuous ocean scenes, tranquil country landscapes, and portraits. She often uses her eight children as models and gains great inspiration from capturing the memories on canvas. Harriet was approached by Mr Gidman because he wanted an artist that could offer the gentle spirit of Little Dill without it descending to the domain of comic or brash. During the development of the artwork, on one occasion, working almost continuously for 48 hours exploring ideas and creating the imaginary characters to fit the poems and capture the nature and tone of the series. It was a challenging and exciting process that ultimately met the approval of both artist and writer.
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