Spain Remembers

Spain Remembers

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Writing for a Good Cause

A stony giant sleeps forever on a rocky cliff above the cold clear waters of Lake Superior.

With this strong opening sentence, Thunder Bay writer Delores Dickey continues her story in twenty-one large- print pages. Each page ends with a prompt: “next reader please.”

To this day he is an awesome sight, clearly visible across the harbour from the city of Thunder Bay. Sometimes, he is highlighted by sun and shadow, but he can be wrapped in ribbons of mist or covered by a blanket of snow.

The Sleeping Giant; A Legend of the Canadian North is a very special book as are the others in the series of books written for a dynamic program called Montessori Methods for Dementia. In Canada, the program is based at the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster. The program uses Montessori techniques and activities in long term care settings. The format of the books— large print, one paragraph a page, colour-coded covers, easy to turn pages— has been well tested at the centre. Patients use the books to read aloud to others or to read by themselves and the topics are designed to generate reminiscence and discussion.

Delores has authored three other books for the series, each one a marvel of delightful, strong, compact prose. Our Gracious Queen gives us the life of Queen Elizabeth in twenty succinct pages. In Starting School, Delores recalls her own excitement on the first day. Special Peach Preserves, my favourite, starts with a model first sentence: This is a story about making peach jam with my grandmother. Lovers of good sentences can find a lot of pleasure in Delores’ books. The fruit is just right when it is a bit soft and the skin has a fuzzy feeling. If you handle a lot of peaches, the fuzz can make you itchy.

Author Delores (Del) Dickey is a person of many interests including teaching, writing, music, and local history. Anyone interested in the books or the program Montessori Methods for Dementia can check it out at

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