Originally published in Compass, March 20, 2014
Penobscot author introduces students to poet Emily Dickinson
Penobscot resident E.H. Gerard weaves the poetry of Emily Dickinson and time travel into her new release for middle school readers.
Penobscot author E.H Gerard recently announced the release of her first book for middle grade readers, Dear Emily, published by Maine Authors Publishing. In Dear Emily, fourth grader Billy sneaks letters from his classmates to Emily Dickinson, a famous 19th century poet, into a secret time machine. The “Silver Cloud with the emerald eye” floats into Dickinson’s home filled with letters and chocolate chip cookies from the students. Happy to communicate, Dickinson writes back to each child, answering questions on poetry, life in the 19th century, and even sends her famous black cake.
Gerard discovered Dickinson’s work while studying for her B.A. at Goddard College, according to a news release announcing the book’s publication. Gerard admired Dickinson’s poetry for its originality, her independent nature and the “voice” in her letters. In order to bring Dickinson to students in middle school, Gerard interacted with fourth through sixth grade teachers and students. Teachers have expressed great enthusiasm for Dear Emily and the way it is written in the form of letters between the students and Dickinson.
Through this book, parents and teachers will find a simple way to introduce children to this famous poet. “I love the power of letters as a meeting of minds and experiences. This book is easy to use for reader’s theater, and is wonderful as a context for discussing Dickinson’s poetry. This is a true introduction to one of our important poets,” said Scott Springer, a teacher at the Bay School in Blue Hill.
Gerard has been an editor for a hospital newsletter and freelance journalist for newspapers in Maine and Massachusetts. When not writing, she works as a certified legal nurse consultant at a Bangor law firm.