Dimitri - posted on 01/06/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )
As seen in the Los Gatos Weekly http://www.mercurynews.com/community/ci_..., Santa Clara Magazine Volume 50 Number 3 Winter 2008 and January 2009 Bay Area Parent and seen on KRON Channel 4 December 13, 2008
16 Datchworth Turn
As a child, I was introduced to travel through my parents and it is that spirit of adventure that has stayed with me always. My father is a retired employee of United Airlines and my fondest memories as a child were discovering new parts of the world – on the United companion passes – with my entire family. Little did I know that my parents’ love for travel and adventure would be something that I passed on to my own children! Given that I was born in England and immigrated to the US at the age of three, you could say that travel was in my blood. In fact, after completing my Master’s in Education degree at Santa Clara University in 1999, I started teaching two subjects at Santa Teresa High School that really caught my passion; Geography and World History.
My two older boys, Chace and Christopher, also explored many parts of the world with me during their junior-high and high-school years. Our greatest adventure came on a six-week backpacking tour through Europe, where we visited family and friends as we crisscrossed the countries while staying in hostels and making every day’s destination a new adventure. Both Chace and Christopher went through Los Gatos schools and, in fact, they both live overseas right now; Chace is currently in the Army and serving his country in Iraq (he previously lived four years in Sardinia, Italy while stationed with the Navy) and Christopher graduated from college last year and is currently living his dream of playing professional basketball in Siegen, Germany.
When my husband and I were blessed with Dimitri’s arrival in January 2004, it was clear that he wasn’t going to live a ‘normal’ life by any means. He took his first plane ride at three months old, made his first international trip at eight months old and, in fact, even took his first steps while visiting his cousin who was living in Holland at the time. Between then and now – at the ripe age of four -- he has visited 10 foreign countries and six US states with his parents.
While traveling through Europe in 2005, I started taking pictures of Dimitri in front of landmarks in the various places that we visited. Whether we were at the Acropolis in Athens, in front of the Goudy architecture in Barcelona or visiting Big Ben in London, Dimitri was always a very willing participant in taking pictures for his Mom. When we arrived back home after that trip – we were gone a total of 57 days and had visited six countries during our journey – I started researching the process of writing my own book. As I did my research, I realized that there weren’t any books on the market that brought together a love for adventure, Geography, World History and targeted all of this information to children. I really wanted to see real life in the children’s books I was reading to Dimitri. Although I enjoy illustration, I wanted Dimitri to know what the Eiffel Tower really looked like, wanted him to experience a real Van Gogh painting and to see historical places like the Parthenon up close. I wanted real people and real places in the books and I wanted my readers to understand the difference between real and cartoon-like figures. Since I was unable to find these qualities in children’s books, my husband and I decided to use Dimitri as the metaphor for showing other kids that travel could be fun for kids and to prove that if Dimitri can do it, they could too!
The resulting books – known as the “Dimitri Discovers” series – are meant to show young children that the world is a big place and that it is theirs to explore. The book series is designed to be utilized for ‘guided learning’ wherein an adult would read the book to the child, show Dimitri in various activities and encourage the child to ask questions and learn through Dimitri’s discoveries. Dimitri Discovers is a wonderful book for ages 2-10 and although the photographs with titles can be read easily to a toddler, preschool- and kindergarten-age children love finding the photographs of Dimitri on all the pages. 1st through 3rd-graders will truly enjoy the rhythmic tones from Dimitri’s captions. And the “Did you know?” is an element the older children love to know and quiz their parents.
To date – one month shy of his 5th birthday -- Dimitri has already been to Czech Republic, England (three times!), France, Holland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho and Utah. All of these books are completed and I am waiting to see if there is a market for me to continue.
Dimitri thinks travel is something we just do. He knows what to take, how to pack, getting through security, planning for play on the plane, and understands ‘wait’. He thinks it is great that he is in a book; at first he was uneasy with other people taking the book but then he caught on and at his first book signing he was all smiles and very happy to write his own name.
Although travel is something that Dimitri does with his parents, my husband and I truly hope it is something he continues to do for his entire life. By doing so, discovery will become something that Dimitri *IS*, not just something he does.
Dimitri Discovers is a learning and adventure book series. Dimitri is a real boy, meeting new people, seeing new places, and learning new things. Dimitri is bright, terribly cute, adventures, fun, lovable and he loves to read books! As you know, reading books is an important element in any child's development. Reading will help young children expand their knowledge and their understanding of our world and enhances their imagination.
Dimitri Discovers offers the reader an opportunity to join him in the next adventure of our world. When you purchase the book there are directions at the end of the story on how to enter a writing contest. View the winners from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire in Dimitri Discovers England. Your students will be eligible to write to me and enter to be in Dimitri Discovers NorCal.
Dimitri Discovers is a one of a kind! And an excellent way to see the world with children. Want your children to learn about new places? Going on a holiday or planning a trip? Then Dimitri Discovers is for you! Dimitri Discovers England is a refreshing reminder of England's historical and beautiful points of interest.
The foreword is written by David Lepper Member of Parliament, Emma Thompson’s nephews, Ernie and Walter, have the book, Seal and Heidi's children, Leni, Henry and Johan, as well as, Gold Medal Olympic Winner Christine Ohuruogu. I would love the opportunity to come to your classroom, read with your students and perhaps even sell a few books. Please let me know if you might be interested in a classroom visit.
Author of Dimitri Discovers England
3254 Lynn Oaks Drive
San Jose California