Read, Discuss, and Do with MARI IN THE MARGINS

By Marci Whitehurst The best books make readers feel like they aren’t alone. They’re seen. Understood. Our very own  Rebecca J. Gomez  accomplishes this flawlessly in Mari in the Margins , her new middle grade novel in verse, published by Bandersnatch Books. It releases May 14 th !  Here’s a snippet about the novel, which you’ll surely want to READ:   For Marivel Jiménez, life in her big family is full of chaos. Feeling overlooked by her parents and overshadowed by her siblings is frustrating, and it's even worse to have the constant attention of her annoying, mischievous three-year-old sister, Susana.  Caught between her need to be noticed and her dream of having time to herself, Marivel pours herself into poetry and, eventually, art journaling. When she hears of a school-wide poetry contest, she sees winning as a chance to escape the margins of her family and finally be seen. Doesn’t that sound amazing? That’s because it is. I was honored to read the book ahead of its release—and



By Mindy Baker

The Twelve Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Jake Parker is a playful story that will spark your child’s creativity. With only two weeks before Christmas, Santa’s sleigh needs some repairs. The elves decide to have a build-off competition to see who can create the best new design. They teams work feverishly with pulleys, levers, gizmos, and gadgets, and Santa has trouble choosing between the dragster, the big rig, the floating ship, and many other fabulous designs. In the end, nothing is quite as right as his own restored classic sleigh. This book is a perfect choice for all those future engineers, and is the perfect spark for a day of inventive play. 

READ: The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker 



  • What was your favorite sleigh that the elves built?  

  • What did you like about it? 

  • Do you like to build and create things?  

  • What is something that you have created? 

  • How do you feel when you make something unique? 


DO: Make a Sleigh 


You will need:  

  • A small cardboard box 

  • Two candy cane shaped tubes  

  • Wrapping paper 

  • Tape 

  • Scissors 


Optional: Stickers or other decorations to give your sleigh a unique style. You can also add stuffed animals to either ride in or pretend to pull the sleigh. 

  1. Cut the box into a sleigh shape and wrap with wrapping paper.  

  2. Tape the candy cane tubes onto the bottom of the box to form the “runners.” 

  3. Decorate your sleigh into your own unique “style.”