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 JimĂ©nez, 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

Summer Challenge Week Three: Amazing Animals!

Who doesn't love a good animal story? This week's Summer Challenge theme is Amazing Animals! This week, we encourage you to read some books about animals, both fiction and nonfiction, then get out and enjoy some animal antics together with friends or family. 

Recommended reads:

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals by Katy S. Duffield, illustrated by Mike Orodan. This book is both moving and educational, a testament to what humans can accomplish when they have a common purpose and caring hearts. 

Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abraham Lincoln by Shari Swanson, illustrated by Chuck Groenink. A charming story about Abraham Lincoln as a child and his real life hero dog.

After Dark: Poems about Nocturnal Animals by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. This book of poems is creative and educational and is pleasant to read. The illustrations are lovely too!

This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso. A truly charming and moving story inspired by a real life animal friendship. 

Ideas for things to discuss:

  • Talk about the story. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Realistic or fantastical?
  • What kind of animals do you find most amazing?
  • What kinds of animals make good pets? What might make the worst pet?
  • How can you help make the world a better place for animals? How can you start in your own back yard?
  • Did you learn something new about an animal in the book you read?
Ideas for things to do:
  • Head to the zoo!
  • Go on a neighborhood safari. Take pictures or keep a list of the animals you see.
  • Donate to an animal shelter.
  • Hang a bird feeder in your yard. Here are some DIY bird feeders kids can make on their own from LetGrow. 
  • Have an animal-themed movie night. 
  • Create some animal-inspired art, like this torn paper animal art collage from EduArt 4 Kids.
How will you celebrate Amazing Animals this week? Do you or your kids have any favorite animal books? Let us know in the comments or share on social media with #RDDSummerChallenge.