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

Eight Tips for Helping Young Readers Bloom

Spring is here, so many people are planning and prepping to work in their gardens. In many places, spring flowers are already blooming or daffodils and other spring bulbs are poking up out of the warming soil. Given the right conditions and care, gardens can be thriving, vibrant places full of life. And the same is true for young readers! So, to celebrate spring and gardens and reading, here are ten tips to help your young readers bloom and thrive, along with some garden photos for some garden inspiration.

1. Just like flowers, budding readers blossom in their own time. Encourage them, but let them grow at their own pace.

2. Gardens need the right nutrients to grow, and this can vary depending on the plant. The same is true for young readers. Fertilize young readers minds with consistent, nutrient-rich mind food. In other words, offer a variety of books! But remember, not all growing readers will respond to the same books the same way. 

Cone flowers and black-eyed Susans in Rebecca's
native garden.

3. Be sure to include a blend of perennials (old favorites) and annuals (new picks) in your reading garden. The library is like a garden center for young minds. Use it often!

4. Spend time tending your garden (reading) every day!

Laura's spring daffodils

5. Gardening honors the seasons: sometimes a quick story quenches your thirst like a burst of rain moistens a seed sprouting in the spring. Other times a long steady read is needed to sink deep into the soil of your heart, like the snow and rains of winter. 

6. Share what's in your garden with others, like putting together a bouquet or sharing your crop of tomatoes! This can be as simple as talking about what you're reading and even recommending favorite books. 

An old stock tank that Marci converted to a 
raised garden bed

7. Gardening, like reading, can be even more special when you do it with someone you love. Sharing a picture book at bedtime, reading a novel together as a family, or participating in a book club can all be ways to cultivate a lifetime of reading.

8. Let the sun shine on your garden! Set an example by making sure your young readers see you reading for the simple pleasure of it.

Looking for more? Check out these garden themed posts: