Book and Gift Pairings for the Holidays

Books make great gifts any time of year. But what's even better? Books paired with a items meant to extend the enjoyment of the story! This Read, Discuss, Do! Gift Guide pairs some of our favorite books with other gifts meant to help extend the fun of the story beyond the last page and maybe even encourage some new experiences. We hope you find some good ideas for readers and doers in your life on this list. For Babies and Toddlers Hey, Bruce! by Ryan T. Higgins. Pair this super fun (and funny) interactive picture book with a black bear plush, such as this First and Main 10-inch Bear .  Stomp, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance  by Rachel Burk and illustrated by Alyssa De Asis, a book that encourages imaginative play. Pair this book with a musical gift such as a music box or instrument. Or maybe a dance costume! More books for active babies and toddlers For Little Makers The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty and illustrated by Kristyna Litten will be a sure hit with lit

Poems from Our Childhood, PLUS Tips for Young Poets

 As part of our National Poetry Month celebration, the team here at Read, Discuss, Do! decided it would be fun to share some poetry from our own childhoods. Most of us have been reading and writing poetry since we were very young. We hope that sharing our own childhood poetry, as well as some tips that we've learned over the years, will encourage young poets to keep writing!

Marci shares a poem she wrote in 8th grade for a Mother's Day poetry contest. Isn't it sweet?

Marci's tips for young poets: Write about something you love or enjoy. Need inspiration? Go outside and write about the first thing you see. Make a list of words that describe that thing (I often make word lists), then use those words in your poem.


Rebecca shares a poem she wrote when she was 15 and fairly new in her Christian faith. The notebook this poem is in is full of a lot of angsty teenage poems about faith and love and heartbreak.

Rebecca's tips for young poets: What topics make you feel a strong emotion? A person in your life? A memory (good or bad)? Something in nature? (I used to write about trees a lot, and I still do!). Choose something you feel strongly about, and write about how it makes you feel and why it makes you feel that way. Think about how you can capture that feeling in the words of your poem! Like Marci, I also often make word lists before I start writing. I wish I had known that tip as a young poet!

Also, read a lot of poetry for inspiration! Practice by writing new versions of (or additional verses for) some favorite poems.


Laura shares a couple of limericks she wrote as a child. She was a very prolific child poet (no surprise)!

Laura's tips for young poets: Think of a poem as capturing a moment in time. It's a picture with words! Pick a moment in time from today. Then, using all of your senses, write down words that capture that moment. 

Also, play rhyming games. Foster rhythm by stomping or clapping to the beat of the words. Play with onomatopoeia by creating your own sound words and acting them out. Have fun with alliteration by taking turns making fun and crazy lists of words that begin with the same sound.


Coming next week: We will share some of the poems people have been writing for the Read, Discuss, Do! Poetry Challenge! This week we're writing diamante poems. If you're participating and your kiddos feel comfortable sharing their poems, you change share them here in the comments, on social media with the hashtag #RDDSummerChallenge, or by emailing We hope to hear from you!