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

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!