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

A Book for Poem in Your Pocket Day

by Mindy Baker

This year Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 18. Are you as excited as we are here at Read, Discuss, Do? I hope so! It is definitely one of our favorite times of the year! 

Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect day to celebrate the delightfulness of poetry by carefully selecting a poem to share with others during the day. (Hint: you keep the poem in your pocket

You can also share the poem in other ways like social media (use the hashtag #pocketpoem), email, or a phone call. Who can you think of that would love to receive a phone call or Facetime call of you reciting poetry for them? 

Make someone’s day by participating in Poem in Your Pocket Day! Share your favorite poem with anyone and everyone, but especially your friends and loved ones!

Read: Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret MacNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

In the picture book Poem in Your Pocket, Mr. Tiffin’s classroom is learning about poetry throughout the month of April. At the end of month, a real live poet is going to visit! Everyone in the class is reading, writing, and reciting poetry, but Elinor is struggling. She wants the poem she is writing to be perfect, but she can’t get the words to flow. Will Elinor have a poem to share by the time the author arrives? This is a wonderful book that not only explains about different types of poems, but also helps children learn that anyone can enjoy poetry and that it is okay not to be perfect. 

Discuss: 

  • What special day was the class preparing for? How were they getting ready?

  • In the book Poem in Your Pocket why was Elinor having such a hard time writing her poem? 

  • Elinor didn’t want to make a mistake. Is it okay to make mistakes? (If you can think of an example, share with your child a time when you made a mistake and learned through the experience.)

  • Have you ever felt like quitting when you couldn’t do something perfectly? What did you do to keep going and not quit?

  • Have you ever written a poem? What was it about? If not, would you like to? What would you like to write a poem about? 

Do: Write or copy down a poem and put it in your pocket for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

RECOMMENDATION: As a parent, teacher, or caretaker of children, maybe you are looking for a book filled with short Pocket Poems. If so, try Pocket Poems by Bobbi Katz and illustrated by Marilyn Hafner. There is also a follow up companion title More Pocket Poems selected by Bobbi Katz and Illustrated by Deborah Zemke. Each poem has less than 8 lines and is perfect for a child to use as their “pocket poem.” 

  1. Select a poem. (You can also choose to write one of your own.) If you write your own, try a fun topics such as your favorite animal, favorite food, something special in nature, your friends and family, your favorite sports, or even a favorite vacation spots. Check out some of our past Poetry Month posts for different types of poems to try: Haiku, Shape, Diamante, Acrostics, or Tercet.

  2. Select a fun way to fold the poem.

  • Tiny Square--Write your poem as tiny as you can on a notecard or Post-It note. Fold it into a small square.

  • Scroll- Write your poem and roll your paper. Tie it with yarn, a bow, or fasten it with a rubber band. Follow these directions to make an even more elaborate scroll.

  • 90’s Style -Fold it like this video. (Ask your parent, grandparent, or caretaker if they ever passed a note folded like this in the hallway when they were younger) 

  • Lori Fold – Follow the directions on this videoclip to create an even cooler looking origami pocket poem.

  • Origami Heart – Follow the directions on this videoclip to create a paper heart!

  1. Carry your poem in your pocket on April 18! Don’t forget to share it with the people you encounter during the day.

  2. If you share your poem on social media, use the hashtag #RDDPoetryChallenge so we can see it! You can also tag us on Instagram (@readdiscussdo).

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