Poet and author Pat Mora was born on this day in 1942.
A poet and author equally skilled at writing for both youth and adult audiences, Pat Mora has written a number of children's books and collections of poetry. She is the founder of Día: El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day, an initiative aimed at spreading what Mora calls "bookjoy" to all young readers. Mora is a champion of multilingual expression, as evidenced by many of her books and poems, including The Desert is My Mother/El Desierto Es Mi Madre.
- Begin this word association activity by arranging students in two groups. Ask one group to write down as many words as they can that relate to the word desert. Have the other group focus on the word mother.
- Have the groups share their lists, and ask students to look for words or phrases that show overlap between the concepts. Discuss their findings.
- Introduce Pat Mora's book The Desert is My Mother/El Desierto Es Mi Madre, and explain that the book is actually a poem that develops an extended metaphor. Stress that effective extended metaphors suggest several appropriate likenesses between two seemingly unlike things.
- As you read the story aloud, have students listen for ways that the narrator finds the desert similar to a mother. Have the class compare the words and images in the book to the lists they brainstormed earlier and discuss the surprising number of ways the desert can be considered like a mother.
- Share a few more extended metaphors, such as the poem "Fog" by Carl Sandburg or the Shakespearean speech "All the World's a Stage." Discuss how these texts exemplify the definition of extended metaphor.
- Ask students to write their own extended metaphor poems by asking them to choose a famliar concept (such as school, family, or friends) and think of a surprising comparison concept. Provide prewriting resources such as a two-column chart or a concept web to support students' writing process. Once they have written their poems, ask students to share their writing with the class.
Pat Mora's homepage includes lists of her publications as well as educator resources, activities for young readers, and a look at her future publications.
From the Academy of American Poets, this author page provides biographical information on Pat Mora.
The official ALSC site for El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros includes a state-by-state list of Día events, library programming ideas, a Día fact sheet, and downloadable Día brochures.
In this Reading Rockets interview, Pat Mora discusses her work and heritage, including her views on the need for more diverse voices in literature for children.