Share the Surprise

When I dedicated my new bestseller to a family I had not seen in 25 years, I decided to travel to Mexico City to surprise them in person. Watch the moment I share the surprise.

Read more

Sankofa: My 30-Second Poem

I cannot change history, but in this moment I have a choice:
Do I open my eyes to clearly see?
Or bequeath the blindness bequeathed to me?

Read more

Six Reasons to Recite Poetry

Only two weeks into my poetry recitation challenge in a Title I school, I cannot walk across the playground without a student stopping me to share a poem. “Be forewarned. Reciting poetry is contagious.” In an unscheduled visit to one fifth grade classroom, I arrived to see students out of their seats raising hands to be the first to recite poems. They had begged the teacher to let them take their poems home…

Read more

Taste Poetry on Your Tongue

April is National Poetry Month, and I’m celebrating by inviting you to join my students and I in a personal challenge to memorize a new poem each week and recite it for others. To be honest, I never got excited about poetry recitation. It seemed boring. I’d rather create poetry than memorize it. Reciting poetry seemed like an “old-school” activity for antique pedagogy and desks in rows. But in the simple…

Read more

Outsider: A Call for Connection

I wrote this poem about being an outsider in China in an effort to build empathy for what I have never experienced: being a new immigrant in the United States. I wrote it primarily for monolingual English speakers in my country who ask about immigrants, “Why do they stay together and speak their language?” “Why don’t they learn English?”

Read more

Schools Must Foster Risk-Taking

It’s easy to forget the dynamic of risk-taking in the world of K-12 education, where success is mapped in a staircase of standards and academic achievement is key to opening doors. This video poem and reflective blog dare educators to stretch the boundaries of what is possible, and inspire students to do the same.

Read more