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Iveliz explores her worries, grief, trauma, and the realities of living with her mental health issues through her poetry journal. Have students keep their own poetry journal–not for a grade–but to use words in creative ways to help themselves find their voice, feel better, and support good mental health.
Ask them to dedicate at least 15 minutes per day for a specific time period (every day for a week, every other day for 2 weeks, every week for a month, etc.) to write free verse that lets them share how they are feeling, what they are experiencing, and what they need, want, and hope for.
After the time period ends, talk with students or ask them to write about how keeping a poetry journal impacted them. Do they feel better about themselves or issues they are dealing with, more self-aware, more hopeful or positive, more capable of expressing their thoughts and feelings?
Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing
- Why do you think Iveliz doesn't feel like she should or is even allowed to outwardly process all of the trauma and grief she is carrying? Why has she been keeping her feelings stuffed down inside? What causes her to change and start to face her deep hurt?
- How does Iveliz’s mother handle her own grief? What kind of example does that set for Iveliz? How does Iveliz's mother try to support Iveliz’s recovery? How does that affect their relationship?
- What kind of a friend is Iveliz? Would you be friends with Iveliz? Why do you think Akiko tries to be Iveliz’s friend? What kind of friend is Amir?
- Does Iveliz explain it all?