Slice 2013 15 of 31: A Big Sister Poem for Poetry Friday


Earlier in the week I wrote about using Miss Rumphius to address Common Core standard 3.3, which deals with characters, their traits, motivations, feelings, and how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. While there are many picture books and chapter books that can and should be used to address this standard, I wanted to include poetry in the unit we’re developing.


Kristine O’Connell George’s Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems (Clarion Books, 2011; illustrated by Nancy Carpenter) is ideally suited for this unit. These short poems are told from the point of view of Emma’s older sister, Jessica. Each poem deals with the daily life of a typical fourth-grader and her feelings about Emma. Taken together, the poems form a loose narrative chronicling Jessica’s evolving feelings toward Emma. An older sister myself, I especially appreciated this poem:

“Role Model”

Emma copies

everything I do

and sometimes

I don’t do


I might do

or really

want to do


I know

she is



every single thing I do.

You can watch the trailer here:

Sylvia Vardell has collected much more information about Kristen O’Connell George, Emma Dilemma, and using this book in the classroom on her blog, Poetry for Children.

By the way, my sister hasn’t copied anything I’ve done for at least 40 years. And now we’re best friends.

Poetry Friday is at Check It Out today. Thanks for hosting!

Thank you to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting this Slice of Life Challenge!

10 thoughts on “Slice 2013 15 of 31: A Big Sister Poem for Poetry Friday

  1. Catherine, I love the way that you weave narrative into your teaching. We are in the middle of poetry units for a few grades so I will share this one. As a mother of 4 girls I may even have to buy it. Also, Extra Yarn is a great book for your Kindness Collection.
    Thanks for all of the insights about the CCSS and keeping the passion for books and reading within them!
    Enjoy your day.


  2. I love Kristine’s poetry. Just today a student shared a poem at our morning meeting from her Hummingbird book. I need to add Emma’s Dilemma to our collection. As the oldest of 5: 2 younger sisters and 2 brothers, I can relate already.


  3. Wow! Thank you for sharing a poem from Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems. I LOVE Nancy Carpenter’s illustrations; she captured the nuances of the relationship between older and younger sibling so beautifully.


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