danyelle recommends What the Heart Knows by Joyce Sidman
For the past week, the book that has sat on my bedside table--the one I've read and re-read--is Joyce Sidman's poetry collection, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings. These twenty-nine poems, each illustrated with the inimitable artwork of Pamela Zagarenski, offer hope, express grief, look to the future, and recall the past. In her Note to Readers, Sidman wrote, "We still believe in the power of the words themselves." Sidman displays that power here. She puts into words the raw emotion that we carry in our hearts, giving it shape and definition. Some of these poems feel intensely personal, as though I could have written them if only I could have figured out how to say what exactly I felt. I had thought to cite some of the most effective examples, but to pull a few words or phrases from their places, robs them of some of their power, so instead, I'll just recommend getting a copy of the book and reading the poems yourself. My current favorites are "Chant to Repair a Friendship," "Song of Bravery," and "Blessing on the Downtrodden." Read them and find yours.
What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings
by Joyce Sidman
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Recommended for ages 12 and up