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What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and…

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings

by Joyce Sidman

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A wonderful collection of inspiring poems accompanied by beautiful illustrations. An elegantly designed book. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
A truly lovely small collection of poetry geared toward children, but really, enjoyable by anyone. ( )
  LibrarianMaven | Apr 19, 2014 |
Richie's Picks: WHAT THE HEART KNOWS: CHANTS, CHARMS & BLESSINGS by Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski, ill., Houghton Mifflin, October 2013, 80p., ISBN: 978-0-544-10616-1


you're not what everyone says:
some flashy friend
who shows up with fireworks,
trailing fame and glory.

You are more like a raindrop,
governed by mysterious principles.
You fall from the sky
and hit -- plop! -- with
a cool kiss of surprise.

Or maybe you're a heartbeat,
always there,
speaking in your low, soft voice,
pumping, warming, strengthening
under the surface of things,
just doing your work.

Happiness, you're like a breeze
sucked in by eager lungs.
You fill and feed us,
and yet somehow, in the exhale,
you are shared.

So come,
come to us, Happiness.
Bathe us with your cool spray.
Fill us with your splendid breath.
Help us do your work."

In her Note to Readers, Joyce Sidman explains that the poems contained here "are words to speak in the face of loneliness, fear, delight, or confusion." She notes that,

"We may no longer believe that words can make crops grow, prevent illness, or keep rivers from flooding. But we still believe in the power of the words themselves. Why else would we sing, pray, or write?"

This collection is presented in four sections: Chants & Charms; Spells & Invocations; Laments & Remembrances; and Praise Songs & Blessings. Each section begins with Ms. Sidman defining these pairs of terms.

What I love about these poems as a collection are their universality of feelings. They repeatedly transcend time and place. If you overlook the inclusion of phones amidst the objects mentioned in the fun poem "INVITATION TO LOST THINGS," this entire collection could arguably have been written to those of a generation or two in the past or to those in the future. Talk about the power of words! It is a collection that will be embraced on one end by literary middle school kids and by plenty of adults on the other end.

I'd read “A LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL SET YOU FREE” a half-dozen times, before finally scribbling down the words on a card and sticking it in my wallet to memorize. One after another, there are poems here that are worth remembering.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php ( )
  richiespicks | Nov 19, 2013 |
In the introduction to this profound collection of poems, Sidman states, "we still believe in the power of the words themselves." Unpacking a range of experiences, Sidman holds each one up to the light, illuminating the strands of hope and courage that bind us together. Whether conjuring the fleeting pleasure of a sandcastle "packed into piles and carved into caverns" or recalling the pain of rejection or illness, these poems will call you into multiple readings. Mixed media illustrations by Pamela Zagerenski provide the perfect visual accompaniment, offering more incentive to linger over each page. This book is lovely to behold, lovely to hear, and lovely as a call to new attitudes as we "Join hands. Right here. Our moment: starting now." ( )
  PeggyDean | Nov 15, 2013 |
What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings by Joyce Sidman, and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, is a compilation of 29 poems for children and young adults, which even grown-ups will find refreshingly inspiring.

The book is divided into four sections:
1. Chants & charms - to bolster courage and guard against evil
2. Spells & invocations - to cause something to happen
3. Laments & remembrances - to remember, regret, or grieve
4. Praise songs & blessings - to celebrate, thank, or express love

Young people moving into adulthood will find the book a valuable companion. ( )
  khamneithang | Nov 6, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544106164, Hardcover)

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings is a collection of poems to provide comfort, courage, and humor at difficult or daunting moments in life. It conjures forth laments, spells, invocations, chants, blessings, promises, songs, and charms. Here are pleas on how to repair a friendship, wishes to transform one’s life or to slow down time, charms to face the shame of a disapproving crowd, invocations to ask for forgiveness, to understand the mysteries of happiness, and to bravely face a dark and different world. These words help us remember or grieve; they bolster courage and guard against evil; they help us celebrate and give thanks.

Poet extraordinaire Joyce Sidman won the Newbery Honor Medal for Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and continues to write poetry for children that has been called "fresh," "inspiring," and "accessible" to her young audience. She is intrigued by the idea of "words of power"—chants and charms that were once believed to have real influence in everyday life. Caldecott Honor-winning Pamela Zagarenski's beautiful art captures a world of emotion and the essence of Sidman's words.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:11 -0400)

"Calls up ancient forms of the spoken word and translates them into the twenty-first century"--Dust jacket flap.

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