Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book of the Week

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings

by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2013
65 pages
ISBN: 978-0-544-10616-1

Age 9 and older

“Since earliest human history, we have used language to try to influence the world around us … 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 words themselves.” Joyce Sidman’s introduction is the perfect entry into her collection of poems divided into “Chants & Charms,” “Spells & Invocations,” “Laments & Remembrances,” and “Praise Songs & Blessings.” The poems in each section are full of dreams but also the spirit and substance of our everyday lives. From A “Chant to Repair a Friendship” to an “Invitation to Lost Things” (Come out, come out / from your hidden places, / hair clips, homework, phones. …”), from an “Invisibility Spell” to slip away from the shame of being taunted to a “Blessing on the Smell of Dog” and “Blessing on the Curl of a Cat,” Sidman celebrates the music of language, the significance of words, and the meaning of moments and memories that may be small but are never insignificant. The beautifully designed, elegant volume features full-page and decorative spot illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski. (MS) ©2014 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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