What Is Given from the Heart
What Is Given from the Heart

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Annotation: Despite their own poverty since Daddy died, Mama tells nine-year-old James Otis that they need to help Sarah, seven, whose family lost everything in a fire.
Catalog Number: #178413
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Harrison, April,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-375-83615-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4061-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-375-83615-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4061-6
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018008800
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In the months following the death of his father, life is hard for young James Otis and Mama. Still, when Reverend Dennis requests donations for a family that has lost everything to fire, Mama is the first to respond, sewing an apron from her best tablecloth. James Otis has a harder time deciding what to give, but finally settles on an illustrated book of his own creation. This posthumous offering from award winner McKissack (Who Will Bell the Cat?, 2018) recounts a heartfelt story demonstrating that joyful giving can have many rewards. Harrison's mixed-media and collage artwork portrays a close-knit, African American community, where fancy possessions are in short supply, but love and caring abound. Using folk-style illustrations and favoring earth tones, Harrison utilizes mottled backgrounds and colorfully collaged pieces to depict the characters' clothing. The faces are particularly expressive, conveying a full range of emotions. Appropriate for one-on-one sharing and story hours alike, this is a moving story that attests to life's most important values.
Publishers Weekly
James Otis and his mother don-t have much. Daddy died last April-he didn-t even -have a suit to be buried in- -the family farm is gone, and the two of them now live in a -run-down shotgun house- that floods when it rains. But when their pastor asks the congregation to help a family who lost everything in a fire, Mama does her part, sewing an apron made from her cherished white tablecloth, and she expects James to find -a li-l bit of something- for the girl, Sarah. -What is given from the heart reaches the heart,- Mama says, echoing the pastor-s words. After much thought, James Otis creates a book for and about Sarah herself-a gift the girl presses to her heart. This final book by the late McKissack (Let-s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout) showcases the legendary author-s signature lyricism in full force and receives a stunning, aesthetically ambitious interpretation by Harrison, a fine artist making her picture book debut. Flattened perspectives lend her characters quiet stature and communal strength, and elaborately textured colors exude translucence and light, almost as if these mixed-media images were created from stained glass. Ages 4-8. Author-s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A boy who has little learns that he can still give. James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times. His father died, and they had no suit in which to bury him; they lost their farm, their new "run-down shotgun house in the Bottoms" flooded, and his dog ran away. Though they have very little, his mama says, "Long as we have our health and strength, we are blessed." As Valentine's Day approaches, their pastor announces that "love boxes" will be delivered to the needy in the community, including a mother and daughter who have lost everything in a fire. He reminds them that "what is given from the heart reaches the heart." Mama gets right to work sewing her best tablecloth—the one nice thing she owns—into an apron that she hopes will please the mother, Irene. But James Otis can't think of anything he has that the little girl would want. Finally, he comes up with a plan, and what he gives from the heart, little Sarah cherishes. Debut illustrator Harrison's heartfelt mixed-media illustrations, which include collage, acrylic, and found objects, emphasize the closeness between James Otis and his mother. The full faces of the characters and the muted palette and spare backgrounds reflect the dignity and joy to be found within black culture and community life even in lean times.A sweet story, one of the legendary McKissack's last, enhanced by delectable art from a prodigious new talent. (Picture book. 4-10)
Word Count: 1,470
Reading Level: 3.3
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.3 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 117897 / grade: Lower Grades

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

"Misery loves company," Mama says to James Otis. It's been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they're blessed. One Sunday before Valentine's Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service-- the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple's "love box," but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack--with stunning illustrations by Harrison--delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

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