What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, & Blessings
What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, & Blessings
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Annotation: Presents a collection of inspirational poems that offer hope, wisdom, comfort, and humor for life's challenging moments.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #5433872
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Illustrator: Zagarenski, Pamela,
Pages: 65 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-544-10616-4
ISBN 13: 978-0-544-10616-1
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2012047836
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Sidman and Zagarenski present "Chants & Charms," "Spells & Invocations," "Laments & Remembrances," and "Praise Songs & Blessings" in a variety of poetic forms. Each poem speaks directly from Sidman's heart to the reader's, addressing subjects of deep importance: forgiveness, friendship, bravery, death, illness, moving. Zagarenski's illustrations beautifully extend the poems with her dreamy style and deft use of white space, symbolism, and images.
Publishers Weekly
-I wrote these poems for comfort, for understanding, for hope,- writes Sidman in introduction to a grouping of nearly 50 poems. -They are words to speak in the face of loneliness, fear, delight, or confusion.- Sidman gathers her verse into four sections-Chants & Charms, Spells & Incantations, Laments & Remembrances, and Praise Songs & Blessings-while Zagarenski contributes brightly painted and emotionally evocative mixed-media artwork filled with the crowned figures, teapots, wheels, and lions that frequent her work. The subject matter ranges from the quotidian to the unfathomable: -We bow to your littleness,/ pencils, glasses, keys./ Without you we are lost,- reads -Invitation to Lost Things,- while -When Death Comes- is a devastating meditation on its irrevocability (-Even when you know/ it-s coming,/ it arrives/ out of nowhere:/ so quick/, so uncalled for-). Poems of bravery, love, heartbreak, justice, and peace unite to offer readers of all ages solace, inspiration, and strength. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
Gr 5&11;8&12; In their latest collaboration, Sidman and Zagarenski invite readers to ponder the power of words. Arranged in four sections, 29 brief poems include chants and charms; spells and invocations; laments and remembrances; and praise songs and blessings. By turns hopeful and comedic, melancholic and wistful, they touch on universal themes: lost love, the uneasiness of change, and the comfort of pets. Many kids will relate to the nostalgia and regret for the packed-away toy in "Lament for Teddy": "Where is that softest of bedfellows,/whose battered nose hung askew?" Other highlights include "Chant to Repair a Friendship," "Invitation to Lost Things," and "Heartless." Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings underscore Sidman's words, sometimes with subtle use of white space and muted color. Others burst from the page in spectacular fashion, especially the painting of stony-faced lions that accompanies "Song of Bravery" and its stirring conclusion: "&30;here I go, stepping out/through the door/of my own shadow:/into the glare of the arena/to face the lions." Poetry fans will savor the wordplay and whimsy, as teachers appreciate both its craft and wide appeal. This spectacular volume rewards careful reading and capably attests to the power of words to praise and comfort, heal and inspire, as in the rousing "Starting Now": "It is time to&30;speak until the air/holds all of our voices./Time to weave for each other/a garment of brightness."&12; Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Profound, lushly illustrated poems explore some of life's more trying moments. In their third collaboration, Sidman and Zagarenski (Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors, 2009, etc.) combine their Newbery Honor– and Caldecott Honor–worthy talents to tackle life's more ineffable conditions. Lyrically arranging the collection's 29 poems into groupings such as "Chants & Charms" and "Laments & Remembrances," Sidman takes a serious look at a number of moments likely to concern young teens. The volume's title bespeaks the tricky blend of rationality and emotion inherent in often baffling situations like aging, loss, and loneliness, and Sidman employs deftly sophisticated verse to engage them head on. Especially provocative is her direct address of a subject like happiness-- "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"--coupled with Zagarenski's richly layered, slightly surreal depiction of a figure trying to catch this transitory state. In many spreads, the abstract suggestiveness of Zagarenski's fanciful mixed-media paintings and digital renderings contrasts wonderfully with Sidman's bold metaphors, as in "Blessing from the Stars": "We are the stars. / We sing with our light /… / alone, / together." A winning combination of word and image sure to challenge young readers both to contemplate big subjects and to act. (Poetry. 12 & up)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Newbery Honor winner Sidman and Caldecott Honor winner Zagarenski once again join together to create a beautiful and meaningful book. Sidman tells readers in her introduction that chanting, blessing, lamenting, and cursing are as old as human history. Her poetic offerings will touch today's readers, whose feelings and fears are remarkably similar to those of our ancestors. This slim volume is divided into four parts: "Chants and Charms" ("to bolster courage and guard against evil") uses repetition in both a chant about repairing a friendship and a charm against the dark. "Spells and Invocations" ("to cause something to happen") ranges from the practical nding lost items the improbable king time to speed up or slow down. The sadder "Laments and Remembrances" ("to remember, regret, or grieve") brings readers close to the bone with ruminations about illness, death, and loss. "Praise Songs and Blessings" ("to celebrate, thank, or express love") ends the book on a high note. And while not every celebration might seem of the highest order r instance, "Blessing on the Curl of a Cat" e words make you see things differently. If pictures can be poetic, then Zagarenski's surely are. Her signature stylized mixed-media pictures can be intricately designed, but some are spare: a teddy bear and a crown hugging the bottom of a tall page. An evocative book that pulls readers to a special place eir hearts.
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Chant to Repair a Friendship
(a triolet)
Come, friend, forgive the past;
   I was wronga dn I am grieving.
Tell me that this break won't last--
take my hand; forgive the past.
   Anger's brief, but love is vast.
   Take my hand; don't think of leaving.
Come, friend, forgive the past;
   I was wrong and I am grieving.

Come, Happiness
Happiness,
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.

Chant Against the Dark
Don't come close, dark.
Don't brush my face with your sticky hands.
Stay as cool and distant as a train whistle.
Don't single me out,
don't make me answer your questions.
Let me curl here, safe in my circle of light.

Don't come close, dark.
Don't speak to me in your crooked tongue.
I don't want to hear your stories.
I have stories of my own to tell myself all night.

Don't come close, dark.
Don't breathe on me.
When the lamp clicks off,
don't creak and shift
like some wild-eyed horse
waiting for its rider.

Oh, dark,
don't call my name.

Song of Bravery
This one's not a sure thing.
I'm not bound to win.
I don't think I'll ace it this time.
I won't break a leg,
make my own luck,
or reach the stars.

The sun is not shining on me today.
The force is not strong.
Before the day is out,
I'll taste the grit of dust.

Maybe I didn't do all I could.
Or maybe I did
but there were others who did more.
Maybe I'll never know.

But here I go--
bones clicking quietly together,
blood flowing dutifully
from heart to hands and back again--
here I go, stepping out
through the door
of my own shadow:
into the glare of the arena
to face the lions.


Excerpted from What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings by Joyce Sidman
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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. This elegant gift book also includes a red ribbon for readers to mark their favorite poems. 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.

Chant to repair a friendship
Come happiness
Chant against the dark
Song of bravery
A list of things that will set you free
Sleep charm
How to find a poem
Invitation to lost things
Time spells
Gift spell
Invocation for sandcastles
Invisibility spell
Song in a strange land
Starting now
Lament for teddy
Where is my body
Lament for my old life
Heartless
Illness: a conversation
When death comes
Riding a bike at night
Blessing on the smell of dog
Blessing on the curl of cat
Blessing on the downtrodden
Blessing from the stars
Teacher
Silly love song
Lake's promise
I find peace.

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