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What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings

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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  456 ratings  ·  140 reviews
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 crow ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  456 ratings  ·  140 reviews


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Richie Partington
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multiple-poems
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

"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. ...more
John
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-ya
Though I wish she had gone in for more rhymed work like the triolet that leads this collection off, even in free verse Sidman displays a rare gift for sound, rhythm, language and thoughtful imagery.

Come, friend, forgive the past;
I was wrong and 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.
Cheryl
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Sorry. I despise Zagarenski's art and find it extremely distracting. Come to think, though, I bet ppl who love her work would find it distracting, too.

Trying to focus on the poems, I find that I do love *Come Happiness* -
"Happiness
you're not what everyone says:
...
You are more like a raindrop,
governed by mysterious principles.
You fall from the sky
and hit--plop!--with
a cool kiss of surprise.
...
So come,
come to us, Happiness.
Bathe us whit----with ...more
Donalyn
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A treasure. Beautifully designed. Sidman's poetry is reliably special.
vanessa
This was lovely. Sidman has a way with repetition, rhythm - it was music to my ears. I loved the way these poems were divided into sections, too. Plus, the illustrations by Zagarenski are stunning.
Samantha
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Sidman book of all time! This book is amaaaazing. So many of the poems, chants etc contain verses so true and heartfelt that I have half a mind to cross-stitch them onto a sampler such that I could put it somewhere I would read it again and again.

This is a perfect gift book for so many purposes: graduation, friend to friend, parent to child etc.

Illustrations consist of mixed media paintings on wood and some digital artwork. I really liked how the artwork fit each poem li
...more
Adam
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2014
Needs a second reading (and probably third and fourth and...).
Rachael
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Joyce Sidman's newest book of poetry is a strange beast indeed. The subtitle is "Chants, Charms & Blessings," and in her note to readers, Sidman talks about how humans have always "used language to try to influence the world," and encourages readers to make poems of their own and "chant them, in your own voice." She divides her book into four parts: Chants & Charms, Spells & Invocations, Laments & Remembrances, and Praise Songs & Blessings. The result is something like a poet ...more
Lori
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Wow!
"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 pray, sing, or write? Finding phrases to match the emotion inside us still brings and explosive, soaring joy."

"I wrote these poems for comfort, for understanding, for hope: to remind myself of things I keep learning and forgetting and learning again They are about repairing friendship, slowing down time, unders
...more
Jacquelin Devlin
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book came with a satin ribbon bookmark, like a Bible. It's that kind of book. Sidman is one of my favorite poets and Zagarenski, one of my favorite illustrators. A tribute to the power of words, these chants, charms and blessings touch on a multitude of hopes and emotions, from major to minor -- from death to lost pencils, from teddy bears outgrown, to having one's love rejected. And one blessing on the smell of dogs!

As always Sidman's poems are simultaneously straightforward an
...more
Mary Lee
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh...beautiful. Perfect. A book I will give as a gift and read aloud as a gift.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A wonderful collection of inspiring poems accompanied by beautiful illustrations. An elegantly designed book.
Katherine Medbery-Oleson
Delightful collection! Great introduction, including:
"We speak to send messages to the world. We chant for what we want, bless what we like, lament what we've lost. When angry, we curse; when in love, we sing."
"But we still believe in the power of the words themselves. Why else would we pray sing, or write? Finding phrases to match the emotion inside us still brings an explosive, soaring joy."


"I find peace when I am ready to listen." P. 65

"May the dog always smell of Dog
...more
Kyra
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably a 2.5 but rounding up because I went in thinking it would be more rhythmic and rhyming than it was and that's partly my fault. Normally I HATE reviews that criticize poetry for not having those elements and not sounding like poetry (because what does that even sound like, huh?), but due to the title (and how the book was set up!) I was surprised and disappointed to find that very very few of them could be easily chanted or recited. It just felt like the perfect opportunity for cutsey rh ...more
Sandy Brehl
Poet/author Joyce Sidman's name on the cover guarantees a rich and satisfying reading awaits you within the covers of this book. This is an example that will suit adult readers as much as younger ones. Age and life experience will determine the shades and layers of each poem that will resonate most deeply with individuals, but all will relish the full and fresh language and tone of each poem in each of four sections. I loved it.
Elizabeth
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Someone once told me that I was magic and my poems were spells. For me that was scary - what darkness had I cast on people? -so I have lost many good poems that I wish I still had. Someone must have told this author the same thing and she has used her skill for good. This is why, I truly loved this little book.
Preston Stell
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The art was super cool. The blessings, praise songs, etc. were very different than I am used to. I like different, but I really didn’t enjoy these very much.
megan donaldson
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
unique and perfection
Juli Anna
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Not as vigorous as her other poetry, and the illustrations seem pretty hackneyed at this point in time.
Bryonna
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this ... the writing by Joyce, and the art by Pamela Zagarenski. A perfect match!
Elizabeth Seals
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has a nice tiny contemplation of poems that will lift your spirits up at the end of the day. Perfect for your rainy day!
Amanda
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Closer..........Kinda..........
Khiana
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
The illustrations are very appealing but the poetry itself isn't as impactful.
Krystal
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
One perk of being a librarian is serendipitously finding books with which I am unfamiliar at the exact right time. This collection of poetry for young adults is simple but lovely and I found myself thinking about the sentiments behind the chants, charms, and blessings well after reading them. Just what I needed.
Chris
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I like this one more for the introduction, section titles, topics, and themes than for the actual poetry, though that wasn't necessarily lacking. The poems are eminently accessible, relatable, and everyday; their approachability invites the reader to participate and imitate. Beautifully written, illustrated, and presented.

From the introduction:

We speak to send messages to the world. We chant for what we want, bless what we like, lament what we've lost. When angry, we/>We
...more
Linda
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This collections is joyful and serious, heartfelt and heartbreaking. The poems will touch older kids and adults too. It’s divided into 4 sections: Chants & Charms, Spells & Invocations, Laments & Remembrances, and Praise Songs & Blessings. Each of the parts’ title pages offers brief definitions of the topics. For instance, the book shares that a charm is “A verse spoken aloud that acts as a talisman or protection.”
Joyce Sidman has found ancient words once believed to solve lif
...more
Laura Salas
One of Joyce's best books ever. It's a treasure from front to back. There’s so much beauty inside of it, equally from Joyce’s words and Pamela Zagarenski’s stunning illustrations. There are Chants & Charms (to bolster courage and guard against evil), Spells & Invocations (to cause something to happen), Laments & Remembrances (to remember, regret, or grieve), and Praise Songs & Blessings (to celebrate, thank or express love)–all packed into a deliciously small trim size (compared ...more
Amy
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: cln, young-adult
I am not a lover of poetry so as far as poem books go, this one was good, I guess. I think my favorite part of the book wasn't a poem at all but the Note to Readers at the very beginning which explains that words have held power since the earliest human history. Words were used to "make crops grow, prevent illness, or keep rivers from flooding" and while we no longer believe that words hold that kind of power, we do believe in words. Words used in prayer, words used in singing, words used in boo ...more
Rachel
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
One lovely thing about Joyce Sidman's poetry is that kids of any age can enjoy it.

Emphasize the rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration for very little ones. Getting-a-little-bigger kids can appreciate the humor and subject matter of some of the more concrete selections (including an actual concrete poem shaped like a cat), as well as a couple of the poems about experiences. Upper elementary and middle schoolers will find themselves in these pages, as well, perhaps in the lament for a well-l
...more
Rosi Hollinbeck
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My review for the Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review:

Once in a while, one is lucky enough to run across a book of such beauty it takes one’s breath away. That opportunity is available now. This book has enchanting and memorable artwork by two-time Caldecott Honor winner Pamela Zagarenski. The colors are brilliant and the artwork has a timelessness and worldliness about it that makes one want the book to go on and on. But the poetry by Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman will simply m
...more
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The Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman is today's foremost nature poet for children. Accolades for her books include two Caldecott Honors, a Lee Bennet Hopkins Award, winner of the Claudia Lews Award, and many stars and best of lists. For her award-winning body of work, she won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. Visit www.joycesidman.com