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What Is Given from the Heart

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  136 reviews
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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Schwartz & Wade Books
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  457 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories Exploring Poverty That Feature Love, Generosity & Creativity
James Otis and his mother are experiencing a difficult time in this lovely, heartwarming picture-book from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrator April Harrison. James Otis' father has recently died, they have lost their farm, and have been forced to move into one of the "shotgun houses" in the Bottoms. Nevertheless, when they hear about the troubles of the Temple family, who have lost everything they own in a fire, they make their best effort to contribute to their church's "love box" for ...more
Laura Harrison
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The illustrations are wonderful.
Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for an advance look. Such a stunningly beautiful book, the sentiment, and story is powerful and the illustrations are rich and unique.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This lovely book tells the story of a little boy named James Otis, who, along with his mother, is enduring hard times since the death of his dad and loss of their farm. They now live in a run-down house with few possessions. But Mama tries to remain upbeat:

“‘Long as we have our health and strength, we are blessed, James Otis,’ Mama said, tryin’ to sound brave.”

Two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the reverend at their church announced:

“Just as we always do, we’ll be delivering love boxes to needy
First sentence: It was a rough few months for Mama and me. We were already poor, but we got poorer last April, when Daddy went to sleep on the front porch and never woke up. Mama cried and cried, 'cause Daddy didn't have a suit to be buried in.

Premise/plot: The Temple family has lost everything in a fire. The church community is coming together and asking everyone to give something, to give from the heart. James Otis is stumped, especially at first. What can he give of value? He doesn't have
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the sweetest, most beautifully illustrated children’s books I’ve encountered in awhile. I’m familiar with the award winning author, Patricia C McKissack, so I knew the story would be good. This is April Harrison’s first picture book. She’s a fine artist and designer who’s been featured in museums and galleries. She gorgeously combines collage and drawing and the faces of her characters are so beautifully expressive! The story is from the point of view of young James Otis, who ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sarah and her family have lost everything in a fire. What can James Otis give her to help her?

This is a story about giving and helping others even when you are destitute yourself, and the power of that. It's a worthy final book from an amazing author.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Teaching children generosity and creativity will always produce something wonderful.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story about a family who have nothing since the father died, try to find something of theirs to share with a family whose home has been lost in a fire.
Heather Jensen
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful tale of the healing power of giving and sharing of your own talents.
Zack Barnes
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at A to Z Book Reviews

What is Given from the Heart is a tale of compassion. James Otis and his mom have struggled ever since James’ father died a few months back. It was a struggle before his death, and now they’ve struggled even more. But when someone in their family’s church has a house fire, their Pastor asks the congregation to bring anything that they can to help the family. “What is given from the heart reaches the heart,” he tells the church.

What can James give to the
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture_books
James Otis and his mother don't have much; his father died and they are struggling. But when a family loses their home to fire, the church that they attend decide to do a "love box" for the family, which are put together for their neediest families. But James Otis and his mother have so little--what could they possibly have to give to this family? A lovely story! The illustrations complemented the text perfectly. They were both simple and detailed at the same time.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful in every way! McKissack's simple yet lyrical prose touched my heart and April Harrison's collage illustrations are superb. A wonderful reminder of what is most important in life.

Read in galley and I'm eager to buy the finished copy.
Cindy Dobrez
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A beautiful book in every possible way. Would it be wrong to buy an extra copy just so I could frame and hang some of the art?
Edward Sullivan
Pat McKissack's last book, a poignant story of compassion beautifully illustrated.
Richie Partington
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: WHAT IS GIVEN FROM THE HEART by Patricia C. McKissack and April Harrison, ill., Schwartz & Wade, January 2019, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-83615-2

“I don’t know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I’m in debt to you”
-- Natalie Merchant, “Kind and Generous” (1998)

“It was a rough few months for Mama and me. We were already poor, but we got poorer last April, when Daddy went to sleep on the front porch and never woke up. Mama cried and cried, ‘cause Daddy didn’t have a suit to be
Christina Carter
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
James Otis has very little but when a family in his community loses everything in a fire, he learns that a gift from the heart has value beyond measure, that "what is given from the heart reaches the heart." He and his mother use what they have, giving out of their own need, to turn around and be a blessing to others. May it be true of us, whether in a season of abundance or lack, that we would give from our hearts to those who have need.

I found this treasure on display at my local public
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
After his father died, James Otis and his mother got even more poor than before. They lost their farm and had to move into a small house in the Bottoms. Things kept getting worse as his dog disappeared and everything flooded. Christmas was sparse but they made their way through until spring. That’s when their church gave out love boxes to those in need. This year, one family had lost everything in a fire. James Otis was encouraged to give something to the little girl in the family, but what ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story about a mom and a boy named James Otis.

They are poor but lose everything when the dad dies. The mom has a very deep relationship with the church, God, and with scripture. She tries to find the best in all situations even though, sometimes, it seems to go from bad to worse.

At church, there is a mom and a little girl Sarah who have lost everything in a fire and the community is encouraged to bring whatever would be useful for them; "something given from the heart reaches the
Rayeann Hatfield
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Its a good book for students to read who are affected by the events in the book in their real lives. Its a great heart warming story that sends a kind message to students. You can read this book to your students and let them think about it and answer any questions they might have. This book is about a mom and her son, James. They live in a little home together, no father because he passed away. They don’t have much to their names, but they are kind hearted. One day ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
What do you give a little girl whose home burned down, when you have nothing left yourself. In this heartwrenching tale, we meet nine-year-old James and his mother who just suffered a devastating year with the death of James' father, followed by the loss of their farm. When Reverend Dennis asks his church members to give something to the family whose house burned down by reminding them, "what is given from the heart reaches the heart," young James is flummoxed, what does he have left to give ...more
Sammi Nutter
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
What is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack is a story about kindness and the joy of giving. The story opens with a poor family who does not have much, including a father, but still wants to help a family in need. The story progresses and while the family could not give new and expensive presents, the mother makes an apron while the son makes a book showing that gifts do not have to be expensive to be meaningful which is important for people to understand. The illustrations are showing a ...more
One of Patricia McKissack's last stories, with debut artist April Harrison's mixed-media illustrations and her own heartfelt dedication, first to her grandchildren and then to Patricia herself. Don't forget to read those words, too. The story shares that James Otis and his mother have come onto hard times. His father has died, they've had to move to 'the bottoms', a rainstorm flooded around them on Friday, the 13th, seems like, as the text tells, "Misery loves company." But, they have a loving ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There truly is power in the written word. There is our initial reaction upon first reading it or hearing it read. It can be revisited again and again, giving us time to reflect on possible meanings, forming and revising thoughts and opinions. No matter when written its purpose can extend far into the future, a future yet to be imagined.

On April 7, 2017 a master in the use of language passed away from our earthly realm. There is no possible way to number the countless individuals who benefited
Susanna Hargreaves
A wonderful children's book and is perfect for the themes empathy and kindness. Also cultural/ diverse themed book everyone can relate to. It is rather heartbreaking in that it is about a little boy and his mother. His father passed away and they are struggling. Then they hear during their church service about another family who lost everything in a fire. The reverend calls on the community to help deliver a love box and says, "Remember what is given from the heart reaches the heart." The little ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This book, which came out after the death of author Patricia McKissack, portrays life in a poor area in an unspecified year. The only clues as to date are that Superman already exists and is popular.
A boy and his mother fall farther into poverty when the boy's father dies suddenly, but he learns an important lesson in giving and receiving, as they learn of a family even worse off than they are.
Artist April Harrison was lured from her usual fine art home to illustrate this book, and her work was
Calla Welter
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdng-350
The main character James has grown up without a lot in his life, but when a girl from his church loses everything he knows he has to help. This story is about James helping Sarah know that he cares and showing her that what is given from the heart reaches the heart.

This book was extremely cute, and I really liked it. I liked how this book has good illustrations along with the good Moral story.

I think this book would be beneficial in the classroom as talking about caring and loving others! This
Kendall Conley
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rated this book 5-stars. This is an amazing book with a beautiful story behind it. It is about a boy who doesn't have a lot but heard that another family lost everything they had to a fire so he wanted to make something special for the little girl. The fact that the boy doesn't have much and he still wanted to give the girl something so special is amazing. I would definitely use this book in my future classroom, most likely a read aloud book or even do something that gets the students to do ...more
Stephanie - Adventures Thru Wonderland
*I received a copy from the publisher. This does not affect my review.*

I loved reading this story! The characters and their story is one many can relate to and is a blessing to read. I really enjoyed the art style and that there were splashes of color on each image, but it also uses duller and more neutral colors so that it's not overly busy, giving it a timeless feel. I've always enjoyed finding the hidden gems in illustrated stories like this, but this one stands above, and will be one I can
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
There are no words that can share this magic unless I read this book aloud. I will certainly do that despite the tears that are sure to fall as McKissack's words have the power of magic and the ability to transport us to the cozy home filled with the loving characters of this story. It is my hope, pure and simple, that this book is shared by every teacher and heard by every student as it will transport you and transform you as you find ways to give "from the heart". The illustrations by April ...more
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Patricia C. McKissack was the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of The Dark-Thirty and Porch Lies an ALA Notable Book. She collaborated with Jerry Pinkney on Goin' Someplace Special (Coretta Scott King Award winner) and Mirandy and Brother Wind (Coretta Scott King Award winner and Caldecott Honor Book).