Feb 6, 2021

A PLACE INSIDE OF ME: A Poem to Hold the Heart

 Congratulations! 2021 Caldecott Honor Book!

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, 2020

And more praise:

Today Show Best Book for the Holidays
ALA Notable Book for All Ages

ALSC Notable Children's Book
NCTE Notable Poetry Book

Evanston Public Library's Top 100 Great Book for Kids
Nerdy Award Winner for Single Poem Picture Book

and still more:

"A resonant exultation of community and the importance of self-reflection." —Publishers Weekly

"This book delivers positivity, despite the inclusion of police brutality, a Black Lives Matter protest, and a vigil for the dead—all of which affirm the child’s realities . . . A well-crafted, twenty-first-century love poem by two truth-telling Black women artists and activists." —The Horn Book

I am a woman of MANY WORDS, but sometimes I know when to step aside and let others do the talking. As you can see from the stars and quotes above, this is indeed the case when it comes to A PLACE INSIDE OF ME: A POEM TO HOLD THE HEART, written by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon. This poem is a gift to the world, especially to people like me who forget to slow down to find and feel what is happening deep in our hearts. As the lyrical text and the brilliant illustrations suggest, what we find deep inside is never simple. In these images, those of us who are not Black can begin to recognize the complexity of the hearts of young Black people moving through a world that can be exuberant, but in the next breath become tragic, or trying, or otherwise troubled. The front cover and back images span those emotions and struggles with embracing encouragement and acceptance. 

As with some picture books that directly address specific subjects and issues, (HERE, HERE, and HERE), this book's text and illustrations directly address the daily truths of being Black in America, while inviting white people and others of privilege to begin to glimpse fragments of this reality. We can all benefit as much as the characters in this book from the direct but subdued messages about coping and taking steps to see deeply into our own hearts, 

Please give this one a close look, and take time to absorb it fully. 

Then share it.

But not just during BLACK HISTORY MONTH

This actually IS an outstanding choice for February, but please use it all year long. Read Reggie Jackson's article with his thoughts about books and Black History Month HERE.

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