This Place I Know Review

this_place_I_knowThis Place I Know: Poems of Comfort selected by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Eighteen Renowned Picture Book Artists

Candlewick Press, 2006. 978-0763628758

Synopsis: In the aftermath of a traumatic event, we struggle to find peace, solace, and understanding. Heard’s selection of poems speaks to our sorrow and our need for understanding how to get past terrible events. The words remind us that we are not alone in our despair and assure us that we can rise again.

Why I picked it up: The title reminded me of the song “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

Why I finished it: This selection of poems is special. Yes, the fact that they were chosen over thousands of others to become part of this book already makes them special, but the other part of what sets them apart from other works of poetry is what they are saying and the message they have for the reader. Originally selected for children dealing with the aftermath of the events of September 11th, these poems show us that hope is possible, that there is a place beyond the tears that is full of the happiness and joy we knew before the trauma. And while we recognize that the world cannot be the same as it was preceding a period of suffering, these poems give hope and allow us to keep going, to pick ourselves up, to reshape ourselves into stronger individuals than we were. These poems show us that comfort comes in many different forms and the ways in which we find comfort are unique to each one of us. Each of the illustrations that accompany the poems are visuals for the poems and provide their own sort of poetry for the reader to enjoy. The artists are all masters in their own right and they bring a special touch to this anthology that gives us a glance at the familiar, a slice of the normalcy that we so crave in a disaster. This book will speak to its readers in different ways, but its message of comfort and hope remain the same.

Other related materials: This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World selected by Naomi Shihab Nye; The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East selected by Naomi Shihab Nye; All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth with pictures by Natalie Babbitt; Love That Dog by Sharon Creech; Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech; Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in  Early Spring by Ralph Fletcher, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop; Another Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by More NCTE Award-Winning Poets edited by Bernice E. Cullinan and Deborah Wooten; Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems edited by Goergia Heard; If You’re Not Here, Raise Your Hand: Poems About School by Kalli Dakos, illustrated by G. Brian Karas; Around the World in Eighty Poems selected by James Berry, illustrated by Katherine Lucas; Poetry For Young People: Robert Frost by Gary D. Schmidt, illustrated by Henri Sorensen

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