My Heart is a Poem
My Heart is a Poem (published in Spring 2023) follows on from Courage in a Poem (2022) and will be followed by Our Earth is a Poem (to be published in Summer/Autumn 2023) all of which collections have been illustrated by Annalise Barber, Mariana Roldán, Masha Manapov and Nabila Adani.
This volume includes work by John Agard, Joseph Coelho, Valerie Bloom and other authors. Starting from an introduction that ‘there is no right or wrong way to feel’, this book takes the young reader or listener through strong feelings that can sometimes be overwhelming, from fear and anger to joy and love. Giving language to these feelings will hopefully allow children to recognise that they are not alone in how emotions can arise and shift, and how sometimes it is hard to understand why.
Each poem is illustrated with a limited colour palette and simple images that underscore the emotional content through visual metaphor. They present an inclusive spectrum of society (including one image that can be read as a trans representation), though I do wonder whether the absence of visible disability was a conscious decision. My Heart is a Poem provides plenty that is worth sharing as read aloud material for children both at KS1 and KS2 (with insights that deserve further exploration), and would enhance both classroom poetry collections and school libraries.
A final point: as an English teacher, my inner socio-linguist was heartened to see the note under the copyright information about the use of both British and American English in the book, highlighting that there are differences between them.
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