What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings

Speak these words

to send a message to the world:

to chant for what you want,

to bless what you love,

to lament what you've lost,

to summon comfort and courage.

For centuries, we have believed in the power of words to change our lives.  This slim book of hope and wisdom calls up ancient forms of the spoken word—chants, invocations, laments, spells—to offer strength for all kinds of moments: when friendship tears apart, when darkness threatens, when we want to express love or gratitude.  

More about this book:

Kirkus Interview by Julie Danielson

Heart Map: see what your heart tells you 


Book Trailer


Reader's Guide

News and Honors

L. A. Times Book Award Finalist

2014 Claudia Lewis Poetry Award

Midwest Booksellers Choice Poetry Award

NCTE Notable Poetry Book

New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

Capitol Choices 2014

CCBC Choices 2014

Bank Street Best Book of the Year


*Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Poems of bravery, love, heartbreak, justice, and peace unite to offer readers of all ages solace, inspiration, and strength."

*Kirkus (starred review)

"Profound . . . a winning combination of word and image sure to challenge young readers both to contemplate big subjects and to act.” 

*Horn Book (starred review)

"Each poem speaks directly from Sidman’s heart to the reader’s, addressing subjects of deep importance.”

*Booklist (starred review)

"Newbery Honor-winner Sidman and Caldecott Honor-winner Zagarenski once again join together to create a beautiful and meaningful book [ . . .]  that pulls readers to a special place.”

School Library Journal

"This spectacular volume rewards careful reading and capably attests to the power of words to praise and comfort, heal and inspire.”  



"Readers just edging toward adult poetry and those filling their notebooks with their own lyrics will find this elegant little title perfect for poetic dreams.”    

Back to Books page

  Copyright © Joyce Sidman 2006-2018.  All rights reserved.