My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 library and was drawn to it because of the title What is Given from the Heart but then upon noticing that it was written by the beloved Patricia C. McKissack, I knew I’d be in for a real treat. This book represents her last picture book for children before she passed in 2017 and just when I thought this story had warmed my heart through and through, I read the dedication from the artist/illustrator April Harrison to her grandchildren and to the late Patricia C. McKissack and found that tugging at my heartstrings too. What April said mirrors the desire I have for my own children:
“I have learned that dreams really do come true and that what God has for you is for you. I pray that you treasure and believe that no matter where you find yourself in this world, God will find you and bestow upon you all that is planned for your life. Your Mission is to be ready and to say YES.”
This book represents April’s first children’s book. I hope to see her illustrate many more. It is noted that she uses a collage style art, including found objects, which I love. It reminds me of another book that is illustrated and written by Oge Mora, Thank You, Omu! The books’ similarities don’t end with the collage style art, they both are books about giving what you have and sharing with others. Make sure to add both of these books to your collection. I already have Thank You, Omu! in my K-5 library but I will soon be adding What is Given from the Heart as well.
Patricia C. McKissack | http://www.patriciamckissack.com/
April Harrison | http://aprilsonggallery.com/
Schwartz & Wade Books
An Imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a Division of Penguin Radom House LLC | rhcbooks.com