My Heart

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Just open your heart and it’s a start.”

-- The Moody Blues, “The Balance” (1970)

“There are days it’s a fence between me and the world,

days it’s a whisper that can barely be heard.

There are days it is broken,

but broken can mend,

and a heart that is closed

can still open again.”

MY HEART is an exquisitely-illustrated poetry picture book about feelings. The rhythm and rhyme and accompanying illustrations will be readily appreciated by kindergarteners and pre-kindergarteners at circle times. But the poet’s inspired utilization of literary devices in this satisfying read-aloud about emotions makes it equally valuable for sharing and discussing with middle graders and with tweens in a middle school language arts classroom.

MY HEART contains the use of metaphor upon metaphor: Culturally, we employ the heart--a body part--as a metaphor. Our feelings do not really stem from our heart muscles, ventricles, and aorta. Corinna Luyken builds a second layer of metaphor upon this cultural use of heart: “My heart is a window. My heart is a slide…”

Luyken’s yellow/black/graphite gray illustrations were “created with a printmaking process called monotype, using water-based inks and pencil.” The images are atmospheric and intriguing, inviting long, repeated interactions. There are no bold, red, Valentine’s hearts here. Instead, on every single spread, hidden heart shapes--some large, some tiny--lie waiting to be discovered amidst the images.

MY HEART is a real standout. I’ve added the poem to my children’s poetry box, and have begun working on memorizing it.

32 pages            978-0-7352-2793-4          Ages 4-8

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks:


From the author-illustrator of The Book of Mistakes comes a gorgeous picture book about caring for your own heart and living with kindness and empathy.

My heart is a window. My heart is a slide. My heart can be closed...or opened up wide.

Some days your heart is a puddle or a fence to keep the world out. But some days it is wide open to the love that surrounds you.

With lyrical text and breathtaking art, My Heart, My Heart empowers all readers to listen to the guide within in this ode to love and self-acceptance.--from the publisher

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