My Heart


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


A heart is a very special body part and it's completely up to you as to how you will use it. As you go about the job of living your life, you'll have days when your heart is open and days when your heart is closed.  Days just are going to show up with different experiences and your heart will be listening and watching and feeling its way through all of them.

There will be days when your heart is broken  There will be days when your heart is allowing a seed to be planted and it will be watching to see what wonderful things grow from that seed.  Hearts are smart.

Follow this young girl as she follows her heart from page to page and begins to trust it and understand it and see all of its different feelings.  Happily, she will come to know it is her friend.  Happily she will see she can open her heart when it's the right thing to do and close it when she needs a good wall between her and the world.  It's her heart and how she chooses to use it is what her life will be all about.

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

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