#SurvivalStories2021 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes Stories Of The Dispossessed

[Poetry Friday] “A Poem To Heal The Heart”

... by Zetta Elliott and Noa Denmon.

Myra here.

Thank you to Margaret at Reflections On The Teche for hosting this week.


A Place Inside Of Me: A Poem To Heal The Heart [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Zetta Elliott Illustrated by Noa Denmon
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (2020).
ISBN: 9780374307417 (ISBN10: 0374307415). Literary Award: Caldecott Nominee. Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I was thrilled to find this poetry picture book via Overdrive, as I have been seeing it make the rounds among the kidlitosphere community.


In this picturebook in verse, a beautiful Black boy is portrayed as going through a myriad of emotions from joy to sorrow, fear to anger, hunger to pride, peace and compassion, to finally hope and love.


I don’t know how Zetta Elliott accomplishes it, but she was able to portray these complex emotions without diminishing their magnitude – and the fact that they can be overwhelming and is rooted someplace that is still hurting and wounded, but capable of nursing its own pain. I suspect this is where Noa Denmon comes in with the artwork that alludes to contemporary events, linking the poetry to something tangible, and thus ultimately malleable: the future in the reader’s hands.

For my Poetry Friday offering, I am sharing my favourite spread on love as I find it to be a benediction on the reader – and on a future that will be challenging and difficult, yes, but there is, and always will be, love.

And where there is love, there are “trees, sparrows, sunlight and the rain” – and blessings, a universe-ful of blessings. It is, indeed, a poem that heals the heart.


#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 57 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

9 comments on “[Poetry Friday] “A Poem To Heal The Heart”

  1. A Place Inside of Me sounds like a beautiful book. Thank you for sharing a couple of pages to show that indeed: “she was able to portray these complex emotions without diminishing their magnitude” Beautiful!

    Myra, it was fun to read your bio, as well. I hope you can find a place to “smash that shuttlecock to smithereens.” It seems it would be an easy court to create on some gymnasium floor. I hope you can bring a new fad to the UAE. Badminton is a delightful sport, and at first accessible for beginners, too. I’m in Bahrain, and members can play badminton at the British Club. 🙂


  2. Linda Mitchell

    Beautiful! I think I need…no, I know I need this book for the shelves of my library.


  3. Thanks for sharing this book, Myra. I like that it is on Overdrive. Once I settle into my new home, I will venture over to the library. I like the cycles that are listed: #from joy to sorrow, fear to anger, hunger to pride, peace and compassion, to finally hope and love.”


  4. lindabaie

    It is on my list, Myra. The pages you shared are lovely & the strong feelings feel so true, about many young people. I’m wishing so many weren’t so in need. Thanks!


  5. maryleehahn

    Zetta Elliot is a force for good in the world. Thanks for spotlighting this book. Looks like lots of us are headed to the library to get our hands on a copy!


  6. I was struck with your comment on the author showing complex emotions without diminishing them. Thanks for sharing this title. I’d love to read it and have placed it on my list of books to read.


  7. haitiruth

    Here’s to healing the heart, in all the ways that happens! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


  8. What a wonderful book – thank you for highlighting it!


  9. margaretsmn

    You said it well when you wrote that this book deals with big emotions without diminishing them. They actually feel honored, especially the verse about love. Thanks for sharing this beautiful book.


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