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This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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cover art this place I know
Candlewick Press
I found This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort to be a book that provides both hope and consolation. I appreciate the fact that the poetry addresses so many of the confused emotions that children and adults feel in the face of tragedy.

The origin of This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort

This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort resulted from the tragedy of September 11, 2001, but the poems in it provide comfort to anyone affected by the fear and grief that comes with a major tragedy. The poems were selected by author and teacher Georgia Heard, who said, "I tried to choose poems that touch upon our feelings of fear and loss, remind us that we are not alone in despair, and assure us that dreams can be born even from tragedy." Heard first began gathering poems when the superintendent of district 2 in Manhatten asked Heard to find "poems of comfort" that could be read to the New York City schoolchildren who had experienced the September 11th tragedy.

The Poets and Illustrators

The book features double page spreads, with a single poem on one page and an accompanying illustration on the facing page. Heard showed great sensitivity in her selection of poetry. She included poems by Wendell Berry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Lillian Morrison, among others.

Eighteen different illustrators of children's books provided the artwork, including Kevin Hawkes, Elisa Kleven, Jill McElmurry, Peter Sis, William Steig, Chris Raschka and Melissa Sweet. The artwork, for the most part, complements the written words, and in many cases, brings added depth to the poetry.

Guide Recommendation

Although the book can be shared with children as young as 6, I think that children from 9 to 12, as well as adults and entire families, will particularly benefit from This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort. The poetry invites us to express our sorrow, to find peace and comfort in nature and other people, to look ahead with hope as well as joy, to "strengthen the things that remain," and to remember that everyone the world over, whether they are someone we know or not, has value. This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort is a hardbound book about 40 pages long, with cover art by Peter Sis. New copies can be difficult to find but many public libraries have copies of the book. (Candlewick Press, 2002, 2006. ISBN: 9780763628758)

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