What Is Given from the Heart
This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving. "Misery loves company," Mama says to James Otis. It's been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they're blessed. One Sunday before Valentine's Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service-- the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple's "love box," but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack--with stunning illustrations by Harrison--delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

What Is Given from the Heart Details

TitleWhat Is Given from the Heart
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherSchwartz & Wade Books
ISBN-139780375936159
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Social Issues, Poverty, Cultural, African American, Death, Family

What Is Given from the Heart Review

  • Abigail
    January 1, 1970
    James Otis and his mother are experiencing a difficult time in this lovely, heartwarming picture-book from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrator April Harrison. James Otis' father has recently died, they have lost their farm, and have been forced to move into one of the "shotgun houses" in the Bottoms. Nevertheless, when they hear about the troubles of the Temple family, who have lost everything they own in a fire, they make their best effort to contribute to their church's "love box" for James Otis and his mother are experiencing a difficult time in this lovely, heartwarming picture-book from author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrator April Harrison. James Otis' father has recently died, they have lost their farm, and have been forced to move into one of the "shotgun houses" in the Bottoms. Nevertheless, when they hear about the troubles of the Temple family, who have lost everything they own in a fire, they make their best effort to contribute to their church's "love box" for the needy family. What though, wonders James Otis, can he give that will make any difference? Then, thinking about his pastor's words about giving from the heart, he comes up with an idea for a gift for Sarah, the daughter of the family...I somehow missed this news, but McKissack passed away last year (2017), and this tale, What Is Given from the Heart, is her last story. What a finale! Poignant and powerful, the narrative here examines a number of troubling issues, from the loss of a loved one to the realities of poverty. It also explores important themes like generosity, love, and creativity. I appreciated the fact that James Otis ends up making his gift for Sarah (as his mother does, for Mrs. Temple), and that that gift turns out to be (view spoiler)[a book he has written and illustrated himself (hide spoiler)]. The accompanying illustrations by April Harrison, a fine artist who makes her picture-book debut here, are just lovely, capturing the emotional register of each scene. Highly recommended, to anyone looking for children's stories about the death of a loved one, the experience of poverty, and the practice of love, generosity, and creativity.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    First sentence: It was a rough few months for Mama and me. We were already poor, but we got poorer last April, when Daddy went to sleep on the front porch and never woke up. Mama cried and cried, 'cause Daddy didn't have a suit to be buried in.Premise/plot: The Temple family has lost everything in a fire. The church community is coming together and asking everyone to give something, to give from the heart. James Otis is stumped, especially at first. What can he give of value? He doesn't have any First sentence: It was a rough few months for Mama and me. We were already poor, but we got poorer last April, when Daddy went to sleep on the front porch and never woke up. Mama cried and cried, 'cause Daddy didn't have a suit to be buried in.Premise/plot: The Temple family has lost everything in a fire. The church community is coming together and asking everyone to give something, to give from the heart. James Otis is stumped, especially at first. What can he give of value? He doesn't have anything of value. But he's determined. He must find something to give. His Mama is sacrificing her best tablecloth to make an apron. Maybe James Otis can find something to sacrifice too? One thing he knows...the best gifts come from the heart.My thoughts: I loved this one. It was SO good. I loved, loved, loved James Otis and his Mama. I did. I thought the solution was wonderful and sweet. I loved Sarah Temple's reaction to his gift. This book was just satisfying through and through.Text: 5 out of 5Illustrations: 5 out of 5Total: 10 out of 10
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for an advance look. Such a stunningly beautiful book, the sentiment, and story is powerful and the illustrations are rich and unique.
  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    After his father died, James Otis and his mother got even more poor than before. They lost their farm and had to move into a small house in the Bottoms. Things kept getting worse as his dog disappeared and everything flooded. Christmas was sparse but they made their way through until spring. That’s when their church gave out love boxes to those in need. This year, one family had lost everything in a fire. James Otis was encouraged to give something to the little girl in the family, but what coul After his father died, James Otis and his mother got even more poor than before. They lost their farm and had to move into a small house in the Bottoms. Things kept getting worse as his dog disappeared and everything flooded. Christmas was sparse but they made their way through until spring. That’s when their church gave out love boxes to those in need. This year, one family had lost everything in a fire. James Otis was encouraged to give something to the little girl in the family, but what could he give? He had a few possessions, but he didn’t think she would like any of them. Finally, he had an idea, something that would speak to her heart. At church on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, James Otis gave her the book he had made for her, and she was delighted with it. When he returned home with his mother, they discovered that they too had been given a love box to help them through.McKissack died over a year ago; it is a distinct treat to have another one of her picture books published. Here she focuses on resilience in the face of hardship and adversity as well as the power of giving to others. For the young character of James Otis, thinking of another lifts his spirits and when he creates something for her, you can feel his pride on the page. The text of the book is uplifting and powerful, calling for everyone to step forward and help one another from the heart.Harrison’s illustrations are done in mixed media with acrylics and collage. They have a deep texture to them in places and in others the patterns are layered and beautifully subtle, almost like complex batik. The light in the images glows with a honeyed color, creating a warmth in the face of poverty and a hope that encases the entire book.A beautiful final book for McKissack that calls for heartfelt help for those in need. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
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  • Zack Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted at A to Z Book ReviewsWhat is Given from the Heart is a tale of compassion. James Otis and his mom have struggled ever since James’ father died a few months back. It was a struggle before his death, and now they’ve struggled even more. But when someone in their family’s church has a house fire, their Pastor asks the congregation to bring anything that they can to help the family. “What is given from the heart reaches the heart,” he tells the church.What can James give to the li Originally posted at A to Z Book ReviewsWhat is Given from the Heart is a tale of compassion. James Otis and his mom have struggled ever since James’ father died a few months back. It was a struggle before his death, and now they’ve struggled even more. But when someone in their family’s church has a house fire, their Pastor asks the congregation to bring anything that they can to help the family. “What is given from the heart reaches the heart,” he tells the church.What can James give to the little girl who lost everything? James barely has anything of his own. Is what he owns good enough for this girl? But James’ Mom shows him that even when you think you have nothing, there is always something you can do for another person. What is Given from the Heart is a beautiful and charming tale that shows readers the power of compassion, giving, and joy. This book serves as an excellent lesson on compassion for fellow people in the world. Reading this book will reach your heart.The picture book was written by the late Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison. McKissack died in 2017, and this is her last published work. McKissack has roots in Tennessee. She was born in Smyrna and is a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville. She has written over 100 books in her life. April Harrison’s art is a strikingly beautiful rendering of the story. Harrison is a fine artist and her work has been featured across the united state. This is her first picture book. The book releases on January 8th.
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  • Luciana Babocci
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful story about a mom and a boy named James Otis. They are poor but lose everything when the dad dies. The mom has a very deep relationship with the church, God, and with scripture. She tries to find the best in all situations even though, sometimes, it seems to go from bad to worse. At church, there is a mom and a little girl Sarah who have lost everything in a fire and the community is encouraged to bring whatever would be useful for them; "something given from the heart reaches the he A beautiful story about a mom and a boy named James Otis. They are poor but lose everything when the dad dies. The mom has a very deep relationship with the church, God, and with scripture. She tries to find the best in all situations even though, sometimes, it seems to go from bad to worse. At church, there is a mom and a little girl Sarah who have lost everything in a fire and the community is encouraged to bring whatever would be useful for them; "something given from the heart reaches the heart". The church will be delivering boxes to those in need at the end of the week.All week long, James Otis thinks and thinks what he can give them as they have very little themselves. Mom remakes their best tablecloth into an apron for the mom; she tells James Otis that even though the tablecloth brought her joy, she hopes the apron will bring the mom joy. James Otis is at a loss. He goes through all his things thinking what it is that would make her happy. He remembers a book that cost 10 cents is what had made him most happy. So, with that in mind, he sets off to making a book for her. She is thrilled! When they get home, the church has also delivered a box to them. They, too, have been touched by this blessing!Not only is the story well done, but the illustrations are peaceful and meaningful.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Times are hard for James Otis and his mother, and after his father dies, things get even tougher. Still, despite the lack of material things, they have each other and they have plenty of love to spread around. When their church decides to collect goods and gifts for the Temple family that has lost everything in a fire. James Otis struggles with finding the right gift for Sarah, who is two years younger than him. But he remembers the minister's words about gifts from the heart reaching the heart Times are hard for James Otis and his mother, and after his father dies, things get even tougher. Still, despite the lack of material things, they have each other and they have plenty of love to spread around. When their church decides to collect goods and gifts for the Temple family that has lost everything in a fire. James Otis struggles with finding the right gift for Sarah, who is two years younger than him. But he remembers the minister's words about gifts from the heart reaching the heart and decides to write and illustrate Sarah's very own book. This is a touching, beautifully illustrated book with an important message. Clearly, James Otis and his mother are struggling too, but they still were able to think of others, and their gifts came back to them in a different form. The mixed media illustrations rely on acrylics, collage, art pens, and found objects for their unique appearance. The facial expressions, clothing, and setting show off this rural area and its residents to great advantage. I won't soon forget the story, James Otis and his mother or the simple act of kindness of reaching out to someone in need.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    One of Patricia McKissack's last stories, with debut artist April Harrison's mixed-media illustrations and her own heartfelt dedication, first to her grandchildren and then to Patricia herself. Don't forget to read those words, too. The story shares that James Otis and his mother have come onto hard times. His father has died, they've had to move to 'the bottoms', a rainstorm flooded around them on Friday, the 13th, seems like, as the text tells, "Misery loves company." But, they have a loving c One of Patricia McKissack's last stories, with debut artist April Harrison's mixed-media illustrations and her own heartfelt dedication, first to her grandchildren and then to Patricia herself. Don't forget to read those words, too. The story shares that James Otis and his mother have come onto hard times. His father has died, they've had to move to 'the bottoms', a rainstorm flooded around them on Friday, the 13th, seems like, as the text tells, "Misery loves company." But, they have a loving community in their church that this time calls for help for one family, a mother and child, who lost everything in a fire. Mama takes out the best tablecloth and begins to make it into an apron for the woman, tells James Otis he needs to find something for the girl. There is a calm sweetness in the story, like all of Patricia McKissack's books, that everything will be all right, that even if it seems there is nothing left to give, "What Is Given from the Heart" turn out to be a best thing. The illustrations of collage and muted watercolors are lovely.
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    This book, which came out after the death of author Patricia McKissack, portrays life in a poor area in an unspecified year. The only clues as to date are that Superman already exists and is popular.A boy and his mother fall farther into poverty when the boy's father dies suddenly, but he learns an important lesson in giving and receiving, as they learn of a family even worse off than they are.Artist April Harrison was lured from her usual fine art home to illustrate this book, and her work was This book, which came out after the death of author Patricia McKissack, portrays life in a poor area in an unspecified year. The only clues as to date are that Superman already exists and is popular.A boy and his mother fall farther into poverty when the boy's father dies suddenly, but he learns an important lesson in giving and receiving, as they learn of a family even worse off than they are.Artist April Harrison was lured from her usual fine art home to illustrate this book, and her work was very good. The textures she put into the objects in the story were fascinating.This is a good story about people without much in the way of wealth or possessions, but who still want to take care of each other to the best of their abilities.
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  • Calla Welter
    January 1, 1970
    The main character James has grown up without a lot in his life, but when a girl from his church loses everything he knows he has to help. This story is about James helping Sarah know that he cares and showing her that what is given from the heart reaches the heart. This book was extremely cute, and I really liked it. I liked how this book has good illustrations along with the good Moral story. I think this book would be beneficial in the classroom as talking about caring and loving others! This The main character James has grown up without a lot in his life, but when a girl from his church loses everything he knows he has to help. This story is about James helping Sarah know that he cares and showing her that what is given from the heart reaches the heart. This book was extremely cute, and I really liked it. I liked how this book has good illustrations along with the good Moral story. I think this book would be beneficial in the classroom as talking about caring and loving others! This would be a good lesson after reading the book to ask for a reflection, saying “ What could you do that would make them feel better? Could you visit them? Draw them a pretty p i c t u re? Ta k e th e m a b ou q u e t o f f l ow er s fr om you r ya rd? Or may b e h el p y our mo t h er b a ke some cook i e s for them?” . I really really liked this book and all of the positive vibes through out the story!
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I cried from page 1, but this beautiful story of giving is a must-read! James Otis and his mother don’t have much in the way of materials to help another family when there’s a fire, but both are able to create something from the heart to help the family. The illustrations by April Harrison are a beautiful dedication to McKissack’s final work, too! Give this book as a gift for Valentine’s Day, or read it to someone as a gift from your heart.
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  • Rcltigger
    January 1, 1970
    James Otis and his mother don't have much; his father died and they are struggling. But when a family loses their home to fire, the church that they attend decide to do a "love box" for the family, which are put together for their neediest families. But James Otis and his mother have so little--what could they possibly have to give to this family? A lovely story! The illustrations complemented the text perfectly. They were both simple and detailed at the same time.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book with my 4 year old daughter and my 7 year old son. We all enjoyed it. It begins by letting us in on the many hardships that James Otis and his mother are facing. Then they are made aware of a family in the area that are in need. Though James Otis and his mother are poor, they decide to give. The story mainly focuses on James Otis and how he decides what to give, pondering thoughtfully on what the recipient would like. Very sweet.
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  • Anthony
    January 1, 1970
    The story of a nine year old lad who must think of a love offering to give to a seven year girl whose family has lost all of their earthly possessions in a fire. But what can he give that she would like? As he remembers the words of his Reverend Dennis from one Sunday: "What is given from the heart reaches the heart." These words get him to thinking about the gift he would give.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    James Otis, a young boy who has already had a difficult year, ponders what to give a girl in his community when their pastor requests that parishioners donate gifts for a "Love Box" going to a local family in need.With moving text and wonderful illustrations, this book is sure to warm your heat.
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  • Frances Hotchkiss
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the most heart warming stories ever! "What is given from the heart reaches the heart."If we could all reach down and give the very best we have to offer what a wonderful world this would be! Beautiful unique illustrations!
  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    James Otis and his mother are struggling since his father died, but that doesn't stop them from giving hope to a family who lost everything in a fire. The collage illustration style isn't my favorite, but the message of generosity is lovely.
  • Marcia
    January 1, 1970
    Patricia McKissack's last book, published posthumously. This book shows us that we all have something to give, no matter how poor or down on our luck. A gift from the heart touches another heart. The illustrations are stellar--mixed-media collage which capture just the right feel.
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  • Wendy Garland
    January 1, 1970
    This is a message that needs to be shared. James is challenged to give something to Sarah, but struggles with what that could be. His creativity and heart shine through. I am looking forward to seeing more from this debut illustrator.
  • Edward Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    Pat McKissack's last book, a poignant story of compassion beautifully illustrated.
  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    A struggling mother and son give to a family in need. Beautiful illustrations and words from Patricia McKissack.
  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    Simply beautiful and one I hope young readers reflect upon - what it means to think of others and to give from the heart.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    What a great read aloud this will make!
  • Linda Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    Best Valentine's Day book ever.
  • Syntha Green
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing with gorgeous illustrations. I will be very surprised if this doesn't win an award.
  • Ramona
    January 1, 1970
    Great Book! What a wonderful book about teaching others to think of others! I loved it! I cant wait to read it to my students!
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Touching story of being generous in tough times. Lovely writing and illustrations. Highly recommended for ages 5-9.
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely story of a family with very little sharing what they have for a family who has lost most everything.
  • Tracie
    January 1, 1970
    A young boy tries to find a meaningful gift to give to a young girl whose family has lost everything in a fire.
  • Lorie Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful. The author’s final work before she passed away, lovingly illustrated and teaching a lesson from which all kids will benefit.
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