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In the midst of the wonderful chaos of being a new mama, I was looking for something to read that would affirm the positive vibes that I’m feeling and know are out there in the world. The inspirational poems in Cleo Wade’s Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life fit the bill perfectly, reminding me of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata in their quiet wisdom.

Wade is an advocate for girls and women, stating that “the best thing about girl power is that over time it turns into woman power.” Her book reads like a heart-to-heart with a friend, and in it she reflects on how love and forgiveness can help us learn to appreciate the ups and downs in our lives.  

Full of empowering poetry, Heart Talk is ideal for reading on the go and is full of small themes that inspire women to have courage and believe in themselves. In poems like “I did not lose the lesson,” Wade reminds us of the universal experience of learning from our experiences and becoming stronger. “[O]ur mistakes, when met with awareness and personal responsibility, are actually what introduce us to our best selves,” she wisely says. On the topic of power, she counsels, Know that you are strong… The best thing about strength is that when you embody it, you further it, you get stronger.”

Similar to Sabrina Ward Harrison’s artful Spilling Open-The Art of Becoming Yourself, this book is one I connected instantly with and will add to my go-to list of recommendations. In these troubling times, Heart Talk is a beacon of light in the darkness, reminding us all of the power of the heart.

Megan Fink Brevard

Megan Fink Brevard, a school librarian, began her career in children’s book publishing. She is an active member of YALSA and has served on national award committees such as the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature 2018 and the YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults 2012. She has also served on the Teen Read Week and the Best Books for Young Adults committees.