Georgia Heard, the author of two books about using poetry with children, was asked by a school superintendent in Manhattan to gather poems of comfort for children who had witnessed the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11. As she gathered material, this criteria came to her: "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." Eighteen renowned picture book artists contributed illustrations for poems by Wendell Berry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Lillian Morrison, Walt Whitman, and others. This combination yields some wonderful pairings. For example, a watercolor illustration by Hiroe Nakata shows a little girl and her cat rowing a moon-boat; it is opposite a poem by Louise Driscoll that advises: "Oh, keep a place apart / Within your heart, / For little dreams to go."

As city-dwellers, we found a poem by Margaret Tsusda, "Commitment in a City," to be very powerful:

"On the street we two pass.
I do not know you.
I did not see
if you are —

If you should pass again
within the hour,
I would not know it.
Yet —
I am committed to
love you.

You are part of my city,
my universe, my being.
If you were not here
to pass me by,
a piece would be missing
from my jigsaw-puzzle day."

The poems and illustrations in This Place I Know are suitable for both children and adults.