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Henrico Citizen

By Patty Kruszewski

Boomer Magazine

By Rev. Dr. Brenda Walker

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a Child is a Poem you Learn by Heart

In this collection of expressive free verse, Paulette Whitehurst shares the memories of her upbringing. When the author was a toddler, her mother left her in the home of strangers for four years and removed her from that home at age six bringing her into a world of poverty and poor choices.

This is the true story of her mother’s trial-and-error approach to parenting, her choices, and the ways they affected her daughter. When her mother married for the third time, security and a better life seemed to be within reach, but Whitehurst realized that her mother viewed her as an obstacle to happiness.

The author lived a childhood of loneliness and emotional abuse until she found her voice and the road to her future as an influential, award-winning teacher. 

Check out the trailer for the book!

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Annalise Grey 
 Author of I, Girl and As I disappear



"Lyrical and consuming. One of my favorite reads of the last few years."



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Douglas Scott Jones
Author of Songs from Bedlam


"Written in spare blank verse, A Child is a Poem You Learn by Heart is the story of a bright confused girl seeking to make peace with her young confused mother. By turns brutal and poignant, Whitehurst's memoir is unwavering in its quest for emotional truth."


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Rosemary Rawlins 
Author of All My Silent Years and Learning by Accident



“A vivid portrait of life in the south penned in poetry that plucks clean each heart-pounding story in the space of a few lines. Brilliant, touching, and memorable.”


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Adriana Trigiani
Bestselling author of Tony's Wife

"A Child is a Poem you Learn by Heart is an original, heartfelt and sweeping memoir in free verse of a South Carolina girl who dreams of being a writer and becomes one. The American south of the 1940's comes to life through the eyes of a girl who somehow, despite her youth and pain is able to see beyond the rolling green hills to a place in the greater world where she belongs. Beautiful!" 

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Michele Young-Stone
Author of  Lost in the Beehive, Above Us Only Sky
and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors

"Filled with gorgeous prose, laden with the most precise and tasty details that transport us to another time and place, A Child Is a Poem You Learn by Heart is both heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting. You will fall in love with Paulette, the little girl and the grown woman."

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A Child is a Poem

A child is a newborn idea
that drifts into your life
like the aroma of a fresh-baked pie,
filling a void
you never knew existed,
consuming your life
in ways you never wanted,
needing your creativity
in ways you never expected.

A child is
a muddle of thoughts
that boggles your mind like a familiar tune
you never possessed
and cannot keep within your grasp,
interrupting your sleep
for just the right lines,
draining your strength and inner wisdom,
revealing your soul
for the world to inspect.

A child is a poem you learn by heart,
someone you love
because she's yours,
crafted through your novice trials,
a gift you give to all the world.
A child is a poem you learn by heart.

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