The Heart is for Believing is a vibrantly illustrated picture book celebrating the native intelligence of all children. Author Rouzier Dorce, an education administrator originally from Haiti and now living in Georgia, makes the case that educators should always listen to children with open and curious hearts. When teachers and caregivers take the time and trouble to discover and celebrate every child’s true nature, their students learn and mature. When they emotionally disengage, however, what is at stake is nothing less than their students’ emotional and intellectual well-being. Great teachers lead with their hearts, not with their heads.
Dorce’s narrator is a young man known as J.P. or the “junior philosopher.” He is curious and creative but also profoundly frustrated because he is surrounded by teachers and adults who say they believe all kids can learn but don’t seem to truly believe it. These teachers don’t challenge kids, and as a result, kids don’t learn. Luckily, J.P. has a grandfather who loves him unconditionally. “Gramps” explains to his grandson that he needs to have faith in his own abilities. “The heart is for believing. People who believe accept what they know, try it, test it, and learn to trust it.”
Dorce has written a passionate and loving defense of every child’s potential, but its true audience is adult. The book seems to waiver between the tone and style of a traditional picture book for children ages 3-6 and a polemic for grown-ups. However beautiful the format and design – with lush, compelling illustrations by Jocelyn Warren – it doesn’t fully serve the concept because it is targeted to a preschool audience. Thus, while the sentiment is well considered, it’s hard to say to whom the book will appeal.
Also available in hardcover.