Poetry Friday: Gearing up for #PoetryOutLoud with Gwendolyn Brooks – and “I Am Today” in Korean?!?

Tonight’s the night!

I will once again be a performance judge for the Poetry Out Loud New Hampshire State Finals at the NH Statehouse in Concord. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition among high school students, and the winners of the state regional finals are meeting this evening to find out who is the best in the state!

So today I wanted to share another poem from the Poetry Out Loud catalog, this time by the incredibly gifted poet Gwendolyn Brooks who, at 33 yars of age, became the first black writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

In addition to her poetry for adults, she also published a collection of poems about (and for) children in 1956, titled Bronzeville Boys and Girls. It was titled as such because it was more or less a follow-up companion book (well, sort of) to her highly-acclaimed A Street in Bronzeville, which had been published in 1945.

Think about that for just a minute. A woman. Who was black. Writing for children. Being published in the ’50’s. When you consider how rare it was in that culture for someone like Brooks, with so much against her, to be published and receive that amount of recognition – well, it was something pretty special.

Fortunately, Poetry Out Loud offers several of Brooks’ poems for students to choose, including this gem:

.

a song in the front yard

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play… (continue reading HERE)

.
– © 1963 Gwendolyn Brooks

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In other news…I have a Korean translation of one of my books!

How cool is this?? Last year, the publisher of I Am Today, POW! Kids Books, hired a Korean company to pick some of their books to translate and market overseas, and mine was selected as one they felt would be successful. I have no idea how the rhymes would translate to another language, but I’m dying to track down a copy and find out!

For today’s Poetry Friday roundup head on over to my friend Laura Purie Salas’ little home on the web, Small Reads for Brighter Days, where she is celebrating her multiple pring book releases and gearing up for National Poetry Month by “digging” for poems!

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I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaur breath or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”
  • “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Why on Earth”

As the guys from Monty Python used to say, “and now for something completely different.”

I’ve been doing a lot of random writing these days – from poems to picture books and back and forth – and I recently wrote a poem I had no idea what to do with.

So to the blog, it goes!

It’s a bit fantastical in its premise, which is that of a giant mound swelling up in the middle of a road for no particular reason. I can’t say I recall how the idea came to me, but I began imagining what it might be like to witness such an event and this is what fell out of my head.

.

Why on Earth

would the earth

rise up in a hill
in the middle of the day
in the middle of the road,
cars slipping
sideways, backwards, into
others unfortunate enough
to be driving at this very moment
as young mothers grasp at prams
rolling off the sidewalk onto
expanding grass, and one poor fellow
who decided today
was the day
he would bicycle to school
tries in vain to remain
balanced
rolling into a crowd of upside-down
onlookers, caps off, glasses
crushed beneath grass-stained derrières,
anxious and perplexed
about today’s extraordinary event
of earth
rising up
in a hill
in the middle of the road
in the middle of the day.

.
– © 2023 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

For today’s Poetry Friday roundup, head over to My Juicy Little Universe, where Heidi Mordhorst is celebrating the “Odes of March” with some of her favorite spring-themed poems – as well as two originals you simply HAVE to read!

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I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaur breath or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”
  • “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Gearing up for #PoetryOutLoud with Francisco X. Alarcón

Before we get to today’s post, I’d like to again thank my friend Jessica Whipple for inviting me to host the official cover reveal of her next picture book this past Tuesday! If you missed the post, please be sure to check it out and learn why it’s such a unique and important book that many, many children in the country need.

You may recall a couple of weeks ago I shared a Poetry Out Loud poem by my friend Nikki Grimes. If you don’t recall, Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition among high school students, and I’m proud to once again be a performance judge for the Poetry Out Loud New Hampshire State Finals coming up next month.

So today I wanted to share another poem from the Poetry Out Loud catalog, this time by the incredibly talented Francisco X. Alarcón. Born in the US but raised in Mexico, Alarcón returned to the States where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Alarcón was adept at writing for both children as well as adults, and had a simple – yet simply profound – style that all ages could read and enjoy. Like this…

.

Jaguar

some say
I’m now almost
extinct in this park

but the people
who say this
don’t know

that by smelling
the orchids
in the trees

they’re sensing
the fragrance
of my chops… (continue reading HERE)

.
– © 2008 Francisco X. Alarcón

Tabatha Yeatts is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at The Opposite of Indifference, where she features a funny – if not sobering – found poem by her eldest daughter!

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~ Read Across America Day ~

I’m once again offering free, 20-minute virtual visits all day Thur., March 2, for Read Across America Day! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots are filling up.

If you would be interested in having a children’s author join your class for a free 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I’ll read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaur breath or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”
  • “A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Cover Reveal! “I Think I Think A Lot” by Jessica Whipple

My friend, Jessica Whipple, is having a banner year – she has not one, but TWO debut picture books coming out this year – within months of each other! Although it’s not something one can really plan, it’s certainly thrilling when it happens.

Jessica and I have been following each other’s careers for several years now, so I was honored when she asked if I would be interested in hosting the official cover reveal for her second picture book, I Think I Think A Lot, from Free Spirit Publishing.

Congratulations on your second picture book, Jessica! Your first, Enough Is… (Tilbury House, 2023), is coming out in just a couple of months and now this new one, I Think I Think A Lot is due out 4 months later, in August! That’s pretty cool for a debut author. So how are you feeling???

Jessica Whipple

I’m thrilled! And thank you for the congrats! It feels like a lot is happening at once, but I’m enjoying the ride, enjoying working on all of the prelaunch promotions and making connections. It feels really good to have brought an idea this far and to see it finally coming to fruition. I feel incredibly honored and touched by the reception my books and I are getting before they’re even out in the world. (As we speak, they’re on a ship in the ocean, which is making everything so very real to me!).

I Think I Think A Lot tells the story of a neurodiverse girl who does a lot more “thinking” than others; share with us a little about the book and how your experience with OCD led you to write it.

The book follows a girl whose interior life feels different than that of her peers. She gets “hung up” on things. She worries. She obsesses. And that makes her change her behavior. For example, she worries about appearing greedy, so she says “thank you” effusively. These are just some things that she worries about, and they’re also some of the things I got hung up on as a kid.

The text of the book never says the character has OCD, but in my author’s note I share that I have it and that’s what has inspired the book. I wanted to write about OCD because I feel like it’s a unique experience that I’ve been given. So many times I’ve felt cursed by it, but I wanted to write this to redeem my experience with it and hopefully show that worry can be hard—OCD, general anxiety, overthinking, whatever it might be. But sometimes on the underside of something that seems bad, there is something good. 

It’s certainly good to have a picture book in which neurodiverse kids who may struggle with ADHD, autism, etc. can see themselves, but do you think it might be something other readers will enjoy and learn from?

Yes! Because everyone worries! Some say “we all have a little bit of OCD,” but I don’t know if I agree with that. I’m not certain that’s actually true. But we all DO worry from time to time! And the girl in this book compares herself to others. Of course we all do that.

Much like mine, your children’s writing comes from a background in poetry. How did your knowledge of that genre help you write this book – or any of your books?

Well, I think of myself as a folk poet, because I don’t have any formal training or an MFA to speak of. But my enjoyment of poetry comes from the freedom of a free verse poem, the imagery that’s so helpful to readers there. It’s so similar to a lyrical picture book that I can’t help but compare the two genres/formats. So I guess because they’re similar, I use some of the loose “rules” of poetry to inform how I write my picture books. I have LOTS of room to grow poetry-wise, so I’m excited to see how my picture books change as I continue to work on and experiment with my poetry.

I know when I’m writing a picture book I have a certain vision or style of illustration in my head, and sometimes it’s similar to what an editor chooses and sometimes it’s completely different – but I’ve yet to be disappointed, ha! So before we get to the official reveal, tell me what you thought of Josée Bisaillon’s illustrations. Were you surprised at all?

Ohmygoodness. I love her work – her style is absolutely what I had in mind. When I found out Free Spirit had chosen Josée Bisaillon, I realized she illustrated Out into the Big Wide Lake, which I LOVE, and felt so lucky to be working with her. And I especially love the cover. There’s a trumpet, which is EXTRA special because I played the trumpet as a kid (but Josée didn’t know that!)

Well, congratulations again, Jessica, it’s been so nice to see your career developing over the past few years and I’m thrilled for you that you have two books coming out already!

Thanks, Matt. That’s very kind of you to say.

So now, folks, without any further ado…we present the cover…
for I Think I Think A Lot!

.

.

.

Pre-orders are available now, so click the cover to be sure you get your own SIGNED copy!

A little bit about Jessica:

Jessica has a background in marketing/communications. She spent some time as a copywriter; later she did communications for a Pennsylvania nonprofit. These days, she writes picture books and poetry for both adults and children. She has sold articles to Highlights that are awaiting placement and is a long-term DIY contributor to Wildflowers: A Creative Magazine for Girls. She is also a volunteer reader for Ember, one of the Empire and Great Jones Little Press literary magazines.

She and her family recently moved from Pittsburgh to Lancaster, PA. Jessica and her husband Matthew have two daughters who love to read, too. Collectively, their library overdue fines have a dedicated line-item in the monthly budget.

Jessica loves to create with words, and really anything else she can get her hands on. She is an avid crafter who has refinished antique dining chairs, crocheted sweaters, designed and built miniature mouse houses, and once hoarded a mess of zebra grass with the hopes of making a wreath. She is learning to play the ukulele.

.

~ Read Across America Day ~

Would you like to have an author visit your classroom for free? As I do each year, I’m once again offering free, 20-minute virtual visits all day Thur., March 2, for Read Across America Day! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots are filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I’ll read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Dog-eared books, comfort zones, and blue corn mush – an interview with “Everybody Counts!” illustrator Emma Graham

It’s Friday, and that means it’s Poetry Friday – and yes, I have a very apropos poem coming up! But first – I’m so excited to welcome my Everybody Counts! illustrator and fellow SCBWI member Emma Graham to Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme today.

Thanks so much for joining me here at the ol’ blog, Emma. I have to say it again:  I love what you did for the illustrations. Before we get into that, though, I wanted to ask about what led you to becoming a children’s book illustrator. After graduating Norfolk Institute of Art, you had done a lot of corporate artwork like greeting cards, album covers, and sculpture painting, so how did you find your way to where you are now?

© Emma Graham

Hi, Matt, thanks for asking me! I trained as a graphic designer and worked a while in publishing and packaging design, then when my children came along I fell back in love with children’s books. I read a lot as a child and still have many of my books. It was a joy to read with my children and see their love of books develop.

There is something rather special about a dog eared book that a child wants read over and over again. I decided to give it a go, my early attempts weren’t good, but I refused to give up and it is so lovely to see my work in print. But without the authors there would be no books, it is a partnership, we bring each other’s work to life.

Aside from honing your craft, where there any specific skills or things you learned over the past 30 years that helped with this transition?

I’m always learning. Each project brings new challenges in research and design. I try to bring something fresh and new to each book and I love experimenting with new techniques and colour pallettes.

Well, I have to say I love the color palette you chose for our book – it’s soft, but vibrant, as well. So please tell me how you began your approach to illustrating Everybody Counts!

Sherry at The Little Fig sent over your wonderful text for me to read through and sketch ideas. I have to be honest, I started with children (which I imagine you were expecting), but drawing humans is way out of my comfort zone, and after many pages of sketching I felt that I just couldn’t capture the beautiful diversity of all those cultures.

As much as anything, I didn’t want to get something wrong, so I went back to [editor] Sherry Bushue with my worries, we discussed it and we said how about the animal – which I LOVE drawing – from each of those cultures. Then it was into the research of the animals, culture, food and all the little extra elements like pattern that I love to add.

Are those watercolors or digital? They certainly have the look of being hand-painted.

All hand drawn and painted in acrylic ink, which is similar in many ways to watercolour but a bit more versatile to build layers and keep colours vibrant. My artwork is then scanned and tidied in photoshop, ready to send to Sherry and the designer.

What did you find most challenging about the project? Any surprises along the way?

I think the hardest part was finding reference to the Navajo taa’niil, not an easy recipe to find!

© 2023 The Little Fig, LLC & Emma Graham, all rights reserved (click to enlarge)

Ah, yes – blue corn mush! So how was the process for Everybody Counts! different from the process for other books you’ve illustrated, like Señior Saguaro or Symphony Hollow?

There was much more research with ‘Everybody Counts’ with the 12 different cultures. Usually a picture book will have one main character and a few others that pop up on their journey. With 12 cultures, there were all the animals, food, settings, numbers, patterns and countries to ‘get right’.

Trust me, I can guess how much research you must have done – this book probably took me longer to write than any other!

Thank goodness for the internet and my collection of many books. I have to admit the recipes were wonderful, it made me rather hungry and wanting to try new things, I saved the recipes on Pinterest and think Sherry will add a link on the website to these to link in with the book.

I’m so glad to hear Sherry will be sharing the recipes – I’d wanted to include them in the book but quickly realized the amount of information would be overwhelming for a reader. Now, I know you have several books of your own that you’re working on; are there any upcoming projects you’re at liberty to share?

Ha ha, yes, I love to write, too. I think at last count I have 18 picture book stories written and 2 YA novels. I’d love to have one or more of my own published. I’m in discussion with a UK publisher at the moment, so fingers crossed.

One of my stories, ‘The Owl Who Wanted to Sing’ was a finalist in Stratford Literary Festival’s Stratford-Salariya Prize for picture books 2017. It was inspired by an owl who would sit in the tree outside my bedroom window and hoot at dawn. It made me smile, so I wrote the story.

© 2023 Emma Graham, all rights reserved (click to enlarge)

Well, I wish you the best with getting it placed, Emma – and congratulations on your other books and projects, as well! I hope we get to work together again at some point.

Speaking of working together…

I had asked Emma to send me a favorite illustration of hers that I could write a poem about – and she sent me the most colorful, fun, energetic picture I could have asked for:

Ocoustic-pus

I have a diverse sort of musical soul;
my style is folk-polka-rock ‘n roll.
If you happen to take in one of my shows,
I’ll have you dancing and tapping your toes.

So let’s join together!
Quick, go grab a mic!
We can play any music or rhythm we’d like.
Alas, no big band or jazz tunes yet –
I’ve no way of holding a clarinet.

© 2023 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

Molly Hogan is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone, so be sure to head on over and check out all the poetry links and fun!

Read Across America Day ~

Would you like to have an author visit your classroom for free? I’m once again offering free, 20-minute virtual visits all day Thur., March 2, for Read Across America Day! I’m usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long – and spots are filling up.

If you’ woul’d be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I’ll read one of my books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2023 spring semester:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book (featuring “Flashlight Night”)
  • How a Child Saved a Book (featuring “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur”)
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book (featuring “Flashlight Night”)
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Gearing up for #PoetryOutLoud with Nikki Grimes

I’m very excited to once again be a performance judge for the Poetry Out Loud New Hampshire State Finals!

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition where students are judged on a number of criteria including stage presence, vocal clarity, dramatic interpretation, etc. Students recite a wide array of poems, styles, and poets from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Alex Dimitrov, which means there is wide latitude for students to choose poems that speak to them and resonate with them.

The other day I was looking through the Poetry Out Loud website’s catalog of poems and was pleasantly surprised to see not one, but two poems by my esteemed friend, Nikki Grimes!

I knew right then that I was going to have to share one of them for Poetry Friday.
.

Stomp
by Nikki Grimes

I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones… (continue reading the poem HERE)

.
The poem is about strength, resilience, and the power of words – and I thought it was a perfect poem to share. If you are unfamiliar with Nikki’s work, I hope you’ll check out her website.

~ Read Across America Day ~

In other news, I had so much fun with World Read Aloud Day a couple of weeks ago that I’m going to be offering MORE free, 20-minute virtual visits all day AGAIN next month, for Read Across America Day, sponsored by the NEA!

Read Across America Day spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Thur., March 2, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots will be filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I’ll read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.

Another friend of mine, Carol Varsalona, is hosting today’s Poetry Friay roundup at her blog Beyond Literacy Link with a cavalcade of poetry postcards celebrating the Year of the Rabbit!


I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Signing, visiting, reminiscing

It’s been quite a busy couple of weeks for Yours Truly.

About a week and a half ago, I visited Bartlett Elementary School in Pinardville, NH for a day-long school visit. I shared my books Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books, 2018) and Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) as well as the stories behind the books, and also shared some of my poetry as part of a 4th grade poetry workshop. I talked to the students about different forms & styles and then led them in an exercise to ask questions about their subject and write a poem based on what they learned.

The kids had fun, I had fun, and the teachers all seemed to enjoy it, too – but the really, really cool thing for me was that this was my very first school I ever attended!

Way back in the ’70s, I had first grade with Miss Doherty (don’t know if I spelled that correctly), and now here we are in 2023 and I returned to share what I’ve learned about writing all these years in-between. It’s cliche to say, but it really felt like a ‘coming home’ sort of thing, especially when I saw my name on the sign.

I was thrilled that parents were so supportive, too! A number of them ordered copies of my books for their children, and yesterday, after having personally-signed all of them, I delivered all the books to the school:

Offering personally-signed copies is a great way to remind students of the experience of an author visit, and I try to work with local independent bookstores whenever possible. In this case, it was our hometown bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds.

In other news, I had a great time sharing my books and the craft of writing with students all over the country yesterday as part of World Read Aloud Day! Many thanks to all the teachers and librarians who helped make this happen – including Amy Hickman and her class at Anna C. Scott School in New Jersey:

I had so much fun with World Read Aloud Day, I’m going to be offering free, 20-minute virtual visits all day AGAIN next month, for Read Across America Day! If you’d like me to join your class or library, just scroll a wee bit down and you’ll see the details.

With all this talk about kids and reading and writing and such – and the nostalgia of returning to my orginial elementary school – I thought I’d share one of my first children’s poems ever, and one that spurred me to begin considering getting into the field of children’s literature.

I wote it about my two older daughters and although I’ve shared it before (you can see the original post HERE), it’s been about five years since anyone has seen it so I thought today might be the perfect time to dust it off and share it again:
.

Taylor Park, St. Albans, VT

Downtown at Taylor Park

Lovely Lauren, little daughter,
fishing in the fountain water,
looking for a leafy fin –
leaned too far and tumbled in.

Katie-B was fishing, too,
doing what her sister do.
Closed her eyes and made a wish…
don’t know how, but caught a fish!

– © 1999 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

For today’s Poetry Friay roundup, please visit my friend Laura Shovan’s blog where she shares a review of our mutual friend Laura Purdie Salas’ upcoming new picture book, Finding Family (Lerner, 2023).


~ Read Across America Day ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

Read Across America Day, sponsored by the NEA, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Thur., March 2, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots will be filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Remembering U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic

Sometimes, you’re just so busy you miss important news. Like the passing of former U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, about 20 days ago.

Photo credit: Scott Cook.

Simic was one of New Hampshire’s great celebrities, having lived here in the Granite State since 1971 and garnering not only the title of U.S. Poet Laureate but receiving multiple awards including a Pulitzer for his book, The World Doesn’t End.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard anything about his death until I stumbled upon an article in one of our state’s newspapers.

So I felt I should probably set aside a blog post recognizing his passing and sharing one of his poems, to introduce him to anyone who may not be familiar with his work.

Simic was adept at saying a lot with a little – which might seem a pretty standard thing for poets – but his poetry had insight, wit, and a unique lyrical quality, written with a singular sense of word economy. Consider, for example, his poem “Evening Walk”:
.

Evening Walk

You give the appearance of listening
To my thoughts, o trees,
Bent over the road I am walking
On a late summer evening
When every one of you is a steep staircase
The night is descending.

The leaves like my mother’s lips
Forever trembling, unable to decide…

(read the rest of the poem here)

.
Think about that. Each tree is a staircase that the night is descending. Leaves are like trembing, indecisive lips. And there is so much more to the poem than just the connections and imagery. Poems like this force the reader to stop, re-read, re-read again, and come away with some new insight every time.

For those keeping score, Simic was New Hampshire’s 5th U.S. Poet Laureate from 2007-2008, and served in the position previously held from 2006-2007 by another Granite Stater, the esteemed Donald Hall. One of the reasons I love living where I do is because of the intense creativity this particular area holds; Hall lived just half an hour up the road, and another U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin, hailed from my own town.

NH’s two other Poets Laureate were Richard Eberhart and the great Robert Frost, the latter of whom graduated from my wife’s high school. So like I said, I have a certain fondness for this state and the literature we put out. Our state might not be the biggest geographically, but we’re definitely big on literary talent.

For more poetry, visit Marcie Flinchum Atkins, who is hosting today’s Poetry Friay roundup with a look at some STEM poetry collections and a winter haiku!


~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: #CYBILS Awards Round 2 Finalists announced!

…..

I have to apologize for my self-centeredness lately – I’ve been so caught up in the fact my new picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, LLC) is now out (and YES, I have a winner to announce, below), that I completely neglected to share the news that the CYBILS Awards Round 2 finalists have been chosen and officially announced!

I was honored to be one of the Round 1 panelists for Poetry again, and we were charged with quite the task: comb through all the books nominated for both poetry colelctions as well as verse novels, and come up with what we felt were the best five in both categories. Whew! More than 60 books later, we finally pulled our lists together and you can read about them at the CYBILS website.

Keep in mind, these lists did not come about easily; we all had our favorites and spent a great deal of time debating, deliberating, and throwing fisticuffs. (well, two outta three) Seriously, though, there were so many outstanding books we really had to weigh quality of writing, reader appeal, and other factors to determine the best of the best.

So now, they move on – and the round 2 judges will pick the winners. If you’d like to check out all the Poetry Friday posts, head over to Susan Thomsen’s blog, Chicken Spaghetti, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup where she is sharing an original poem, “Vintage.”

~ GIVEAWAY ~
.

That’s right, we have a winner to announce! As I told you two weeks ago, you only had a linited time to enter the giveaway for a free copy of Everybody Counts! – and now I get to tell the world that the winner of a free, personally-signed copy is…

ROSE CAPELLI!

Out of all the names entered, Rose’s name was picked by the ol’ random number generator, so congratulations, Rose!


~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

=====================================================

I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

======================================================

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

=====================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

======================================================

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “when bricks fall”

Hey there, loyal blog follower! I’ve got a massively depressing poem coming up in just a few short paragraphs, so get ready for an emotionally draining blog post. Before we get there, though, I want to remind you that you have just one more week to enter my giveaway for Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023), my new picture book that is officially available EVERYWHERE!

all images © 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

Earlier this week, I celebrated the book’s #BookBirthday right here, so if you want to enter the drawing, check out the post and leave a comment.

The book features 12 animals of varying ethnicities teaching the reader how to count to ten in each of their languages, along with an ethnic name and food item.

Languages included in the book:

  • Swedish
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portugese
  • Arabic
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Navajo
    .

Readers will soon have the opportunity to learn more at the The Little Fig website with links to pronunciation videos and more. You can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target. Plus, my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, offers personally-signed copies – just let them know you’d like one when you place your order!

And by the way, I hope you’ll take a minute and check out this WONDERFUL REVIEW of Everybody Counts! from Maria Marshal!

Ok, enough happiness.

when bricks fall

when bricks fall
what happens next
when all you had
and all you knew
…..love
…..dreams
…..broken beams
collapses right in front of you

when bricks fall
debased remains
lie shattered
…..scattered
……….sad debris

when bricks fall

what happens next

this is not the way
it’s supposed to be

– © 2023 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

…..

Hey, I warned you.

Funny thing is, I’m actually pretty happy – you know, with the new book and the previous book and projects on the way and school visits coming up, and –

Well, you know poets. We see a pile of bricks on the ground and our imaginations and emotions just take over. I’m actually kind of proud of this poem because you don’t often see dismal, sorrowful poems written in rhyme these days – it often takes away from the emotional impact. But I really wanted to incorporate the rhyme to create a sort of musical backdrop without being too heavy-handed. Hopefully it worked.

And as long as everyone’s feeling glum and melancholy now, why not head over to the Poetry Friday roundup at Reading to the Core, where Catherine and her friends have created an exquisite corpse? Think I’m joking? I kid you not. Check it out!
.

~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.


Proud to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year:

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2022)

or order now, directly from the publisher!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!