Poetry Friday: “More Than We Are”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllThis post was originally published 5 years ago, on June 14, 2013. Considering all the graduations taking place this past week, I thought it might be a good idea to re-post it. (You also may also be inclined to check out my message to graduates, which was posted that same week)

=========================================================Where does the time go? One minute your kids are starting kindergarten and the next thing you know, they’re heading off to prom and graduation and the rest of their life.

Whew, that was quick.

My youngest daughter, Katherine, is graduating high school this weekend, so there was no question for me as to what poem I should share today.  Katherine is a very talented young woman, whose photography has graced more than a few blog posts here. She was selected as a New Hampshire Scholar for her above-average course load while in high school, and I’m very proud of her.

I wrote this a little over a year ago – and although it’s not really ‘about’ her, the message was created with her, her two older sisters, and all young people in mind.

(Good grief, I just used the phrase “young people.” That makes me think I might not be one of them anymore.)

“More Than We Are (for Katherine)”

An astronaut’s an astronaut,
but might be someone’s dad
who takes his daughter fishing
when she feels a little sad.
A banker is a banker
but could be a mom, as well,
who shows her son the alphabet
and helps him learn to spell.

A teacher is a teacher
but might be a singer, too.
The janitor at school may wish
he ran the local zoo.
Half of KatieHis son might be a doctor
who is saving someone’s life;
the lady at the store today
might be the doctor’s wife.

Each homeless person on the street,
each writer of a song,
each boy or girl you chance to meet
has somewhere they belong.
There’s always more than what we see,
and as we learn and grow,
we’re all more than we seem to be –

and you’re more than you know.
.

– © 2012, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, please visit illustrator & wordsmith Michelle Kogan’s blog – where you’ll also find her review of Margaret Simon’s brand-new poetry collection, Bayou Song (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2018)!

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR”
& “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”
are available everywhere!

It’s another signing – this time, in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region! I won’t be able to be there, unfortunately, but Dinosaur‘s co-author, Deb Bruss will be – so I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area.

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

You can now purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, and ANY of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH will let me know, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The Summer Shindig is Here!

(click to enlarge)

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Just look at those blue skies…a perfect day for a cookout, wouldn’t you say?

Well, that’s just what we’re doing here at the ol’ Triple-R!

A number of years ago, David L. Harrison began hosting a little summertime get-together at his blog, and Joy “The Poetry Princess” Acey and I had so much fun we offered to move it to one of our blogs this year, so David could just sit back and enjoy his burger and an ice-cold adult beverage without the worry of cooking or cleaning up.

By the way, David’s a busy fellow – in addition to his newest poetry collection, Crawly School for Bugs (Wordsong, 2018), he also has a chapter in a new book co-published by the ILA, the cover of which you can see to your right. (Congratulations, David!) If you’d like to lern more about the book, you can visit this blog post.

I also have some good publishing news, too, which I shared a couple weeks ago here. Another picture book contract! I’ll be sure to keep you posted as we move forward.

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

So please grab a bench or lawn chair and relax! We don’t have a pool, but you’re welcome to take a dip in the stream in back, or in the pond across the street – or we can just spray each other with the hose.

Can I get you some deviled eggs or some ribs? Perhaps some barbecued eggplant or blueberry-corn salad for the vegans And don’t worry, there’s plenty of Moxie! (I always keep a supply)

Since poetry is all about observation, I thought the above photo – taken here in town the other day – was a perfect opportunity for us to observe. My 4-year-old daughter and I spent a good 15 minutes trying to see what we could find in the clouds; I was quite impressed that she was able to pick out a dog, an alligator, and a velociraptor, among other things. In this photo, I spy a mirror-image Italy, a profile of a person with a large nose, and a cat chasing a mouse, while my wife spotted a dove in flight – not as part of the clouds, but in the blue sky. What do YOU see?

Oh, and let’s not forget a little poetry…

Speaking of clouds, I thought I’d re-share this poem I wrote almost exactly 2 years ago. I took the photo while walking home from our town library and knew I had to come up with some words to go with it!

I hope you’ll join in and leave a line or two about your favorite part of summer, or share a favorite summer poem or song! And for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to head over to Karen Edmisten’s little home on the web!

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” & “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”
are available everywhere!

What’s this? Another signing! This time, it’s in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region! I won’t be able to be there, unfortunately, but Dinosaur‘s co-author, Deb Bruss will be – so I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area.

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

You can now purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, and ANY of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH will let me know, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Born to Dance”

Would you like a personally-signed copy? Just click the link and let the bookstore know! I’ll sign it before they ship it out to you!

Time flies when you’re having book launches.

And writing. And trying to be a parent.

So it should come as no surprise that I completely forgot to share this poem – which I wrote in April as part of Michelle H. Barnes’ blog feature on my new book, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books).

As part of Michelle’s “Ditty of the Month Challenge,” my co-author, Deborah Bruss, and I challenged Michelle’s readers to write a poem about something one would not expect (or want) a dinosaur to do.

I figured I would start things off by writing a poem myself and sharing it with Michelle’s readers…and after she posted it, I completely forgot about it!

So here it is, 2 months later, and I’m just now getting around to sharing it here at the ol’ Triple-R. Better late then never, right?

Born to Dance

Young Colette could pirouette,
turn out, and then jeté.
Statuesque at arabesque,
she’d bend to a plié
and twirl adagio – then allegro –
landing a croisé!
I’d never seen a T-Rex
so accomplished at ballet.

– © 2018 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

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Looking for more poetry? You’re in luck! Kiesha Shepard is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with Summer’s Song, dancing in the twilight while white caps and tanker ships dance in the sea…be sure to stop by & say hi!

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is available everywhere!

Well, what do you know…we have another signing lined up, and this time it’s in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region! I won’t be able to be there, unfortunately, but Dinosaur‘s co-author, Deb Bruss will be, so I hope you’ll consider stopping by if you’re in the area.

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

You can now purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, and ANY of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH will let me know, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Lost My Touch” AND New Publishing news!!

(Tell you what…let me share the publishing news first. Because I can’t wait to tell you!)

Earlier this week, I signed a contract with The Little Fig, LLC, a new, small independent publisher in Kansas, to package a book I’ve written titled Everybody Counts!, a creative nonfiction picture book for children 5-9 years old.

The premise: twelve children of diverse ethnicities are putting on a street fair; as they prepare, each teaches the reader how to count to 10 in their native language, as well as a popular ethnic food item and child’s name. In this way, the term “everybody counts” takes on a double-meaning. Phonetic pronunciations of the numbers and sidebars are also included.

You cannot imagine the amount of time it took me to research this manuscript completely – making sure numbers were correct, pronunciations were correct, everything was correct. WHEW. And I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on this book since I started submitting it 3 years ago…unfortunately, no editors have felt it was quite “right” for their particular companies.

But then editor Sherry Bushue at The Little Fig – which specializes in multilingual books for children – read my manuscript and immediately contacted me the same day I sent it out. (When does THAT ever happen??) She and her submissions team all loved it, so we decided to move forward!

Their newest packaged title, from Star Bright Books

As I mentioned earlier, the contract we signed is for “packaging” the book. What is that, exactly? Well, in very basic terms, The Little Fig is going to edit the book, hire an illustrator, and put the book together as a showpiece to larger publishing companies. If one of those companies decides to publish the book, they purchase the rights, pay us an advance, and everything moves forward just as it normally would in traditional publishing.

So yes, The Little Fig will act as an agent, of sorts. As a small publisher, their resources are limited and they don’t have the distribution of the larger houses; packaging a book like this allows them to get their books into more kids’ hands, and the larger publishers don’t have to expend as much effort putting the book together, because it’s already done!

I’m very excited about this new chapter (pardon the pun) in my writing career. Book packaging is a business model with which I was unfamiliar, but am very happy to undertake.

Now, then…today’s poem!

I’ve spent the past week and a half downloading all the picture & video files from my cellphone’s Cloud in order to free up space. Consequently, I have been happily reminiscing! I came across this photo of one of our Great Pyr mixes, Rosie, who was not happy about the mama painted turtle that had decided to lay her eggs next to the kennel…and the following lines popped into my head:

Lost My Touch

I’ve barked, I’ve growled,
I’ve pawed the ground.
I’m really irritated!
She just sits there, fat and round –
but not intimidated!

– © 2018, Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

Poet/author/blogger Buffy Silverman is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup, so be sure to head on over for all of today’s links and fun!

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is available everywhere!

Only one more confirmed signing lined up right now – although there are a couple of others in the works, which I’ll share as soon as we nail down the details. If you are ever in the Southern NH-Eastern MA area, I hope you’ll stop by wherever I am and say hi!

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

You can now purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur, and ANY of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH will let me know, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “The Ballad of Doodle Chicken”

The Ballad of Doodle Chicken

Doodle chicken heaved a sigh…
longed to leave her home and fly.
Dreamed each day of sweet ascension –
stuck, alas, in two dimension.

One day, struck with inspiration,
she fulfilled her aspiration:
folded up into a plane
and rode the wind.
Until the rain.

– © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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My 4-year-old daughter drew this a couple of week ago, and I’ve been trying to think of what to do with it. Finally, last night, an idea popped into my head! Hope you like it.

For today’s complete, unfettered, unabridged, and unbelievable Poetry Friday roundup, visit Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche…where you’ll find all of today’s poetry links a well as a beautiful sandpiper sonnet from Margaret, herself.

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is available everywhere!

Only one more confirmed signing lined up right now – although there are a couple of others in the works, which I’ll share as soon as we nail down the details. If you are ever in the Southern NH-Eastern MA area, I hope you’ll stop by wherever I am and say hi!

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Living My Past,” a golden shovel

I love National Poetry Month. I love publishing new picture books. I love readings and signings and blog contests to promote those books. And I love teaching poetry and writing to students.

But trying to do all of these in one month? WHEW!

 

 

As I was looking over some of my documents, considering what to share for Poetry Friday today, I came across a poem I wrote back in March – that I never got around to posting here! So I’m going to take care of that right now.

I wrote it as a response to one of Michelle H. Barnes’ monthly challenges on her blog; she had interviewed the incredible Nikki Grimes, who had suggested that readers write a golden shovel poem.  A golden shovel takes a line from someone else’s poem and then uses each word in that line as the last word of each line of the new poem.

In this case, I used the first line of Devon Hope’s poem, “Black Box:” “in case I forgot to tell you”
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Living My Past

Uncertainty sneaks in.
It’s always the case
when dealing with what I
want to lose, or wish I forgot.
Things left behind, they find a way to come back, to
remind me you never can tell
what’s going to hold onto you.

– © 2018 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

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It’s only a second draft, so I could probably spend some more time polishing it, but this was an exercise in writing – not a quest for perfection. Remember what I always say: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! Sometimes polish and shine is necessary, but the act of writing itself needs to be allowed its freedom, which is why I occasionally share poems here that are not-quite-finished.

Every great masterpiece has to start somewhere – and sometimes, it can be pretty hideous when it first starts breathing. It can take a few days, a few months, a few years before it’s ready to debut in public. Just keep at it, and write – no one ever said everything needs to be a masterpiece, and no one ever said you had to share your writing with anyone. Write for yourself, first and foremost…and then see where it takes you.

Looking for today’s Poetry Friday roundup? You’ll find it at Rebecca Herzog’s little home on the web, Sloth Reads – where she is not only hosting today’s shindig, she’s also offering a book giveaway!

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is now available everywhere!

Only a couple more signings lined up at this point – so if you are in the Southern NH-Eastern MA area, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

  • TOMORROW, Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday / National Teacher Appreciation Week: “Teacher”

(click to enlarge)

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

As we’re winding down and heading into the weekend, I wanted to share not only a little appreciation for teachers across the country (see above), but also my appreciation for folks like teacher/librarian Jone MacCulloch, who inspire students everyday to read and write poetry.

Each spring, Jone offers to send a postcard from one of her students to any of us in the Poetry Friday community who would like one…and a few days ago, I discovered this in my mailbox:

(click to enlarge)

There’s something about the name, “Journiful John Horse” I just want to keep saying over and over. I’m so intrigued by this legendary tale, a true classic piece of Americana – that little Avery just created!

For all of today’s Poetry Friday links, please head on over to Jama’s Alphabet Soupfor bluebirds, blueberry muffins, and the complete poetry roundup. And if you have not had a chance to check out my recap of the recent NESCBWI Spring Conference, I hope you will!

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DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is now available everywhere!

I’m looking forward to heading to Concord, NH tomorrow for a signing at Gibson’s Bookstore, one of the nation’s top indie bookstores!

  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Tue., May 15, 12pm (National Dinosaur Day – for real!!): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Wed., May 16, 3pm: Water Street Books, Exeter, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

The Dinosaur Tour blog tour continues through the end of the month! My thanks to all these bloggers for their support:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt & giveaway)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly(DAAD book birthday news & giveaway)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

On wide nets, the gift of ignorance, and an excessive use of White-Out: What I learned at #NESCBWI18

Another NE-SCBWI (New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) Conference is in the books, and as always, it was an overwhelming success!

One of the biggest benefits of the conference, which took place April 20-22, is networking:  agents, editors, and fellow writers all converge on this one location to meet, chat, and dine with each other, which is worth the price of admission itself. The varied workshops and high-profile speakers are huge draws, too, of course, but the importance of the social aspect of this conference cannot be overstated.

That said, I always like to share a few choice tidbits of wisdom gleaned from the experience; some of it inspirational, some incidental. This list is by no means exhaustive, and even what you read here is a snippet of what you would have learned had you actually been there. So if you are an SCBWI member, please consider attending your next local conference!

  1. Jane & I have known each other for 7 years now, but there’s been no photographic proof until now!

    Writing is a vocation as much as it is an avocation. Jane Yolen reminded us of this fact during the Opening Ceremonies Friday evening. We write (or illustrate) not only because we are drawn to it as an occupation for which we each feel particularly suited, but because we enjoy it – and would be doing this even if it were not our profession.
    .

  2. Learn to be happy, find the joy, recognize the encouragement! Author Rita Williams-Garcia was Sat. morning’s keynote speaker and related her experiences of going from wannabe writer to award-winning author with humility and humor. She explained that early on in her career, she was so focused on writing and “being an author,” she was missing out on the happiness that comes from sharing your books with the world and the joy of children being inspired by your work. She has since learned how to embrace life, career, and all that goes with them.
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  3. Cast a wide net. Author/illustrator Dan Santat is a familiar face here at the conference, and is always inspiring. During one of his workshops, he was explaining how and why he enjoys different projects: one might be a picture book all his own, another might be a middle grade chapter book or
    Perennially, one of the longest lines during book-signing is Dan’s!

    graphic novel written by someone else. He said that he keeps hearing people talking about “finding your style” or “finding your voice” – but what happens when that style or voice is no longer en vogue? It is best, Dan suggested, to stretch yourself and be marketable across a wide range of genres and styles – if you plan on maintaining a career by working in the industry for the long haul.
    .

  4. You can always tell which conference day it is, based on breakfast attendance. This is something I’ve noticed each year, and I just find it amusing. Saturday morning, the ballroom is filled to capacity! The foyer is a buzz with attendees smiling and chatting, grabbing coffee, fruit, pastries, and cereal, and finding their seats before the keynote begins. Everyone is full of energy, catching up with friends and acquaintances and  gearing up for a weekend of inspiration and education! Sunday…half of those people are still in their rooms trying to wake up, while those of us who do make it to breakfast – while still happy and amiable – are visibly much, much slower. Definitely a two-coffee morning.
    .
  5. Dr. Seuss used way more White-Out than anyone ever realized. This was a revelation that illustrator Matt Phelan shared during Sunday’s keynote.  He had visited a children’s illustration exhibit at a museum where some of Dr. Seuss’ original works were on display and one rather large piece had what Matt described as an “inordinate amount of White-Out all over it.” He said this immediately humanized the man, as he realized that even a master such as Theodor Seuss Geisel made plenty of mistakes along the road.
    .
    Matt also credited his success to the “Gift of Ignorance,” a reference to Orson Welles’ explanation of how he created the cinematic masterpiece, “Citizen Kane.” Welles’ claimed that he made a movie unlike any other because he had never made movies, and no one ever told him how to make

    Hanging out with friends and fellow authors at Saturday night’s annual Volunteer Dinner.

    one or not make one! Matt likened it to walking along a cliff: if you know you’re on a cliff, you’re going to be safe and careful and do everything you’ve been told in order to save yourself. If you don’t know you’re walking along a cliff, you are much more likely to be carefree and less fearful.
    .

  6. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This quote from the late poet Maya Angelou was shared by one of the speakers – although I cannot for the life of me remember who! After racking my brain trying to recall, it occurred to me that the name of the person relating the quote is not as important as the truth that lies within the quote.

Again, I encourage you to join SCWBI if you are serious about becoming a published children’s author or illustrator. And do whatever it takes to attend a conference, even if it’s just for one day! The workshops, the networking, the inspiration are worth far more than the cost of attendance.

How much time, effort, and money are you willing to put towards seeing your publishing dreams come true? I know I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not attended my first SCBWI conference back in 2011. In fact, I owe my entire career to LUNCH.

Absolute truth.

I’ll have to tell you about it sometime. 😉

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is now available everywhere!

I’m looking forward to heading to Concord, NH this Saturday for a signing at Gibson’s Bookstore, one of the nation’s top indie bookstores!

  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 15, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

The Dinosaur Tour blog tour continues through the end of the month! My thanks to all these bloggers for their support:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt & GIVEAWAY!)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly(DAAD book birthday news AND GIVEAWAY!)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: 2018 Progressive Poem audio and “Dinosaur” winners!

Well, would you take a look at that calendar!

Ah, yes…May 4th. And although Star Wars has nothing to do with poetry, dinosaurs, or flashlights, it has everything to do with my Geek roots (note the capitalization) and my love of science fiction – so I couldn’t let the day go by without wishing you salutations of the season. (And yes, I’m looking forward to the Ron Howard-directed “Solo,” due in theatres this year!)

Now, then, where where we? Oh, yes…

The 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

A little seed’s adventure is complete…the 2018 Progressive Poem has wrapped up! Each day over the course of April (National Poetry Month), 30 different writers/bloggers added a line to the poem, and early this week, it all came to an end.

Here’s my annual recorded version of the poem, followed by the text so you can follow along, if you’d like…

Sorry about that giant cranium, by the way – I have no control over the size of the photo! (But it’s a reasonable facsimile of the real thing, in case you’re wondering)

Poet’s Jasmine, Blooming Lovely

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she’d had!

Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

“Moon?” she called across warm honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”

“Come find me,” Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in gentle talons’ embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl’s toes, pale
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee’s party!
Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
……………………………………………………Jas grinned,

………………………………………………………….stretched,

………………………………………………………………..reached,

……………………………………………………………………..wrapped

…………………………………………………………………….a new,

…………………………………………..     around ………tender
…………………………………………………………rootlet

a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.
Her green melody line twisted and clung.

Because she was twining poet’s jasmine, she
wiggled a wink back at Moon, and began her poem.
Her whispered words floated on a puff of wind,
filled with light and starsong. “Revelers, lean in –
let’s add to this merriment a game that grows
wordgifts for Lee. He’s a man who knows
selection, collection, and wisely advising
these dreamers, word-weavers, and friends.”

Jas enfolded Moon-Sky-Owl into the cup of her petals,
lifted new greens to the warming rays of spring. Sun
smeared the horizon with colour, as Jasmine stretched.
She felt powerful. She felt fresh. She bloomed and took a breath
and filled the earth with a fragrance all her own.
.

To see how the poem came to be, check out the following posts:

April
Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
Jane at Raincity Librarian
Laura at Writing the World for Kids
Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
Irene at Live Your Poem
Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at LiveYour Poem
Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
14 Heidi at my juicy little universe
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town
18 Christie at Wonderingand Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’sWhiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads

Care to read Progressive Poems from past years? Click HERE!

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

WINNERS, we have WINNERS!

I have TWO names to announce today – each of whom has won a personally-signed copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books)!

One person was selected at random for sharing the news about the book’s release; out of all the folks who commented on the original Book Birthday blog post, shared it, Tweeted about it, etc., only one name could be chosen…and that was…

KIMBERLY HUTMACHER!!

Congratulations, Kimberly – and thank you so much for your support!

Our second winner took advantage of a writing challenge I call “Poetry…Cubed!” If  you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, this is the same premise, applied to poetry:

  • Use 3 images as inspiration to write a poem.
    .
  • Include a reference to all three images in the poem. 
    .
  • Email your poem to me so I can share them throughout the month. Out of all poems submitted, one writer is chosen at random! And that winner is…

JOYCE RAY!!

Congratulations, Joyce, and thanks for participating! As I always remind folks, this little poetry contest is about participation, not perfection – so please continue to #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

My friend Brenda Davis Harsham is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Friendly Fairy Tales – where she is sharing a springtime haiku in addition to all of today’s poetry links.

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR” is now available everywhere!

This is going to be another busy weekend, with TWO APPEARANCES in Massachusetts tomorrow:

  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 15, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

The Dinosaur Tour blog tour continues all month and into May! My thanks to all these bloggers for their support:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt & GIVEAWAY!)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly(DAAD book birthday news AND GIVEAWAY!)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

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

 

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

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!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

National Poetry Month: Only FOUR DAYS left to enter “Poetry Cubed #5” and “Dinosaur” Giveaway!

Before we get to today’s poems, I want to encourage you to check out this past Tuesday’s post, in which I shared some 5th grade student poetry from a middle school in Redditch, England! For kids who have been struggling with literacy learning, I was so happy to learn how much they dove into this writing project, following a Skype visit I had with them earlier this year.

They should be very proud of themselves – not only for the writing itself, but for being willing to share their work with all my readers!

I also need to remind you that you only have FOUR DAYS left to enter my Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books) giveaway!

To celebrate the release of my newest picture book, I wanted to offer several opportunities to win copies. One way to win a copy of DAAD, signed by both me and my co-author, Deborah Bruss, is to simply share the news!

  1. Comment on THIS POST
  2. Share THIS POST via Facebook or Twitter
  3. Share my interview with illustrator Louie Chin
  4. Share the book trailer and activity sheets featured at Kate Narita’s blog
  5. Do all four!

.
Each one of these counts as an entry, which means you could have as many as four entries…and if you add in the other 2 contests, that’s SIX different opportunities to win THREE copies! Just be sure to tag me when you share these links, so I can count you. I’ll draw ONE NAME at the end of the month. Good luck, and thank you!

Today, I have more “Poetry Cubed!” poems to share – and each one of them is also an opportunity to win!

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network, you know that chefs try to outdo each other by creating dishes using specific and sometimes rather strange ingredients. So for this contest, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry! Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. Most importantly, remember: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading! This is about having fun and being creative!
    .
  • Include a reference to all three images in the one poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract. (And since this is poetry we’re talking about, we play fast and loose with this rule!)
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month. Out of all poems submitted, one writer will be chosen at random to receive a personally-signed copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

Today we have two more poems to share:
.

untitled cherita

after the celebration

birthday gifts sorted
thank-you cards await

in a shadowy corner
he shines his new lampe de poche
Merci, Mémé!” he whispers

– © 2018 Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

.
haiku

dark birthday surprise
clawed hand steers my shoulder-
saved by a light beam

– © 2018 Joyce Ray, all rights reserve

.

This time, instead of very different imagery, we have two poems both playing with the contract of light and dark – and both make specific references to birthdays. (By the way, a ‘cherita’ is a poem consisting of 1 line, then 2 lines, then 3 lines, and is usually narrative. Find out more about the form HERE)

One final poem – not at all like these! – from another reader who preferred to remain anonymous:

untitled

Hold the light; hands
scaly
and ancient search
dry earth
one more day

– anonymous

I’ll continue taking entries until the end of the month – which is THIS MONDAY – so send in your poems to Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com! Good luck!

The incredibly talented (and very busy!) Irene Latham is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Live Your Poem – where she also shares poetry and answers questions about her contributions to this year’s ARTSPEAK! project.

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

The Dinosaur Tour blog tour continues all month and into May! My thanks to all these bloggers for their support:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt & GIVEAWAY!)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly(DAAD book birthday news AND GIVEAWAY!)
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

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

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR”
is now available everywhere!

This is going to be a busy weekend, with THREE APPEARANCES over two days – including a wild DOUBLE DINO DAY tomorrow, with author Sara Levine:

  • Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur, School People, and Flashlight Night reading/signing and discussion
  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 15, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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

The 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem!

A little seed is on an adventure…the 2018 Progressive Poem is underway! Here’s the list of all the writers/bloggers participating, so you can follow along:

April 1 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
3 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
5 Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
10 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
14 Heidi at my juicy little universe
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
21 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
22 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
25 Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads

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

Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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

Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!