My friend and fellow writer/blogger Michelle H. Barnes has once again been hosting her Ditty of the Month Challenge, where she encourages readers to contribute poems prompted by her various blog guests. This month, she’s featuring J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, whose brand-new book Last Laughs: Prehistoric Epitaphs (Charlesbridge) is both hilarious and often surprisingly touching.
Jane and Pat suggested that Michelle’s followers write “epitaph” poems of their own – that is, words that one might expect to see on a tombstone. Michelle just posted mine the other day on her blog, so in case you missed it, here it is:
Epitaph for a Mayfly
Was born for flight (and reproduction),
set off for a swarm seduction.
Lost his mate; could not locate her.
Sadly, died a few hours later.
– © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
Indeed, those short, one-day lifespans are a real bummer.
What’s NOT a bummer? End-of-year lists!
I was thrilled last month when I learned that Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017) had been selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 100 Best Books for Kids of 2017…and now it’s a children’s book NYPL Staff Pick!
I cannot believe that a book of mine is included with books from authors like Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Mac Barnett, and others. My thanks to illustrator extraordinaire Fred Koehler, editor Rebecca Davis, and the entire crew at Boyds Mills Press for their hard work and support! This has always been a group effort from the very start, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. The fact that my very first picture book was published by the “Highlights” magazine family will always be special to me.
(Side Note: Remember, each of my books – including the ones I’ve contributed poems to – can be ordered and personally signed via my hometown independent bookstore! Click here to see all the books available. Can’t do that with those online retailers!)
In other poetry news…
I’m excited about this book not only because I have a poem included, but because – unlike National Geographic’s previous poetry anthologies – was designed as an “all-ages” book. The first two, The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (2012) and The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (2015), were geared more for school-age children, while this new book contains poems that will be appreciated by grown-ups as well!
Edited by former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, this book is a veritable Who’s Who of classic and contemporary poets, featuring poems and photos of people and places of the United States of America: the bustling cities, the out-of-the-way towns, the people, the monuments, the substance of what we call Americana.
My poem, for example, is a blank verse sonnet about the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel, and Tower – one of Las Vegas’ famous (and highest) landmarks. And I can’t wait til it comes out!
I also can’t wait to announce our winner of a copy of “School People!”
If you visited my blog last Friday, you had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about Lee Bennett Hopkins and how he creates his anthologies…and you also had multiple chances to win a copy of his newest book, School People (Wordsong)! This book includes 15 poems about the grown-ups that children meet at school, like the Teacher, the Lunch Lady, the Librarian, the Custodian…and the “Bus Driver,” written by Yours Truly.
And the winner is…
Congratulations, Bob – and thank you for your support of what I’ve been doing these past several years. Thank you also to everyone who commented and shared last Friday’s post…I had more entries than any other contest I’ve done here!
There’s more poetry ahead, folks – for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Liz Steinglass‘ little home on the web and check out all the links and fun!
DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR hits bookshelves April 17!
New dates continue to be added to the Dinosaur Tour! Don’t Ask a Dinosaur co-author Deborah Bruss and I have quite a busy schedule planned:
- Sat., April 14, 11am: Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
- Sat., April 14, 2pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH, (Children’s Author Day with illustrator Ryan O’Rourke AND Local Book Launch for Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!)
- Tue., April 17, 7pm: Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur Dual National Launch Party!! (with Holly Thompson, One Wave at a Time reading/signing/discussion)
- Thur., April 26, 10:30am: Pillsbury Free Library, Warner, NH, Dinosaur Storytime with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur!
- Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing
- Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
- Sun., April 29, 2pm: MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing and discussion
- Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MA, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing
- Sat., May 5, 1pm: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing
- Sat., May 12, 11am: Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing
- To be scheduled: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH
- To be scheduled: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
- To be scheduled: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
- MORE DATES to be added!
Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!”
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month,” Sept. 2017!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!
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?)