Poetry Friday: “Flashlight Night,” reading lists, and mentor text!

Well, at this point, I’m guessing all the kids are out of school.

I say “guess” because I know some who – because of the long, rough winter – didn’t get out until the last week of June! But the first day of summer is well behind us now and we’ve had temps in the 90s all this week, which means the season is in full effect…and I couldn’t be happier to discover that a little book you might have heard about is showing up on summer reading lists across the country:

Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books

We Are Teachers

Orange County (CA) Pubic Libraries

Contra Costa County Library (CA)

Cannon School (NH)

Newton Free Library (MA)

Lexington Public Library (KY)

Abington School District (PA)

These are just a few, of course, but I have to tell you how honored and thrilled I am to see Flashlight Night alongside titles from such talented and varied authors & illustrators as Dan Santat, Dr. Seuss, Brian Selznick, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Margarita Engle, Mo Willems, and my neighbor, David Elliott.

Both Flashlight Night and Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018) are available everywhere books are sold…and if you’d like to order a personalized signed copy, just click the links and you’ll be taken to our local bookstore, which will let me know! I’ll run down and sign it, then they’ll ship it off to you – how cool is that?

And although I discovered this 3 months late, I have to thank Jen Betton at ReFoReMo for using the book as a mentor text back in March, to show how illustrators (in Flashlight‘s case, Fred Koehler) develop pacing and plot using sparse, lyrical text. I was humbled that Jen chose our book; doubly so, because the other book she used was Joyce Sidman’s poetic Before Morning (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016), illustrated by fellow New Hampshire resident, Beth Krommes.

Speaking of poetry, a little something for my teacher friends…

Standing at the Door, Mid-Summer

Cries of laughter, shouts of glee,
letters sung and questions raised.
19 names hung from a tree.
Work displayed; efforts, praised.

Heartbeats echoed loud and strong –
now life has left this barren womb.
In its place, a silent song
and bitter scent of an empty room.

– © 2018 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


For more poetry, please visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

COMING SEPT. 25, 2018!


Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, you can!

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 send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. They’ll contact me, 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!

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11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Flashlight Night,” reading lists, and mentor text!

  1. lindabaie

    Your “Flashlight Night” continues to be a favorite here with the girls, Matt & I see it sometimes in my library, then there it’s gone again! When I taught, I went in that day “after” the end and scrubbed tables, thinking of the class that was, looking forward to what was coming, indeed “In its place, a silent song”. Lovely!


  2. Congrats on the continued accolades for your books! What a wonderful accomplishment. I enjoyed your poem today, but take exception to the “Mid-Summer” part of its title. Summer break has just begun!!! There’s no way it’s mid-summer!


  3. Pingback: Poetry Friday: York Beach haiku – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  4. haitiruth

    Oh my, what a horrifying thought not to get out of school until the end of June! Thanks for your lovely poem and for all the great news in this post. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


  5. Pingback: The life of a picture book: celebrating ONE YEAR for “Flashlight Night”! (Plus GIVEAWAY!) – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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