Poetry Friday: Putting a great big (& really tight) bow on 2021

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and although I’m sure most of us are eager to see this year get behind us (much like New Year’s Eve exactly one year ago), I have to say it’s been a pretty good year for me – one which I’m a bit sad to see disappear.

My publishing career, by the books (12/31/21)

Yes, we had the pandemic and masks and supply chain issues and all that – but I saw two new books come out (including my very first board book), I signed three new book contracts, I received interest in two other books, and I’m getting ready for the launch of what was to be my third book of 2021.

So career-wise, it’s been a great year!

(PLUS: Feb. 1 is the date that my friends at KidLitTV host the official COVER REVEAL of my new picture book, The Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books), which comes out next fall!)

Just looking at what I’ve been able to accomplish so far is humbling; I began getting serious about publishing in children’s lit around 2009, joined my first SCBWI critique group in 2010, and attended my first SCBWI conference in 2011.

I now have 30+ poems published and 13 books either out or under contract – with at least 3 on the way in 2022!

The only negative thing I experienced this year regarding my career – other than those pesky rejections – was that my next picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), had its publishing date pushed out FOUR times. It was originially supposed to be out Oct. 5, exactly one year after I had signed the contract.

(Click to enlarge)

Then, due to that supply chain crisis we’ve been reading about, it got revised to Nov. 30.

Then Dec. 21.

And now, the books are sitting in a freight container, waiting to be picked up by a tractor trailer and brought to the warehouse. Assuming all goes according to plan, the book should be out, for real, January 25, 2022.

Fingers crossed!

The complete list:

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign ANY of my books and have them in the mail usually within 12-24 hours!

I do have to say, this was an unusual year insofar as I did not have any poems published – anywhere! No anthologies, no “Highlights”…nothing. Which disappoints me, not because I didn’t get published but because I’ve not had the time to devote to writing poetry as much as I used to.

I’ve been so busy writing manuscripts, marketing my books, and getting submissions sent out (remember, I do not have an agent) that a lot of what I enjoy about this career had to be set aside. Moreover, I had my voiceover work keeping me busy along with homeschooling the first half of the year – whew. The good thing, though, is that most of the book manuscripts I write are actually very poetic, which makes me happy.

I’m also happy to be once again taking part in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm! Whether you are an experienced author or just starting to get your feet wet, Storystorm is a fantastic (and fantastically fun) way to dream up ideas for picture books…plus, you could win some cool stuff, and who doesn’t like free stuff?

For today’s poem, I thought I’d share my very first-ever contracted poem, “First Tooth,” which was published in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ anthology, Lullaby & Kisses Sweet (Abrams, 2015):

(Click to enlarge)

I was of course honored to be asked to contribute to his book, but I was doubly honored to see that I shared a spread with my friend Heidi E.Y. Stemple, daughter of the illustrious and wonderful Jane Yolen and an incredibly talented author, herself.

And then I saw the names of all my other friends inside the book – Charles Ghigna, David L. Harrison, Laura Purdie Salas, J. Patrick Lewis, and so many others – and I couldn’t believe I was actually a part of this.

I still can’t believe I’m a part of this, to be honest.

This past April marked my 10th anniversary of being part of the children’s lit community, when I attended my first SCBWI conference and set these wheels in true motion. It’s amazing to me that I have come this far, this quickly, and I owe it all to you and the countless others who have supported me, encouraged me, guided me, mentored me, bought my books, followed my posts, left reviews, and shared my books with libraries and schools.

So here’s to you! And here’s to a super-awesome 2022! For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun, be sure to visit Carol’s Corner for the complete roundup.



I’m now a 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’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!


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 any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

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!




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!

17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Putting a great big (& really tight) bow on 2021

  1. Linda Mitchell

    Yay, Matt! I hope you don’t get sick of me telling you how fun it is to watch your success. I know that the books out and the poems published really are the tip of an iceberg of effort and work. But, the joy you bring to the publications makes that seem small and very much worth all of it. Keep writing, Matt! It’s what you are meant to do.


  2. Wow, you’ve accomplished SO much in the time you’ve been writing for kids. And with such joy and generosity, too. Congratulations! Hope the fourth time’s a charm, and Happy New Year! Here’s to more great books and poems in 2022!


  3. lindabaie

    Happy New Year, Matt, & hoping that new book does arrive! I want to tell you congratulations for all your beautiful work & accomplishments & also that I have several copies of Lullaby & Kisses Sweet which I use as gifts to young ones & adore myself. I didn’t know that “First Tooth” was your “First Poem” – apt, right? Happy New Year to you & your family! May our 2022 be better & better!


  4. Hi Matt,
    I was not as eager as many to see the year go. So many blessings this year! A new book release, published in several journals, our daughter got married, we had and survived Covid, we got so much done in our house. We had our children home for Christmas. So many blessings.
    I hope and pray that your new year is full of blessings, so many you lose count!


  5. Janet F.

    Congratulations, Matt. I have watched with glee at your success and enjoyed every bit of it for you and for our lucky readers/children. Of course I own several copies of Lullabye and Kisses Sweet! Your poem is perfect for those littles and those teeth! And many of your books and other anthologies. Here’s to more splendid success in 2022.


  6. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “The Sun in My Hand” – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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