Poetry Friday: A cover reveal for yet another picture book, and even more publishing news!

If you’re having a hard time keeping score, I don’t blame you. I am, too!

My new picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), just came out last month, and now I’m featuring the cover of ANOTHER brand-new picture book due out on January 1! (What a way to kick off 2023, eh??)

But hold on just a sec – I have some OTHER publishing news to share first…

That’s right, just a few days ago, I signed a contract with Eerdmans Books for Young Readers for what will be my 11th book! I wish I could tell you about it, but I have to keep mum…however, I can tell you it’s creative nonfiction and there’s no other book quite like it out there.

(In fact, my editor told me she knew they were going to need to acquire the book when the acquisitions meeting devolved into a half-hour marathon of everyone Googling the subjects I cover in the manuscript!)

I also want to take a moment and thank everyone who has been helping spread the word about Beginner’s Guide, especially Patricia Franz, who recently interviewed me for her blog.

She shares our video today for Poetry Friday, in advance of World Kindness Day, Sun., Nov. 13! We discuss everything from how the book came about, to my approach to the craft of poetry, to what inspires me, disappoints me, and brings me joy. I hope you’ll check it out and leave a comment for Patricia!

Now, then…a cover reveal!

This new book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023) is a lesson in tenacity (just like most of my books, come to think of it). But here’s the short version: The first iteration of this book was written in June 2013; I revised and revised and began submitting it later that year.

FIVE YEARS LATER, Sherry Bushue at The Little Fig contacted me and told me she loved it! But rather than immediately publishing a book, her company would often “package” books – meaning they would hire an illustrator and get the book completely edited and laid out, then pitch the entire t to larger publishing houses.

After a couple of years with no bites, The Little Fig opted to publish it themselves, which I thought was wonderful – until a little thing called Covid came along.

That meant production came to a grinding halt.

But now, we can resume our plans and the book will officially arrive everywhere on January 1, 2023 – nearly TEN YEARS since I first wrote it! If you wonder why folks in this industry call it a hurry-up-and-wait kind of business, this is why.

So without any further ado, I present to you…

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

The front cover design continues on the back! How cool is this???

This is a very unique book, not just because of what it is but because of what I needed to do to create it.

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; hence, the term “everybody counts’ takes on a double-meaning. Languages included in the book:

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

If you’re thinking this must have required a massive amount of research, you have no idea how truly massive the amount of research was. Whew! Poring over numbers, symbols, pronunciations…it was more work than for any other book I’ve written. But it paid off! And I can’t thank Sherry Bushue enough for having as much faith in the book as I.

The idea for this book came about when I began thinking about that phrase I mentioned earlier, “everybody counts” and I realized it could have a double-meaning. So I wrote a short poem that I used as a summary, or basis, for the book – and these lines actually conclude the book:

Come join your friends and make some new;
eat up and have a drink!
The world is just outside your door
and closer than you think.

You might see foods you’ve never tried,
hear words you can’t pronounce,
you might meet kids you’ve never known, but…
everybody counts!

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine


Readers who want to learn more will have the oportunity to go the The LittleFig website to find links to pronunciation videos and more. If you’d like to pre-order, you can do so at Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, Target, and just about anywhere books are sold. (Including, of course, my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which offer perosnally-signed copies!)

I do have to thank illustrator Emma Graham, whose art is bright, thoughtful, and colorful – and she includes lots of subtle references to the countries from which these characters hail, so I really hope you enjoy not only reading the book but looking at all her pictures!

For more poetry, head on over to my friend Buffy Silverman’s blog for the complete Poetry Friday roundup and a review of our mutual friend Laura Purdie Salas’ newest picture book!

= = = = = = = = = =

Thrilled 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!

I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. 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 my website!

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!



(Beaming Books, 2022)

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!




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!

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A cover reveal for yet another picture book, and even more publishing news!

  1. Jane Heitman Healy

    Matt, you are the exemplar of tenacity! Excited for you and all of your readers that it paid off. Congratulations on all of your upcoming books!


  2. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Looking back on two years of “Night Wishes” – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  3. Pingback: Everybody Counts! by Matt Forrest Esenwine, Illustrated by Emma Graham – Unleashing Readers

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