Poetry Friday: Year-end musings of a 10-year career, and I AM TODAY gets TikTok love!

I first began looking into children’s lit back around 2009 or so and joined my first writer’s group in 2010 – but it was only when I left fulltime employment at the radio station in July 2012 that I fully immersed myself in the industry, learning everything I could about it, honing my craft, networking with other folks.

And here I am, ten years later…

Wow! 7 picture books of my own, 4 more under contract, and 30+ poems published in various anthologies and magazines!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for following along here, watching my career begin, evolve, and grow. I get to do what I love because of the support of folks like you, so thank you!

I’m also grateful for the support of fellow creators, like my friends in my recent marketing groups…

I had been wondering what to share today and was leisurely scrolling through some of my past Christmas posts when I came upon a poem I’d written 6 years ago for Tabatha Yeatts‘ annual Winter Poetry Swap. This is a fun event she hosts every year and something in which I’ve unfortunately not been able to participate lately due to how busy I’ve become.

The premise is simple: everyone who signs up is randomly given someone else’s name, and you write a poem for that person and send them a small gift. I decided to combine these and used my poem AS the gift! The name I had been given was the wonderful Margaret Simon, poet, blogger, and educator extraordinaire, and decided to utilize her years of blogging as my inspiration.



The power of meter,
of rhythm, of rhyme;
the guidance of mentors,
the blessing of time.
The support of strangers,
faith of friends –
only time will tell
where the journey ends.

© 2022 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

One of the many ways I’ve received support is from people like TikTokker Nica at Nica’s Collection Selection, who absolutely LOVES my picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books, 2022):

It’s reactions like this that make an author’s day! And not just because she’s talking about how much she likes it – the fact is, she likes it for the very reason I wrote it. To empower young people to realize they can make a difference now!

My friend Irene Latham is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at her blog, Live Your Poem, where she shares a couple of poems from a homeschool student who loves writing and poetry.

Have a wonderful holiday season, enjoy your weekend, and since I’ll be taking next Friday off to spend time with the family, I’ll see you in 2023!

= = = = = = = = = =


Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 1/2023) was scheduled for a Jan. 1 publishing date, but it’s already showing up at indie bookstores around the country! 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. Languages included in the book:

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved
  • Swedish
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portugese
  • Arabic
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Navajo

Readers who want to learn more will soon have the opportunity to go the The Little Fig website to find links to pronunciation videos and more. You can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target.

My local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, offers personally-signed copies – just let them know you’d like one when you place your order. They’ll send me an email, I’ll run downtown and sign it, and they’ll get it in the mail – usually within 24 hours!

Proud 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! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. 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 MattForrest.com!

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!


(The Little Fig, LLC, 2022)

or order now, directly from the publisher!

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!

22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Year-end musings of a 10-year career, and I AM TODAY gets TikTok love!

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