It’s been quite a busy couple of weeks for Yours Truly.
About a week and a half ago, I visited Bartlett Elementary School in Pinardville, NH for a day-long school visit. I shared my books Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books, 2018) and Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) as well as the stories behind the books, and also shared some of my poetry as part of a 4th grade poetry workshop. I talked to the students about different forms & styles and then led them in an exercise to ask questions about their subject and write a poem based on what they learned.
The kids had fun, I had fun, and the teachers all seemed to enjoy it, too – but the really, really cool thing for me was that this was my very first school I ever attended!
Way back in the ’70s, I had first grade with Miss Doherty (don’t know if I spelled that correctly), and now here we are in 2023 and I returned to share what I’ve learned about writing all these years in-between. It’s cliche to say, but it really felt like a ‘coming home’ sort of thing, especially when I saw my name on the sign.
I was thrilled that parents were so supportive, too! A number of them ordered copies of my books for their children, and yesterday, after having personally-signed all of them, I delivered all the books to the school:
Offering personally-signed copies is a great way to remind students of the experience of an author visit, and I try to work with local independent bookstores whenever possible. In this case, it was our hometown bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds.
In other news, I had a great time sharing my books and the craft of writing with students all over the country yesterday as part of World Read Aloud Day! Many thanks to all the teachers and librarians who helped make this happen – including Amy Hickman and her class at Anna C. Scott School in New Jersey:
I had so much fun with World Read Aloud Day, I’m going to be offering free, 20-minute virtual visits all day AGAIN next month, for Read Across America Day! If you’d like me to join your class or library, just scroll a wee bit down and you’ll see the details.
With all this talk about kids and reading and writing and such – and the nostalgia of returning to my orginial elementary school – I thought I’d share one of my first children’s poems ever, and one that spurred me to begin considering getting into the field of children’s literature.
I wote it about my two older daughters and although I’ve shared it before (you can see the original post HERE), it’s been about five years since anyone has seen it so I thought today might be the perfect time to dust it off and share it again:
Downtown at Taylor Park
Lovely Lauren, little daughter,
fishing in the fountain water,
looking for a leafy fin –
leaned too far and tumbled in.
Katie-B was fishing, too,
doing what her sister do.
Closed her eyes and made a wish…
don’t know how, but caught a fish!
– © 1999 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
For today’s Poetry Friay roundup, please visit my friend Laura Shovan’s blog where she shares a review of our mutual friend Laura Purdie Salas’ upcoming new picture book, Finding Family (Lerner, 2023).
~ Read Across America Day ~
It’s that time of year again, and I will once again be reading to schools and libraries all across the coutry one month from now!
Read Across America Day, sponsored by the NEA, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Thur., March 2, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with a couple of visits every hour, all day long, and spots will be filling up.
If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, or MS Teams, send me an email! I will read one of my picture books, share some poetry, and talk a little bit about the writing process and how they all came to be! Just email me at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com and I’ll reply as quickly as I can.
I’m booking author visits for the 2023 winter/spring semester:
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
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)
Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
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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!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:
- “Rollicking rhyme!” – Booklist
- “A wild romp!” – Parenting NH Magazine
- “Cute…intriguing…4 out of 5 stars” – Tulsa Book Review
- “Rhythmic…funny and informative” – Unleashing Readers
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15 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Signing, visiting, reminiscing”
What a wonderful experience to go back to your first school as an author! The poem about your daughters is precious. Thank you for sharing it.
Oh, thank you so much, Rose!
Congratulations on all your wonderful news. My book shelves look as if you live there! Stay warm and continued success!
Thanks, Linda, I appreciate that! Stay warm, yourself!
What a fun experience to go back to your elementary school and share what you’ve learned. I enjoyed the poem about your daughters.
Thank you so much, Kay!
Hahaha–that poem makes me chuckle! I’m sure your author visits are fabulous! I did two this week–connecting with elementary school students is pretty amazing…
Thanks, Laura – and yes, seeing the kids “get” what you’re doing and watching their enthusiasm is simply wonderful.
So fun you could enjoy the return trip and WRAD visits with your own books! Congrats!
Thank you, Patricia!
Your school visit sounds so great!
It was a lot of fun for all involved! Thanks, Ruth.
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What fun to return to your old school for a visit! Your fish in the fountain poem made me giggle.
Thanks so much, Laura! Hard to believe that was 24 years ago – when Lauren, who turns 31 next month, was only 7 and Katie, who turns 28 next month, was only 4!