Poetry Friday: Visiting, signing, and reminiscing

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:
.

Taylor Park, St. Albans, VT

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:

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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Remembering U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic

Sometimes, you’re just so busy you miss important news. Like the passing of former U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, about 20 days ago.

Photo credit: Scott Cook.

Simic was one of New Hampshire’s great celebrities, having lived here in the Granite State since 1971 and garnering not only the title of U.S. Poet Laureate but receiving multiple awards including a Pulitzer for his book, The World Doesn’t End.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard anything about his death until I stumbled upon an article in one of our state’s newspapers.

So I felt I should probably set aside a blog post recognizing his passing and sharing one of his poems, to introduce him to anyone who may not be familiar with his work.

Simic was adept at saying a lot with a little – which might seem a pretty standard thing for poets – but his poetry had insight, wit, and a unique lyrical quality, written with a singular sense of word economy. Consider, for example, his poem “Evening Walk”:
.

Evening Walk

You give the appearance of listening
To my thoughts, o trees,
Bent over the road I am walking
On a late summer evening
When every one of you is a steep staircase
The night is descending.

The leaves like my mother’s lips
Forever trembling, unable to decide…

(read the rest of the poem here)

.
Think about that. Each tree is a staircase that the night is descending. Leaves are like trembing, indecisive lips. And there is so much more to the poem than just the connections and imagery. Poems like this force the reader to stop, re-read, re-read again, and come away with some new insight every time.

For those keeping score, Simic was New Hampshire’s 5th U.S. Poet Laureate from 2007-2008, and served in the position previously held from 2006-2007 by another Granite Stater, the esteemed Donald Hall. One of the reasons I love living where I do is because of the intense creativity this particular area holds; Hall lived just half an hour up the road, and another U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin, hailed from my own town.

NH’s two other Poets Laureate were Richard Eberhart and the great Robert Frost, the latter of whom graduated from my wife’s high school. So like I said, I have a certain fondness for this state and the literature we put out. Our state might not be the biggest geographically, but we’re definitely big on literary talent.

For more poetry, visit Marcie Flinchum Atkins, who is hosting today’s Poetry Friay roundup with a look at some STEM poetry collections and a winter haiku!


~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

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!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! 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 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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!

=====================================================

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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: #CYBILS Awards Round 2 Finalists announced!

…..

I have to apologize for my self-centeredness lately – I’ve been so caught up in the fact my new picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, LLC) is now out (and YES, I have a winner to announce, below), that I completely neglected to share the news that the CYBILS Awards Round 2 finalists have been chosen and officially announced!

I was honored to be one of the Round 1 panelists for Poetry again, and we were charged with quite the task: comb through all the books nominated for both poetry colelctions as well as verse novels, and come up with what we felt were the best five in both categories. Whew! More than 60 books later, we finally pulled our lists together and you can read about them at the CYBILS website.

Keep in mind, these lists did not come about easily; we all had our favorites and spent a great deal of time debating, deliberating, and throwing fisticuffs. (well, two outta three) Seriously, though, there were so many outstanding books we really had to weigh quality of writing, reader appeal, and other factors to determine the best of the best.

So now, they move on – and the round 2 judges will pick the winners. If you’d like to check out all the Poetry Friday posts, head over to Susan Thomsen’s blog, Chicken Spaghetti, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup where she is sharing an original poem, “Vintage.”

~ GIVEAWAY ~
.

That’s right, we have a winner to announce! As I told you two weeks ago, you only had a linited time to enter the giveaway for a free copy of Everybody Counts! – and now I get to tell the world that the winner of a free, personally-signed copy is…

ROSE CAPELLI!

Out of all the names entered, Rose’s name was picked by the ol’ random number generator, so congratulations, Rose!


~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

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!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! 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 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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
.
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(The Little Fig, LLC, 2023)

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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: “when bricks fall”

Hey there, loyal blog follower! I’ve got a massively depressing poem coming up in just a few short paragraphs, so get ready for an emotionally draining blog post. Before we get there, though, I want to remind you that you have just one more week to enter my giveaway for Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023), my new picture book that is officially available EVERYWHERE!

all images © 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

Earlier this week, I celebrated the book’s #BookBirthday right here, so if you want to enter the drawing, check out the post and leave a comment.

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:

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

Readers will soon have the opportunity to learn more at the The Little Fig website with 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. Plus, my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, offers personally-signed copies – just let them know you’d like one when you place your order!

And by the way, I hope you’ll take a minute and check out this WONDERFUL REVIEW of Everybody Counts! from Maria Marshal!

Ok, enough happiness.

when bricks fall

when bricks fall
what happens next
when all you had
and all you knew
…..love
…..dreams
…..broken beams
collapses right in front of you

when bricks fall
debased remains
lie shattered
…..scattered
……….sad debris

when bricks fall

what happens next

this is not the way
it’s supposed to be

– © 2023 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

…..

Hey, I warned you.

Funny thing is, I’m actually pretty happy – you know, with the new book and the previous book and projects on the way and school visits coming up, and –

Well, you know poets. We see a pile of bricks on the ground and our imaginations and emotions just take over. I’m actually kind of proud of this poem because you don’t often see dismal, sorrowful poems written in rhyme these days – it often takes away from the emotional impact. But I really wanted to incorporate the rhyme to create a sort of musical backdrop without being too heavy-handed. Hopefully it worked.

And as long as everyone’s feeling glum and melancholy now, why not head over to the Poetry Friday roundup at Reading to the Core, where Catherine and her friends have created an exquisite corpse? Think I’m joking? I kid you not. Check it out!
.

~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

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!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! 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.


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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

It’s a #BookBirthday: “Everybody Counts!” has officially arrived – with a GIVEAWAY!

That’s right, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023) which has been popping up at indie bookstores around the country the past couple of weeks, is officially available EVERYWHERE!

This book, like many, is a lesson in patience and tenacity: I completed the manuscript in June 2013, and here we are nearly 10 years later! It went through many revisions and many, many publishers before The Little Fig, which specializes in multilingual books, took an interest in it. We signed the contract in 2018 – but a year an a half later, a pandemic hit and stalled all our plans.

Better late than never, right??

all images © 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

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:

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

From from baozi buns to blue corn mush, from currywurst to masala chai, readers will be able to learn more about favorite foods of twelve different cultures while learning how other folks around the world count. It’s a creative nonfiction picture book I hope will find a place not only in schools and libraries but in homeschools, as well. Can you imagine how fun it would be to make all these foods?

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!

If you’d like to learn more about the book, the creative process it went through, and my approach to writing, please check out the interview my friend Maria Marshall posted today at her blog!
.

~~ GIVEAWAY! ~~

If you’d like to win a FREE COPY of Everybody Counts! just leave a comment below! If you share this post on Twitter and tag me (so I’ll know about it) you can earn another entry, and if you share the news on Instagram (again, be sure to tag me) you can earn a third entry!

I’ll draw one name at random Thur. night, Jan. 12 at 8pm EST and announce the winner in my Fri., Jan. 13 post. Good luck, and thanks so much for your support!

~ World Read Aloud Day 2023 ~

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!

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by Lit World, spotlights the importance of reading to kids and I will once again be spending most of the day Wednesday, February 1, reading to students virtually! My day is usually jam-packed with 2-3 visits every hour, all day long, and spots are already filling up.

If you would be interested in having me join your class for a 20-minute visit via Zoom, GoogleMeets, MS Teams, Skype, tin cans and string, whatever – let me know! 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.


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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

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.


.

Assessment

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!”

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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A Giveaway winner, a past Winter Poetry Swap poem, and “Everybody Counts!” is showing up!

I’m in a happy mood, so let’s start off with the

~ GIVEAWAY ~

Last Friday, I interviewed author Lydia Lukidis about her new picture book, DEEP, DEEP DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2022).

Lydia was kind enough to offer a manuscript critique for a fiction or nonfiction picture book to one of my blog followers, and the name that was chosen at random is…

ROSE CAPPELLI!

Congratulations, Rose! You’ll be hearing from Lydia and me shortly about how to claim your prize. TAnd thank you for all your support over these past several years!

The Post of Christmas Past…

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.

I thought it might be interesting to read through her years of past Christmas blog posts and create a found poem from some of the words and phrases she had previously written:

(click to enlarge)

= = = = = = = = = =

“EVERYBODY COUNTS!”

My newest picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 1/2023), continues to pop up at bookstores across the country! It was scheduled for a Jan. 1 publishing date, but since it’s ahead of schedule, the publisher is encouraging sales already.

Everybody Counts! 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. (Or my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which offers personally-signed copies!)

(I’m currently booking school/library author visits for winter/spring 2023, so scroll down for more details on that!)

Yesterday I signed a stack of books for our local independent bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, including Everybody Counts!. So if you’d like a copy of any of my books personally-signed to that special person on your list, just let them know 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!

Looking or more poetry? Karen Edmisten is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with a focus on kindness and a poem from Michael Blumenthal.


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! 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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Interview w/Lydia Lukidis, author of “Deep, Deep Down” – plus a #Giveaway!

I’m very excited that author Lydia Lukidis is joining us here today! Lydia’s newest picture book is a creative nonfiction title, DEEP, DEEP DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2022), and I wanted to share news about it before the end of the year rolled. (We’ll also be giving away a manuscript critique at the end!) It’s not a poetry collection, but it is a very lyrical exploration of the deepest part of the Earth and I think readers will enjoy it.

All graphics © 2022 Juan Calle and Capstone Editions, all rights reserved, used with permission

Welcome, Lydia, and congratulations on the new book! It’s beautiful all the way through, from your lyrical text to Juan Calle’s gorgeous illustrations. As a child (heck, even as an adult), I was fascinated by the possibility of life in outer space – and I feel like we can get a glimpse of what might be out there simply by investigating the bizarre life forms in the deepest parts of our oceans. (As Ian Malcolm said, “Life finds a way!”)

I know you mention at the back of the book how you became so fascinated by the Mariana Trench, but what made you decide to write a book about it?

Hi Matt! In 2019, I read an article about how scientists found a plastic bag floating in the Mariana Trench. They also discovered plastic in the belly of various marine animals. My heart sank and I wondered how we human beings managed to start damaging one of the most remote places on the planet.

At that point, I had heard of the Mariana Trench but knew very little about it. The article made me curious and I began my research. I discovered that the conditions in the trench are extremely hostile; there’s no sunlight, food is scarce, and the pressure is crushing. I wondered; what creatures could survive such an environment?

My goal in writing this book was twofold: firstly, to educate children on the deepest ocean of our world and debunk the myth that “scary” creatures live within its depths, and secondly, to talk about ocean conservation and the importance of this fascinating ecosystem.

To follow up, the question I always ask everyone – the question I ask myself before beginning a manuscript – is, why did this particular book need to be written?

Lydia Lukidis

That’s a critical question to ask yourself!

As I sank deep, deep down into my research, one of the first things I did was look up other kidlit books about the Mariana Trench. And it turned out there were hardly any! There were many books about the deep sea, of course, but none specifically about the Mariana Trench. This was a green flag for me since there was a small hole in the market.

But that alone could not be enough to warrant writing a book and investing years in a project. The second question I ask myself is; how much passion do I feel for this topic? I have an excitable personality and find almost everything interesting. (Literally!) I have a document filled with ideas, but most don’t make it to the development stage. I do feel a special affinity for anything space or ocean related, so that sustained me through the very long process of rewriting the book over 55 times.

DEEP, DEEP DOWN is very different from your other books, like the MYTHOLOGY MATCHUPS you’ve also written for Capstone or your American Industries series of nonfiction books. What made you decide to use this very poetic, lyrical style of writing?

As I emerge as a writer and my body of work grows, I’m starting to realize that my style is varied. The goal is to create a specific signature and author style of course, but I never want to stop myself from pursuing a project I feel deep passion for. Cut to today, I write not only nonfiction but also fiction, not only STEM but also funny or poetic narratives. And why not put STEM and poetry together? That’s just who I am.

In fact, writing in a lyrical style for DEEP, DEEP DOWN was like reclaiming my roots in many ways. I studied English Literature and poetry in university and I’ve been writing poetry since the age of six. Poetry has always been my first love and it’s been a fun experience to reclaim that part of myself.

(Click to enlarge)

As I mentioned earlier, I love deep-sea marine biology, so the sidebars are especially cool because they provide context as well as fascinating information about your primary text. How did you decide which creatures to include and which to leave out?

Great question. I interviewed my experts and researched every single creature that lived in the trench (that has been discovered so far). I picked the most interesting, amazing, or weirdest ones that most children likely haven’t heard of and that would pique their interest.

Were there any you wish you could have included?

When I first started writing the book, I really wanted to include the anglerfish. What a fascinating creature! I also found an article claiming vampire squid lived in the trench. But when I interviewed my roster of experts, I discovered that neither of these (and many others I had found on the internet) lived in the trench. That experience led me to my hook, which is asking children to imagine what lives down there and surprising them with the truth.

I’m sure you were thrilled when you found out a former marine biologist, Juan Calle, would be illustrating your book – if anyone knows marine life, it’d be a guy like Juan! I know authors and illustrators don’t usually work together, but did you two have any sort of conversations during the revision process?

I was ecstatic that someone like Juan took on this project as I knew this would be a great match. Usually, picture book authors provide very little direction for illustrations, but it’s different for nonfiction. I was hyper aware of the importance of depicting the trench and its creatures in a realistic light and there aren’t many resource photos on the internet. Thanks to the many experts I consulted with, I compiled photos, video reels, and information and put together a resource guide for Juan. It took months to make but it was well worth it.

But I never spoke to or emailed Juan directly, everything went through my editor and I respected their process. I showed the first drafts to my experts and we did have many small revisions. I’m grateful Juan hang on as we went back and forth multiple times. I think it took about 8 tries to get the exact color of the sea cucumber. I imagine he was probably losing his mind at that point! But he kept going until it was just right and I’m grateful. My editor, Alison Deering, was equally fantastic as we went over each line and each fact in detail. 

What did you find most surprising about writing this book?

Everything!! As I mentioned, the first drafts I wrote were based on research I did on the internet which turned out to be largely false. Learning what the trench is truly like and what creatures actually roam its depths felt like an adventure. I learned so many things in the process.

Well, it’s really a wonderful book, and I wish you all the best with it! Any plans to write more books with this lyrical sort of style?

Yes! Now that DEEP, DEEP DOWN is out there, my love affair with poetry is reignited. I’ve already written a few books which are a mix of verse and prose and I have a new nonfiction narrative book coming out shortly that also has a lyrical feel to it. It will be announced “soon,” hopefully!

Thanks again, Lydia, for dropping by, and have a great holiday season! With each of us celebrating book birthdays on Jan. 1, it’s going to be an awesome, exciting day!

Thanks for having me and happy book birthday to you, as well!

BIO:

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children, as well as 31 e-Books. Her titles include DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023) and THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books. Lydia is an active member of SCBWI, CANSCAIP, 12 x 12, and The Authors Guild. She’s very involved in the kidlit community and also volunteers as a judge on Rate your Story. Another passion of hers is fostering love for children’s literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools. Lydia is represented by literary agent Miranda Paul from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Website/preorder: http://www.lydialukidis.com/
Twitter: @LydiaLukidis
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/LydiaLukidis
Blog:https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3fATvqtKDk

~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~

And now, dear readers, it’s time for that GIVEAWAY I told you about!

Lydia has graciously offered to provide a manuscript critique for a fiction or nonfiction picture book! (non-rhyming, <1000 words) Just let us know you’d like to be entered in the random drawing by leaving a comment below OR by sharing this post on Twitter – just be sure to tag Yours Truly so I’ll see it.

I’ll announce the winner NEXT FRIDAY!

= = = = = = = = = =

“EVERYBODY COUNTS!”

My newest picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023), originally scheduled for publication Jan. 1, 2023, appears to be ahead of schedule as bookstores are already receiving their copies – so the publisher has told them to feel free to sell it!

Everybody Counts! 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. (Or my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which offers personally-signed copies!)

It was one of the more popular titles on sale this past Wed. at our state capital’s only independent bookstore, Gibson’s Bookstore of Concord. I had visited the store for a storytime/book signing with families and teachers from the Concord Family Center, and it was a lot of fun sharing my books, teaching origami, and making crazy faces! (I’m currently booking school/library author visits for winter/spring 2023, so scroll down just a wee bit for more details on that!)

Today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Michelle Kogan’s blog, More Art 4 All. Ukraine has been on her mind lately and she shares some news and thoughts about the country and the war, as well as a new poem and artwork about the gift of a morning song.


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! 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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: A CYBILS Awards nominated book review AND “Everybody Counts!” is now available! (umm, sort of)

With all the supply-chain issues we’ve been dealing with the past couple of years (like a certain >ahem< picture book being delayed seven times), it’s nice to be able to announce that a book is actually EARLY!

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

My newest picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023) was scheduled for publication Jan. 1, 2023 – but somehow, bookstores are receiving it ahead of schedule, so the publisher is telling them all to feel free to sell it! After all, with the holidays here, what better gift for a child is there, than the gift of adventure, enlightenment, and wonder that comes with a new book?

Although Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other national booksellers are still holding fast to that Jan. 1 date, you can purchase a copy now at your local store, assuming they’re carrying it, or you can order directly from the publisher! Just let them know you want a copy and they’ll do their best to make that happen.

Everybody Counts! 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.

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge

Languages included in the book:

  • 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. As I mentioned, you can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target. (Or my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which offers personally-signed copies!)

By the way, speaking of BOOKS…

This is going to be a busy week for me! Tomorrow morning I will be visiting Manchester NH’s ONLY indie bookstore, The Bookery, for a story time/signing – then heading north to Warner, NH for a book signing at MainStreet BookEnds as part of the town’s day-long Hometown Holiday event.

The next day, Sunday Dec. 4, I’ll be in Meredith, NH at Innisfree Bookshop from 1-3pm for their holiday Open House.

As if all this weren’t enough, I’ll then head to downtown Concord on Wed., Dec. 7 for a storytime event at Gibson’s Bookstore. Whew!

Just a few of the SIXTY nominated books we are reading!

THE CYBILS AWARDS…

I’m a first-round panelist for the CYBILS Awards Poetry Category this year, and I thought I’d share a book that caught my attention.

(This review in now way implies I’m recommending this book to move on to the 2nd-round nor that it is a favored book, but rather that I was impressed by its writing and illustration)

The book is Ice Cycle: Poems about the Life of Ice (Millbrook Press, 2022) by Maria Gianferrari and illustraor Jieting Chen.

Beautifully worded and brilliantly illustrated, this creative nonfiction work makes you smile in wonder at the incredible and amazing aspects of the ice cycle about which you might not know.

The poems are sparse but tight, and the illustrations are bold and engaging; even though it’s educational, it almost feels like a bedtime read! The whole package makes for an easy, enjoyable time for young readers:

© 2022 Millbrook Press, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup and a poetic answer to an “unasked question, head over to Catherine Flynn’s little home on the web, Reading to the Core!

= = = = = = = = = =

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! 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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE (soon!):
EVERYBODY COUNTS!
(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!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

======================================================

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!

Poetry Friday: Looking back on two years of “Night Wishes”

Exactly one month ago, on Oct. 18, I celebrated the arrival of my newest picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022).

Just last week, I revealed the cover of my NEXT picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023), due out January 1.

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

Today, however, I’m going back in time…

…to a year that will live in infamy…

…the year that changed everything…

…2020.

There, I said it. I know plenty of folks who would just as soon forget about 2020 and the arrival of Covid-19, but I for one will always look at 2020 fondly; I sold two manuscripts that year, I saw two anthologies to which I contributed come out, and I got to discover first-hand what home-schooling was all about. (It really wasn’t as bad as I’d feared – although my kids might disagree!)

Hard to believe that was two years ago!

One of the two anthologies that were published in the fall of that year was one of the late Lee Bennett Hopkins’ final children’s poetry anthologies, Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020).

A unique concept for a poetry collection, the premise was that as a child gets ready to go to sleep, all the inanimate objects in their room are saying good night, in their own way.

For example, the bed invites the child to climb in after a long day, the teddy bear is ready to snuggle, and the pillow – well, the pillow is ready for adventure:

(click to enlarge)

All images © 2020 Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, all rights reserved

What an honor it was to be part of such a beautiful book with so many wonderfully talented individuals! You can learn more about the book by checking out my Book Birthday post about it.

I feel fortunate that I was able to connect with the marketing team at Eerdmans to help promote the book, as Lee had passed away the year before and could not share the news. I also connected with editor Kathleen Merz, who liked a poetry manuscript of my own that I’d sent her, and we signed a contract! (I still can’t divulge too much about it, but it’s one of the biggest, most important projects I’ve undertaken in my writing career and I can’t wait to tell everyone more about it!)
.

.Lee still has a couple more anthologies to be published posthumously, and I’ll tell you all about them right here.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll visit Jama’s Alphabet Soup for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup being served with cider, fruit, and all sorts of baked goodies – and a Thanksgiving poem from CJ Beaman.

= = = = = = = = = =

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!

=====================================================

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(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 webs