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 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 cover reveal for yet another picture book, and even more publishing news!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, then…a cover reveal!

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

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

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

That meant production came to a grinding halt.

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

So without any further ado, I present to you…

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

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

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

The book features 12 animals of varying ethnicities teaching the reader how to count to ten in each of their languages, along with an ethnic name and food item; hence, the term “everybody counts’ takes on a double-meaning. Languages included in the book:

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

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

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

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

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

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

.

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

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

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

= = = = = = = = = =

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career!

I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at my website!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!

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

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 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 look back at a Highlights workshop poem, “The Apple Tree”

As you probably know, the publication of my new picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), has been taking up all my time and attention the past few weeks – and now that it is officially available everywhere and my next book doesn’t come out for two more months (YES!! See below!), I thought I’d catch my breath and share a poem I originally posted way back when it was first written, in Oct. 2013.

True, I’ve written many poems while attending the Highlights Foundation workshops; you can read a poem about a stone wall HERE, some light verse HERE, or even a love poem HERE.

Such beauty and youth…

In this particular case, I was enjoying my very first Highlights Foundation workshop hosted by David L. Harrison and was relishing the opportunity to live, eat, breathe, and sleep poetry!

I was inspired to write many things during that week; one of them was this poem, written about an old tree I saw, situated alone in a field on the Highlights’ grounds in Boyds Mills, PA.


.

“The Apple Tree”

One autumn day while walking
alone in an unfamilar area I spied –
crouched like an old man
with a strong crutch
and weak heart –
an apple tree
standing in solitude amidst the sawgrass,
goldenrod,
and a few errant wildflowers,
so full of precious fruit
I surmised it must be
in wont of a visitor
with whom to share
its treasures.

Desirous of the beauty
I beheld, I journeyed
through green-amber weeds
high to my waist, urgent
soft steps growing
quicker, quicker
and more deliberate. How could ancient limbs
such as these carry the reward
that awaited me?

The tree beckoned, each coy leaf lifted
to expose
sweet bounty beneath.
Soon, I saw boughs heavy
as the Milky Way, bearing
stars upon stars
that outnumbered
and outshone the very leaves
that held them
in the sky.

Faster and faster I trod, consumed
by a fervent lust
for sustenance;
such succulence I’d never seen!
Closer, closer, I came,
heart and eyes wide and longing
until
breaths away…

I stopped.

Under shade of canopy,
only now could I see clearly
blessed fruit blushed
with blight.

Mold-speckled faces frowned
through borers’ brown holes
while wind-wrinkled skin hung
criss-crossed with blemishes
of age and neglect.
I stared for only a moment
then sat close to its trunk,
where low-hanging corpses
mocked my desire.

Yet
I would not leave this spot,
for I knew my hunger
was insatiable, and my thirst
unquenched. Here my craving
had begun, here it remained;
here I would remain
yearning, never satisfied,
but content
with what could have been.

– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine

…yet, upon closer inspection…

.

My friend Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday this week at My Juicy Little Universe, where she is celebrating Folktale Week with a video of the prologue to the musical Into the Woods – which is poetic and musical and just plain fun!

= = = = = = = = = =

(And OH, YES, dear readers, I have another picture book coming out the first week of January – and will be hosting the official COVER REVEAL here next week! I can’t wait for you to see it and learn more about it! If you love animals, numbers, and multicultural food, BE HERE NEXT FRIDAY!)

= = = = = = = = = =

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m also 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 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: Halloween, campfires, and a BEGINNER’S GUIDE winner!

All images©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Well, these past two weeks have been quite the whirlwind!

Since my newest book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), was officially published back on Oct. 18, I’ve been doing my best trying to keep up with all the well-wishers, reviewers, and influencers who have been sharing the news. Thank you so much, everyone!

In my last few posts I’ve shared links to many of the reviews that bloggers and others have published, but today I wanted to share a couple of new ones that just came out this past week – including an amazing review from The KidLit Mama herself, Elizabeth, who says she loves the real-world examples we include as well as my “Pro-Tips” for being a better human!

(and by the way, many thanks to Elizabeth for also giving my previous picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books, 2022) some love by including it in an Instagram reel she just posted yesterday!)

I’d also like to thank Mrs. BookDragon for her kind words about Beginner’s Guide this past week, as well as the Reading Eagle, who called it an “exceptional book…worthy of repeated readings,” and JustaBXMom who want the book to be normalized as a go-to baby shower gift!

One of the ways I celebrated the book’s birthday was with a special blog post and GIVEAWAY – and I want to congratulate our winner,

FEDERICO EREBIA!

Thank you so much for sharing the news about Beginner’s Guide, my friend, and I hope you enjoy the copy that’s headed your way!

Now, then – the poetry! I was thinking about what I should share today, and I realized Halloween is only a few days from now. What happened to summer?? But indeed, it is almost upon us…
.

Imminent

When clouds hang heavy in the sky
like serpent tails lit by the moon…
when bats and brooms begin to fly,
Halloween will be here soon.

When shadows cloak a curious trail
and night wind croons a mournful tune…
when specters prowl and spirits wail,
Halloween will be here soon!

– © 2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

Happy Halloween from Bob Ross and his Happy Tree!

Speaking of the holiday, while I never thought of my book Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) as a “Halloween” book, per se, apparently a lot of other folks do!

Over the last few years numerous bloggers and reviewers have been sharing their Halloween picks and I’m simultaneously surprised and humbled to see my book showing up on lists that include titles by folks like Neil Gaiman, Dr. Seuss, Aaron Reynolds, Charles Ghigna, and Patricia Toht, among others.

So, if you’re looking for some Halloween/outdoors/camping/autumn-themed books for your little ones, here are a few suggestions:

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my books, reading about my books, and sharing the news about my books – I couldn’t do what I do without you! For more poetry, plese head over to my friend Jone Rush MacCulloch’s little home on the web for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup and a celebration of a new book she contributed a poem to, The Poeming Pigeon!


I’m also 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 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: With a #BookBirthday behind me, it’s time for “Apple-Stealing”

All I can say is…you are in luck, my friend.

You see, I am finally taking a break from the inordinate amount of shameless self-promotion I’ve been fomenting this past week and going back in time.

All images©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

In case you haven’t heard, my newest book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), is officially in bookstores everywhere, and a few days ago I celebrated with a special blog post and GIVEAWAY that you can still enter! (Just leave a comment on that post and I’ll pick a name at random next week!)

I would also like to take a moment and thank the many folks who have posted reviews over the past couple of weeks:

As happy and thrilled as I am to have a new book out in the world, I thought readers might enjoy a break from the excitement with a trip back in time…to ten years ago…to my first published poem for a non-adult!

I say “non-adult” because it wasn’t really a children’s poem – it was definitely more YA. But considering it was published in 2012 – the same year I had left fulltime employment to work from home and be a stay-at-home dad – it definitely helped me feel like I was moving in the right direction with regards to young people’s literature.

The poem was titled “Apple-Stealing” and was about one night in college when a couple of friends and I snuck into the apple orchard right next to the college to steal apples late at night. Full disclosure: I would never advocate stealing anything and was extremely hesitant to go, but once I learned that the college actually paid the orchard several hundred dollars each year due to students stealing apples – well, I figured I had already paid for them and I was going to get my money’s worth.

Not sure that logic is completely sound, but it was good enough for me at the time)

So here’s my poem, which was published by the now-defunct Young Adult Review Network (YARN):

.

Apple Stealing

Moonglow; steadfast, unwitting
cohort,
lights autumn evening
orchard shadows
while three devious figures skulk
quietly between Macs
and Cortlands.

Grey watercolor brushstrokes soften
the edges; forms flow
one into the next;
our eyes unreliable,
texture,
…..distance,
…..…..perspective
give way to guesswork
and guile.

Crickets, night birds
knowingly
talk amongst themselves, voyeurs
in anticipation
watching us from their posts;
fighting
our fears, we dismiss
guilt,
ready our bags,
…..plan our attack,
and move in, deftly
selecting our prizes.

Suddenly, a rustling –
massive darkness looms
before us, behind, in front, beside
the trees;
bags dropped, we stop
cold, eyes straining, hearts
racing faster, faster
than stone-heavy legs.
Our criminality
laid bare, devil creature
raises its head in frightful judgment…
and bites

leisurely

.…..…..into fruit.

.
Horses steal apples, too.

– © 2012 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
.

This poem is special to me not just because it was my first young person’s poem published, but because poet/author Kip Wilson, who was one of the folks operating YARN at the time, nominated the poem for a prestigious Pushcart Prize! So this week I get to share both my newest piece of writing as well as my first piece of (young adult) writing. Hope you liked it.

Thrilled to be a Firstt Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I also hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Beginner’s Guide. You can order personally-signed copies of this or nearly any of my books from my local bookstore. And be sure to visit Wee Words for Wee Ones, where Bridget Magee is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!


I’m also 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 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 Roundup: Gearing up for “Beginner’s Guide” with news, reviews, and a poem about FAMILY

No matter how many books I may publish, I’m pretty sure I’ll never not be excited when a new one comes out. My sixth book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022), is due in stores everywhere this coming Tue., Oct. 18 – and I can barely stay seated!

(And by the way…YES, I’m hosting the Poetry Friday shenanigans today, so please leave your links in the comments below and I’ll round them up old-school style throughout the day!)

First up: Reviews!

If you have not heard, my sixth book is actually my first creative nonfiction picture book and introduces emotions and concepts like empathy, forgiveness, and love. It was written during the height of the pandemic back in 2020 and I had no idea at the time how important these things would be two years later.

A number of children’s lit bloggers and reviewers will be sharing their thoughts on the book over the next few weeks, but I did want to thank the ones who have already posted reviews:

I’d also like to thank Dr. Diane Jackson Schnoor for inviting me on her Adventures in Learning podcast to celebrate the upcoming publication of the book as well as creative writing in general.

We discuss the story behind the book, my love of poetry, and how fun creative writing can be both in and out of the classroom. I hope you’ll check it out!

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how Beginner’s Guide came about (it wasn’t even my own idea!), the process of creating it, and why getting the first rough draft down on paper is so important, please be sure to read Hollie Wolverton’s interview with me as part of her #FirstDraftFriday post last week.

What is “Family?”

Click to enlarge. Image ©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing poems I’ve written relating to some of the concepts included in my book. Last week, it was a nonet poem about forgiveness and a couple of weeks prior to that it was a definito about empathy.

This week, I thought I’d focus on family. Since family can mean many things to many people, I thought I’d do a list poem with no punctuation – to give the sense that there are no boundaries or borders to a family. There are no limits as to who or what can be considered family, other than those who love us and care about us.

.

Family

mother father sister brother
aunt uncle one another
grammy grampy nonny nan
poppy pépère vovó gran
in-law papaw second cousin
best friend cat dog half a dozen
biologic step or foster
all can show up on the roster
black or brown or beige or white
forward backward left or right
born adopted taken in
anyone can be your kin
half or whole or not at all
accent lisp or southern drawl
doesn’t matter who you are
close to home or way too far
down below or up above
the only thing you need is love

.

– ©2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

I do want to give a quick shout-out to Sara Grochowski, a youth librarian from Michigan who just shared a glowing review of Beginner’s Guide on her Instagram account yesterday! She told me that she’s working with twelve K-3 classrooms to overhaul their libraries this year and will be recommending they all add Beginner’s Guide. Wow!

The Poetry Friday Roundup:

As I mentioned earlier, the Poetry Friday roundup is here – so leave your links in the comments below and I’ll be sure to share them all. Thanks for visiting!

  • Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference shares two poems, one about a two-headed calf and another about snow – and they are both brilliant.
  • Patricia Franz is celebrating the release of WHAT IS A FRIEND?, Pomelo Books’ latest anthology which inclues one of her poems!
  • Marci Atkins also contributed a poem to WHAT IS A FRIEND? and you can read hers, as well, along with an original haiku.
  • Do you know what an ATC is? How about happy mail? Well, Linda Mitchell will shed some light on these terms with a new triolet at A Word Edgewise!
  • At an Alabama state park, a new Japanese garden that has been installed features haiku from several conemporary poets, including our own Robyn Hood Black, who shares hers at Life on the Deckle Edge.
  • Sally Murphy has written two “Wordy 30’s”. What is it with all these new vocab words today??
  • Not to be outdone, Jone MacCulloch shares three Wordy 30’s at her little home on the web!
  • You know what this world needs? A good tomato poem. Fortunately for us, JoAnn Early Macken has one!
  • Do you remember doing leaf rubs as a child? I’d forgotten about them until two years ago when we had to homeschool our two kids and that was a combo science/art project I devised for them. At Imagine the Possibilities, Rose recounts the fun and discovery with an original poem.
  • Over at Alphabet Soup, Jama Kim Rattigan “opens a book” – a poem by Julia Donaldson – and shares her love of books with some beautiful illustrative artwork and lovely memories.
  • Karen Edmisten celebrates October with a poem by Barbara Crooker.
  • Autumn also takes the spotlight at Teacher Dance where Linda Baie shares an original poem based on the prompt, “forgotten.”
  • Have you heard of “Birdtober?” It’s an artistic/writing challenge to create something each day of the month based on a different bird. Today, Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town responds to the challenge (for the 14th time this month!) with a beautiful original poem about the Phillipine Eagle.
  • At More Art 4 All, Michelle Kogan shares two haiku – one inspired by a recent walk and another inspired by her dad.
  • What’s better than crisp autumn days, apple cider, and pumpkins? Ice cream, of course! At The Poem Farm, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is in with a whimsical yet profound poem that includes all these wonderful things.
  • Since October is the 10th month, Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones is celebrating the first anniversary of her poetry anthology 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways with a poem by Irene Latham about – you guessed it – the 10th month!
  • Margaret Simon’s class has been participating in the National Writing Project and National Parks Service’s Write Out, and shares a couple of her students poems at Reflections on the Teche.
  • Heidi Mordhorst is “keeping it all together” (or trying!) by celebrating her 14th blogiversary with an original acrostic at My Juicy Little Universe.
  • Irene Latham at Live Your Poem continues her series of haiku paired with Picasso drawings with an ostrich poem she readily identifies with!
  • Dusty, musty, spiced up smells permeate Mary Lee Hahn’s new poem about fall, which you can read at A(nother) Year of Reading.
  • Head on over to Reading to the Core and Catherine will show you what a mock strawberry looks like, along with a draft of her a poem about it.
  • Karen Eastlund is enjoying the spookiness of Halloween by sharing some very non-spooky – and quite beautiful – spiderweb photos along with an original poem.
  • Janice Scully at Salt City Verse also has October 31 on her mind and shares a pre-Halloween poem from an unlikely persepctive!
  • Sarah Grace Tuttle offers brief reviews about two new books of poetry she’s been reading – and has a giveaway winner to announce, too!
  • Molly Hogan has been writing poems in response to various Inktober prompts and today she shares several at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone.
  • Joanne at WordDancer reflects on the fall foliage she enjoyed while on a revent trip to Vermont.
  • Last but certainly not least, Carol Varsalona recently gave a keynote address, “Teacher Writers, Awakeners of Learning,” for the Reading Specialists Council of Suffolk professional development program and shares a short poem inspired by teachers who are also writers at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link!
“Flashlight Night” in Encyclopedia Brittanica!
Click the link to nominate your favorite book(s)!

I’m very proud to be a First Round Panelist for the Poetry Category this year!

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

PRE-ORDER NOW:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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 #FirstDraftFriday interview, Brittanica, “Beginner’s Guide,” and a nonet, too!

Y’know…I should write my post titles in rhyme more often. (ha!)

You see, I’m very excited to share with you all the fun things that have been happening around here lately, and when I get excited, I speak in rhyme – not now and then, but all the time! What to share first? A photo? Reviews? #FirstDraftFriday? It’s hard to choose!

Ok, I’d better stop before this gets out of hand.

I’m sure, as a reader, you understand.

>Ahem<…

As I was saying, there’s a whole lot of news to share today, so let’s get to it!

#FirstDraftFriday

First off, I’d like to thank Hollie Wolverton for inviting me to chat with her for #FirstDraftFriday, a regular feature at her blog. For #FirstDraftFriday, Hollie likes to talk to authors about their books – but specifically how their manuscript’s first draft came about and their process for completing it, polishing it, and publishing it.

I’m so honored that Hollie asked me about the story behind A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022)! She asked me about how the book came to be, how I went about working on revisions, and tips on getting through the first draft – which, honestly, is the hardest part sometimes. But as the saying goes, you can’t edit an empty page, so finish up that first draft and then get revising!

(And if you visit her #FirstDraftFriday blog post today, you could win a manuscript critique from little, loveable me!)

“Beginner’s Guide” at the library

My first creative nonfiction book (from the publishers of Once Upon Another Timeintroduces concepts like kindness, empathy, and self-control and will officially be in bookstores everywhere Oct. 18.

But as I mentioned last week, some stores are getting their copies early and putting them out on the shelves immediately – which is wonderful! Any opportunity for readers to see the book and flip through it is an opportunity I’m happy to offer.

Another place that just received their copy of Beginner’s Guide is our local library, and it was so nice to see it standing proudly among all the other new books on display. Apparently, the librarian had just put it up a few moments before I walked in the door, so that’s what I call perfect timing.

“Flashlight Night” in Encyclopedia Brittanica??

Well, Brittanica’s website, at least! Before I get to today’s poem, I have to tell you how flabbergasted I was to discover that my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was included on Encyclopedia Brittanica’s list of “11 Children’s Books that Inspire Imagination.”

Wow! And what a list, too, with famous, award-winning titles from folks like Dan Santat, Julie Fogliano, and Andrea Beaty. It’s quite an honor, and I’m still flying high.

A ‘forgiveness’ nonet

I was recently reading Irene Latham’s poetry collection Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems (Charlesbridge, 2020) so the nonet form was fresh in my mind when I began thinking about what to write for today’s post. (Learn more about the form at Irene’s link)

As I looked through the pages of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human for inspiration, one spread jumped out at me; of a father apologizing to his son. When I wrote the book, I felt it was important to show an adult asking for forgiveness rather than a child, and my editors agreed…

Image ©2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved

Children are always the ones having to say “sorry,” and I thought it was about time to show that we parents mess up sometimes, too. We’re not as infallible as we like to think, and we need to fess up.

So with that in mind, I wrote this nonet:

.

Forgiveness

One
mistake
may not seem
like a big deal,
but to the other –
the child whose eyes rain tears –
it could mean everything.
Set aside your parental pride
and ask for the forgiveness you need.

– ©2022 Matt Forrest Esenwine

.
I hope you like it! And I hope you’ll check out A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human, too. Sarah Grace Tuttle is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, where she is sharing her process for writing metrical verse. For those unfamilair with meter, iambs, and syllable counts, it’s a great primer!

Next week, the roundup arrives HERE – and I’ll be celebrating with more Beginner’s Guide news, our first reviews, and a whole bunch of poetry. Be sure to stop by Oct. 12!

Click the link to nominate your favorite book(s)!

I’m very proud to be a First Round Panelist for the Poetry Category this year!

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

PRE-ORDER NOW:
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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: CYBILS Awards, a favorite past winner, and ‘Beginner’s Guide’ is popping up in the world!

Even if I didn’t know I had a new book coming out next month, I’d still know – because only when a new book is due does life get this busy!

I’ve been coordinating interviews with bloggers, corresponding with bookstores, getting marketing posts out and scheduled, and already signing copies of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022)!

My first creative nonfiction book (from the publishers of Once Upon Another Timeintroduces the very human concepts and emotions of love, creativity, and empathy, and I hope you’ll check it out. (You’ll certainly have plenty of opportunity to do so, as the number blog posts, reviews, interviews, and podcasts will start increasing as we get closer to publication date of Oct. 18!)

I’ve already seen the book on the shelf of one local bookstore, Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH (guess they couldn’t wait, ha!), and yesterday I spent part of my afternoon signing all the fresh copies that had just been delivered to another local bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, NH. I absolutely LOVE this!

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I’ve just learned that I will be a First Round Panelist for this year’s CYBILs Awards! I’m always eager to see what books get nominated for the various categories (I get to judge poetry!), and I’m especially excited because there are finally, finally TWO separate categories for poetry collections and verse novels.

Many of us have been requesting this for years, because it’s impossible to compare a collection of poems written for a 2nd-grade reading level with a YA verse novel. They might both be poetry, but they are as different as a board book and an early reader – they are two completely different genres, and it’s nice to see the CYBILs recognizing this.

Nominations for all the categories will open on Oct. 1, so be sure to check out the CYBILs website for all the info – and bookmark it so you can stay updated!

So to celebrate the CYBILs, I thought I’d reach back in time and share a poem from the book that won First Place in the Poetry Category the very first year I participated as a panelist or judge: 2013! (Wow, has it really been 9 years?)

The winning book was Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013) by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who at the time I’d only recently connected with on social media. Over the ensuing years, however, Amy and I would get to know each other better through our poetry, our books, and a mutual friendship with the late, great Lee Bennett Hopkins.

We’ve even had the privelege of contributing to each other’s books – me, by writing a soccer poem for her book Poems are Teachers (Heineman, 2017) and her, for contributing a poem to an upcoming poetry anthology of mine.

One of my favorite poems from her book has delightful wordplay and is beautiful in its simplicity and brevity – neither of which is an easy task, when it comes to poetry:

Image ©2013 Clarion Books and Robbin Gourley, all rights reserved

If you click the image, you’ll be whisked away to Jama Rattigan’s original blog post celebrating the publication of Forest Has a Song, so I hope you’ll check it out if you missed it 9 years ago!

Here in present day, however, Tabatha is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, and sharing a cute pussy willow poem, “The Willow Cats,” by award-winning poet Margaret Widdemer.

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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: Flying Jet Packs, Bacon Steak, and the Rule of Subtraction – What I learned at the State Fair, Part X

As you may know, I’m the PA announcer for our local state fair, which takes place every Labor Day Weekend from Thur. afternoon through Monday, Labor Day. It’s a roughly 55-hour weekend, and between oxen pulls, demo derbies, and giant pumpkins, it keeps me busy! With anywhere from 80,000 – 100,000 people attending, I’m letting folks know when the next musical performance is, how to get tickets for the monster truck show, or where the nearest ATM or bathroom can be found.

That’s a lot of talking – and, since I don’t use a booth, it’s also a lot of walking.

I recall using a FitBit or something like that one year and discovered I had walked 9 miles in just ONE DAY. And really, if one is going to consume a weekend’s worth of fair food, one needs to fit as much exercise in as possible, ha!

In amongst all my walking and talking, I always learn new things and make discoveries – and as is tradition here at the ol’ Triple-R, I share what I learn here. In the past I’ve told you about chainmail socks, the invincibility of teenagers, and the beautiful perfection of donut cones.

This year is no different, and I will be including a poem at the end of this post, for Poetry Friday!

Although this is my 10th year of sharing these little tidbits of knowledge (and my 12th year of announcing), it seems there’s never a dearth of things to learn about…

For the most part, food vendors tried to keep things affordable. It was nice to see that, in an age where inflation runs rampant and everything is 2-3 times more expensive than it used to be, fair food wasn’t dramatically overpriced. Most (not all, alas, but most) food vendors had only raised their prices by a buck or so, which was reasonable, considering the circumstances. There were some who didn’t post any of their prices – so you discovered the prices only once you got to the front of the line – but generally, vendors were pretty responsible.

Speaking of food, the giant stuffed baked potato remains the most perfect food on the planet. It’s got something from every food group, every food pyarmid level, every kind of vitamin and mineral you could possibly want – because just about every food item ever invented is on it. Heaven on a plate.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but it was so big it probably weighed at least a pound. That’s how it felt sitting in my stomach, anyway. A good night.

Llamas can hum. As I’ve told you before, I always learn something new at the fair. I may not learn anything particularly useful, but I learn something new.

Giant pumpkin growers take their vocation seriously.

That large one on the left won 1st place at 1195 lbs. This year was a smaller year than normal.

I always make a point to chat with the farmers who specialzie in growing the giant pumpkins and they often share some of their tips with me: use good quality giant pumpkin seeds; till a good pile of compost into the ground in the fall, mulch it, and let it rest until spring; pull off any flower buds untill the vine is about 1-12 feet long, and then once you start seeing pumpkins growing, pull them all off except for the best-looking one.

Some have said they inject milk into the vines, others say to cover the fruit when in direct sun, as the skin hardens faster, preventing growth. And I could go on and on. I don’t know if any of this actually helps, but they sound like they know what they’re doing.

I want to do this when I grow up:

That’s right – water-powered jetpacks lifting stuntmen 50 feet in the air. It’s called the Jet Pack Flying Water Circus and it’s my next big career move. They are affiliated with the Nerveless Nocks, descendents of a famous Swiss acrobatic family and they have quite a reputation for putting on incredible shows!

Pay attention to the folks serving you and preparing your food. I ordered a sub from one of the vendors and after the guy took my money and gave me my change, he grabbed a roll and started making my sandwich. Bare hands, the entire time. One would think after what the country has gone through over the past two years, people wouldn’t be this stupid – but apparently they are. That was a big NOPE for me.

“Bacon steak” is a thing. Somehow, over an entire 5-day weekend, I never got around to trying this or even taking a picture, but there was a food vendor selling what they called bacon steak: a one-to-two inch slab of bacon that was cut into giant chunks, put on a skewer, and deep-fried. It was $15 per serving. Did I mention it was deep-fried? I think I remember now why I never tried it. (Hey, even I have my limits!)

Robots have invaded the state fair. Being an agricultural fair, there is a very large 4-H presence here – with horses, cattle, sheep, rabbits, and just about every other farm animal represented. We also have an entire building devoted to showing off the 4-H projects on display, from arts and crafts to vegetables.

But this year, we had robots!

The local 4-H Robotics was on hand to show fair attendees what they do, what they are learning, and how the robots they have created function. This particular team has won numerous awards, too, so it was wonderful to be able to chat with them and see their robots in action. Bonus: none of the robots tried to launch an uprising, which was a relief.

Glazed donut burgers aren’t as awesome as you might think. I keep hearing people saying how incredible glazed donut cheeseburgers are (whereby you use a sliced glazed donut in place of a normal bun). The one I tried – for the first time in my life – was mediocre. And I know it wasn’t the burger, cooked by a friend of mine who operates a food truck, and I know it wasn’t the donut, either, because I know the folks who make the giant donuts, too, which are phenomenal. Alas, the glazed donut burger was less than sum of its parts. Glad I tried it, but not worth trying again.

Chainsaw carving follows the Rule of Subtraction. This is according to master chainsaw carver Ben Risney, who is a regular fixture here at the fair. He takes huge logs like these…

…and turns them into works of art like these:

What Ben means by the “Rule of Subtraction” is that he always has to be aware of what he’s cutting, because the entire process is a process of removal – once it’s cut, it’s cut! There is no, “Oh wait, let me put this piece back.” Every sculpture is created using nothing but chainsaws – he has many different size saws, but no chisels, no picks, no knives.

And if you think these sculptures are incredible, also consider the fact that each one is completed in the time it takes for Ben to do a demonstration – 45 minutes to an hour! He’s amazing AND fast.

So in keeping with today’s “fair” theme, I thought I’d share a fair-themed poem with you for Poetry Friday. This one was actually written specifically for a fair by Leslie Ball, a writer and singer from Minnesota who wrote this poem for the Minnesota State Fair:

The Fair is a Living Thing
.

Just past six a.m.

Light starting to leak into the sky.

They predict rain.

We don’t care.

Today is day one of our beloved State Fair.

People already streaming onto the grounds.

Three teenage boys cross in front of us, each wearing a feed cap, Each leading a newly shorn lamb.

We hike past the old Machinery Hill…
.

– © 2006 Leslie Ball, all rights reserved (read the rest of the poem HERE)

.

I would also encourage you to check out “Country Fair” by Charles Simic, one of the preeminent poets from our state and the former U.S. Poet Laureate who succeeded the late, great Donald Hall, also from New Hampshire, in that role. It’s less about a country fair and more about the side shows, but it’s worth reading and contemplating.

Looking for more poetry? My friend Kat Apel is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup from Down Under – at her blog, Kat’s Whiskers! She shares some updates as to what she’s been doing recently, between book festivals and book releases, poetry swaps and picture book polishing!

Me? I’m just excited for what’s about to happen in just one month:

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
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: