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: Rainbow Eucalyptus Part II, the poem you never saw

Sometimes, blog posts just sort of create themselves.

Case in point: last week, I shared my Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poem that was included in J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015). But then just a few days later, I discovered that I’d never shared the poem that didn’t make it!

You see, when Pat asked me to write a poem about these trees, I had to do a lot of research – having never heard of them before, I needed to learn about what they looked like, why they looked like they did, and where on Earth one would even find them. This took me a solid day, at least. I then set about trying to come up with a poem worthy of a National Geographic book, and eventually wrote two of them.

The poem I shared last week, the one that made it into the book, was actually the second poem I wrote; the first one never saw the light of day. I sent Pat both poems so he could decide which he preferred, but I was glad to see he chose the second poem, as that was my favorite of the two, as well.

But that first poem was nice, nonetheless, and I always regretted that no one would ever read it. So why not publish it here??
.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Near a clearing in the forest,
jungle pixies paint with glee
the canvas of a eucalyptus;
Nature’s artist-tree.

– © 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine 

.

Rainbow Eucalyptus, Wikimedia Commons, by amelia

You can probably see why both Pat and I preferred the second poem; this is nice, but very simple and not exceptionally engaging. The second poem is much more vivid and contains fun, inventive wordplay.

Analyzing it now, this feels more like the “rough draft” of the second poem – although I didn’t realize it when I wrote it. Just goes to show you how important it is to keep working at your project, even when you think you’re done, ha!

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Tanita Davis’ blog fiction, instead of lies, where she shares a poetic exercise that was a lot more taxing than she ever imagined!

ALSO:

My next picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human  (Beaming Books, 2022) is only two months away from publication, and we could use your help!

My first-ever creative nonfiction book comes out October 18 and you’d like to help share the news with the world, I’d love for you to be part of our official Launch Team! Just send me an email at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and let me know. We’ll send you a link so you can read the digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) and will coordinate news and announcements with you to share.

It’s not a lot of work – sharing social media posts, leaving reviews, etc. – but it’s a significant way you can lend a hand in showing support for a book you like. And if you’re a blogger or influencer and would like to be part of our official blog tour/virtual launch, I can make sure you’ll receive a free copy of Beginner’s Guide to give away to one of your followers!

Image © 2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved; reprinted with permission

Again, just email me if you’d like to learn more and I’ll take it from there. I hope you’ll jump on board!

And thank you so much for all your support – I couldn’t have come this far without you!

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

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!

Book review: “S is for Sea Glass”

It’s my last week of vacation, so I thought I’d re-share this post from summer 2014. Since I’m living life oceanside at this moment – with a few pieces of sea glass I’ve found along the shore – I figured this particular post would be quite apropos! 

Jan at BookSeed Studio has today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, including a couple of original sijo poems and a poetic library just to my south, in Cambridge, MA!

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

I write poetry in a variety of styles and forms – some rhyming, some free verse. Some structured, some not quite so.

You can therefore imagine how refreshing it was for me to see a children’s poetry collection that offered this same sort of variety – not the cut-and-paste sing-song of simple rhyming verse, nor the page-after-page of non-rhyming, uneven line-length free verse (which can sometimes get heavy for children’s poetry). In the case of Richard Michelson’s S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2014), we’re talking about a smart, well-structured book that carries one theme – poems about the beach – but presents that theme in 26 different ways.

Sea Glass cover

Because a trip to the beach or ocean carries with it so many different moods, sights, and feelings for a child, this book makes good use of poetic forms to highlight those differences. One minute the reader is contemplating the ebb and flow of tides, and the next he or she is chuckling over the author’s query of what, precisely, a mosquito is good for.
…..

H is for Horizon

Where does the sea stop and the sky begin?
Where does the sun rise when the dawn slips in?
Where does the ship sail when its sails disappear?
Is it under the ocean? Is it up in the air?

If I travel the world or stay here on this beach,
The horizon will always be just beyond reach.
But its real as my dreams and it’s always nearby –
That magical line where the sea meets the sky.

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

.

Doris Ettlinger’s illustrations perfectly match the poems, as they are neither trite nor bold nor ornate…but are simultaneously happy and calm, fun and reflective, cool and warm. The fact that it’s an alphabet book is almost superfluous.

Which, I suppose, is a good thing, as I feel many of the poems – most, in fact, read above the level of a child who would need to learn the alphabet. As a collection of poetry, as a book about the beach, as a book that reflects the wonders, mysteries, and joy of being ocean side…S is for Sea Glass is beautiful. The fact that it’s an alphabet book seems unnecessary.

Here’s another one of my favourites:
…..

R is for Rain

Nobody’s  at the beach today. ‘Most everyone’s complaining.
…..The sky is dark. The clouds are thick. And I, the Rain, am raining.

…..…...Folks let waves splash them head to toe. Do you hear any whining?
……….……….No!
…..…..…..They think it’s fun to get wet when their friend, the sun, is shining.

…..…..…..…..I cool the breeze. And fill the seas. Who’s not a rainbow lover?
…..…..…..…..…..So why, when I come out to play, do they all run for cover?

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved


Like I said, smart, beautiful, relatable  poetry. And it’s poetry that makes children think as much as smile. Hopefully, the next time they go to the beach, some of the images will be fresh in their heads. I know many of the images are fresh in my head – but then again, I’ve been spending all week here by the ocean.

And I think it’s time I did some more refreshing. I hear the surf calling my name…

York beach

 

And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this journey with me! I couldn’t have made it this far without your support, and I truly appreciate it.

Check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from m PB22Peekaboo partners!
=====================================================

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!

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: 2022 Summer reading lists and “Night Wishes”!

Well, it’s that time of year again – the kids are getting out of school for the summer and parents are wondering how to keep them busy!

Many schools and libraries share lists of suggested summer reading for parents, of course, and I’m very proud to see several of my own books showing up on these reading lists and blogs.

.

SUMMER READING LISTS!

A few of the folks I’d like to thank:

Kansas NEA Reading Circle – Recommended Title (Flashlight Night)

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School (MO) (Flashlight Night)

We Are Teachers (Flashlight Night)

Fairfax County (VA) Public Library “Picture Walks” (Flashlight Night)

Emirates Education Program “Summer Reading List 2022” (Flashlight Night)

World News Era “Summer Reading List 2022” (Flashlight Night)

West Vancouver Memorial Library “Summer Reading Recommended Titles”
(I Am Today)

The Contented Reader “25 Wonderful Books for Earth Day” (I Am Today) (True, this was initially posted for Earth Day 2022, but why not celebrate the Earth year-round??)

Book Trib “Celebrate Our Planet” (Once Upon Another Time) (This was published last spring, but I didn’t come across it until today, so I wanted to make sure I included these nice folks!)

Advent Lutheran Church (NYC) (Once Upon Another Time)

Severna Park United Methodist Church “Caring for Creation (Addressing Climate Change)” (Once Upon Another Time)

Compassionate Christianity (Once Upon Another Time)

Newton (MA) Free Library (Night Wishes)

Book Nerd Mommy “Not-to-be-missed Picture Books” (Night Wishes)

Book Nerd Mommy “Fantastic Poetry Picture Books” (Night Wishes)

Hello, Wild Things “Flashlight Book Basket” (Flashlight Night) (This was posted in 2020, but I just love the concept!)

Asa Books July Reading List (Flashlight Night) (This was also originally from 2020, but I just came across it yesterday and wanted to give them a shout-out. Thanks, folks!)

Last but not least, I want to thank Jena Benton for reviewing Once Upon Another Time on her blog this past April for National Poetry Month! I never realized it until this past week, so thank you so much, Jena!

Since it’s Poetry Friday, I thought I’d share two poems from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ anthology Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020), which has received so much love from librarians and children’s book lovers!

One of the poems is my contribution and the other was written by my friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I was surprised to see that we both used the term, “child” – which I think helps maintain the book’s continuity – even though neither of us saw the other’s poem until the book was published!

There’s a lot more poetry in store! Today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup is at MoreArt4All, Michelle Kogan’s little home on the web, so I hope you’ll stop by and check out all the links and fun!

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to get published without an agent, I hope you’ll join Natasha Yim, Ashok Banker, and Yours Truly for what I hope will be a fun, informative panel discussion with San Francisco Northeast Bay SCBWI hostess Gennie Bruce Gorback next Wed., June 22!

Registration closes TODAY, June 17 – so don’t delay!

Only $5 for SCBWI members, $10 for non-members – so no excuses! I’ll be watching for you. 😉

.============================================================

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

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!

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

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: New “Stargazing” picture book announcement!

Wow, what a busy week it has been! I’ve written a new poem for an upcoming anthology, I’ve had a new book list published at Shepherd.com (more on that below), and librarians across the country are taking advantage of a package of ocean-themed activities that my 2022 picture book marketing group and I have put together as a way to supplement CSLP’s summer reading program.

In the midst of all this, you can imagine my joy when I learned from my publisher that I can officially announce the awesome news that I have ANOTHER picture book coming out!!

The Thing to Remember about Stargazing – a book that has been nearly TEN years in the making – will be published by the incredible folks at Tilbury House (fingers crossed for the latter part of 2023), and the illustrator they’ve signed is none other than the amazingly talented, award-winning Italian artist, Sonia Possentini.

Sonia Maria Luce Possentini

If you are unfamiliar with Sonia’s work, you need to visit her website and check out some of her beautiful work. She’s had numerous art exhibitions in addition to her illustration work and I believe she will bring an elegant and pastoral tone to my book.

What is Stargazing about, you ask?

Well, it answers the question: what is the most important thing to remember about stargazing? Is it when to do it, who to do it with, what to look for? (Hint: It’s none of those!)

Written in a loose, lyrical narrative, it is my hope that Stargazing – with its unique blend of poetic text and science – encourages, entices, and enchants. And with Sonia’s illustrations, I’m sure it will!

.

So remember when I mentioned earlier that the book has been nearly ten years in the making? Well, Stargazing actually started off as a poem. Way back in 2014, the late poet, educator and anthologist Paul Janeczko asked me if I had any poems he might consider including in a poetry anthology of “how-to” poems he was putting together – which would eventually become his posthumously-published The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog (Candlewick, 2019).

One of the poems I sent Paul was a much shorter, slimmed-down version of Stargazing. He decided not to select it for his book, so I held onto it for a while and a few years later asked our mutual friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich what she thought of the poem. She liked it, but suggested it might be a bit too long for a children’s poem – perhaps, she said, either pare it down to make it shorter or flesh it out into a picture book manuscript.

Not really wanting to cut anything from what I’d written, I opted for the latter. I added, revised, tweaked, and polished – and eventually began submitting it. Twenty five rejections later, Tilbury House read it and immediately contacted me to ask if it was still available! (This is why I tell newcomers that you must, must, MUST keep subbing – if you believe in your story, don’t give up on it)

You can see now why I felt Poetry Friday was the perfect time and place to announce the official news; a poem that ahs become a picture book! I’ll be sharing more details over the next year and a half, of course – but I can’t tell you how excited I am for the world to finally see this book.

By the way, speaking of poetry, I have a new list at Shepherd.com – a website that allows you to find exactly the types of books you’re looking for, because the books are categorized into Top 5 lists created by authors themselves!

Looking for historical fiction books about World War 2? Science fiction books published in the last 2 years about cyborgs? All children’s books about robots for 8-year-olds?

This is how specific you can get with Shepherd.com – and not only is it great for book buyers, but I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot of traffic from authors and illustrators using it as a means of finding comp titles. I do hope you’ll check them out!

Since my new list features what I consider the best children’s poetry collections about animals, I thought I’d share one of my favorites poems from David Harrison’s A Place to Start a Family (Charlesbridge, 2018):

Click to enlarge. ©2018 Charlesbridge, all rights reserved

By the way, I say this is my “new” list because I have another list, as well: the best children’s poetry collections about nature, which you can find HERE. I’m hoping to create at least one more list of picture books, which I’ll share once it’s been created and posted.

If you’re an author or illustrator and would like to learn more about Shepherd, head to their website and read all about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and the progress they’re making!

LIBRARIANS! Click the graphic to learn more about how you can receive TONS of free ocean-themed activities from my PB22Peekaboo partners and me – for use this summer, or beyond!

Since it’s Poetry Friday, there’s a lot more poetry awaiting you! Be sure to visit my friend Buffy Silverman’s blog for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

.

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

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!

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

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: My favorite 12-year-old poet returns – and “Beginner’s Guide” ARCs have arrived!

They say middle schoolers are hard to figure out – well, that is certainly true of my 12-year-old son, who claims he doesn’t like poetry even though he writes really good poetry. (huh??)

I’ve shared a few of his poems here over the past few months, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE. Well, he’s back with another, and I told him I’d be sure to share it with my blog readers.

Keep in mind, he’s not writing these as part of his schoolwork – he’s writing these in his spare time, yet is adamant he’s not a fan of poetry. Personally, I don’t care if he’s unsure of his opinion, I’m just glad to see him writing it and enjoying the process!

And yes, he does love all of those – he’s a budding conservationist, whose heroes are Steve Irwin and David Attenborough! So don’t be surprised if you see him hosting a show on Animal Planet one of these days.

Speaking of poetry and writing, I had a great time this past weekend at MainStreet BookEnds, a local independent bookstore in New Hampshire! My friend and neighbor David Elliott was there chatting and signing books during the morning, and then I stopped by and did the same for another couple of hours.

Me, bookstore owner Katharine Nevins, and David Elliott

This is the store that offers personally-signed copies of all of my books – so if you go online to place an order, you can leave a note requesting the book be signed, and to whom. The owner will send me an email letting me know, I’ll zip down to the store and sign it, and it’s in the mail in about 24 hours or less! How’s that for service??

In picture book news…

e-ARCs have arrived!

These are electronic Advance Review Copies, which publishers use to pre-promote the book to potential buyers, and are about as close to final proofs as you can get before they head off to production. I can only share one spread here, but I can’t wait for you to see the entire book:

The book is my first-ever creative nonfiction book to be published, so I’m eager for people to read it – but also anxious about what they’ll think! Personally, I love the concept (which was my editor’s idea), I love the structure and tone (my idea), and I love Andre Ceolin’s illustrations (his idea, natch).

I hope you’ll love it, as well! (Pre-orders are available now – just sayin’.)

Have a wonderful weekend! And since today is Poetry Friday, I hope you’ll check out all the poetry links and fun at Teaching Authors, where Carmela is hosting the complete roundup with STEAM-Powered Poetry and an original poem from a brand-new anthology.

.

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: Celebrating May 13th with birthday poet Kathleen Jamie – and a “double” picture book winner!

Last month we celebrated National Poetry Month with a ton of original poems inspired by my writing prompt, #PoetryCUBED – concluding last week with my own poem, “Spring.”

So today, I thought I would celebrate the birthday of a famous Scottish poet few people in the U.S. seem to know: Kathleen Jamie.

Now, granted, my Scottish heritage does make me a bit biased when it comes to European poetry, but Kathleen really is an amazing wordsmith who combines the imagery of Sandburg with the allegorical style of Frost. If you’ve not heard of her, you should:

.

Before the Wind

If I’m to happen upon the hill
where cherries grow wild
it better be soon, or the yellow-
eyed birds will come squabbling

claiming the fruit for their own…
.

– Kathleen Jamie, 2004

(read the entire poem HERE)

Kathleen was born on this very day in 1962 and had her very first book of poetry published at the age of 20! So happy birthday, Kathleen, and here’s to many more.

In other news…

I’ve discovered that amber light bulbs make you look orange…but when author copies of your new picture book finally arrive, you take a picture, nonetheless!

ALSO: In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week last week, I offered to give away TWO copies of any of my books to ONE teacher: one for them, and one for their classroom! I picked their name at random, but realized yesterday that I had neglected to announce their name here – so let me make amends right now. Congratulations to…

JENNA JOHNSON!

Jenna chose to receive two copies of I Am Today, which I’ll be signing and getting in the mail to her soon. (Thanks again, Jenna!) In the meantime, please check out today’s Poetry Friday roundup at Imagine the Possibilities, where Rose shares an original poem inspired by the late Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology, Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers 2020). Not only is it a wonderful poem she’s written, but it was one of Lee’s last anthologies before he passed away and I was honored to have been invited to write a poem for it.

.

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: The roundup is here, with an interview with children’s author/poet Leslie Bulion! (& GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to the Poetry Friday roundup!

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I brought back my popular writing prompt contest #PoetryCUBED and have been receiving lots of great poems. Keep sending them in! I’ll share more entries next week, but today I have a special guest: friend and fellow children’s writer Leslie Bulion!

Leslie is a fellow New Englander who lives in Connecticut, and has been writing nearly all her life. Like me, she began writing poetry for her own enjoyment since fourth grade and has been interested in science and nature for as long as she can remember. You can imagine, then, how surprised I was that I’d yet to invite her to visit the ol’ Triple-R!

Leslie earned graduate degrees in Oceanography and Social Work, and worked as a medical social worker and school social worker. Her first book, Fatuma’s New Cloth (Moon Mountain Publishing) won the 2003 Children’s Africana Book Award for best picture book, and since then she’s published 16 books, from poetry collections to middle grade novels.

Thanks so much for visiting, Leslie! Time certainly does fly, as we’ve known each other for nearly 11 years now. We first met online around 2010 or so, and then met in person at my first New England SCBWI conference in Mass. in 2011. (That was a momentous year for me, as I met not only you but also Jane Yolen, Lin Oliver, my former neighbor Tomie dePaola, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and myriad others!)

Since then, we’ve each had multiple books published and it’s been wonderful getting to know you, following along your writing career and conversing about children’s publishing. And now you’re celebrating your sixteenth book, with Serengeti: Plains of Grass! I know you have an affinity for both science and poetry, but this book is unique in many ways from your previous collections. Before we get to that, though, please tell me how the idea for the book came to you.

            Thank you very much for inviting me to your blog, Matt! I’m thrilled to share a bit of the backstory of how I came to write Serengeti: Plains of Grass.

            I have been wondering about and dreaming of revisiting the Serengeti since my daughters, my husband, and I were invited to East Africa by his sister years ago. I kept extensive journals during that month-long visit, and took countless photographs. Among many important experiences—in cities and towns, and with families and friends, and in other parks—our short time in the Serengeti left a deep impression. It took many years for me to find this path I finally chose to explore the Serengeti through poetry.

Now, the reason I say this book different is because many of your recent books have been poetry collections about specific subjects within an overarching theme: for example, Hey There, Stink Bug (Charlesbridge, 2006) included poems about different insects while Superlative Birds (Peachtree, 2019) featured poems about specific birds.

But with Serengeti, each poem on each spread reads as if it’s part of a larger whole; that is, the poems can be taken individually, but are meant to be linked together and read in a more traditional picture book style. How did you come to decide on this structure?

            I’m so glad you mentioned themes, Matt. My poetry collections are organized in many layers. Each has what I refer to as a “big idea.” In Superlative Birds, for example, the big idea is a tour of the traits of “birdness,” the specific poems showcase the “world-record holder” of each trait, and readers follow the chickadee spokesbird to find out which traits belong only to birds.

            In Leaf Litter Critters (Peachtree 2018), I set the stage for Serengeti by using poetry to explore a whole ecosystem. I consider that book a “hybrid” of sorts, since it takes readers through the decomposer/recycler food web employing many different poetic forms and lots of humor as I had done in previous (and subsequent) books.

            Serengeti IS different. Readers join the great migration of wildebeests, zebras, and others as they follow the early winter rains into and out of the Serengeti short-grass plain. The stanzas tell another story, too: the movement of energy through the food web from grass to herbivores, insectivores, carnivores, scavengers, recyclers, and back to grass again.

Just as all life in the Serengeti is interconnected, the stanzas and spreads in the book link one to the next, and end with a refrain, a reference to “grass,” to emphasize the basis of this open plain ecosystem.

Speaking of the book’s structure, you eschew your penchant for varying poetic styles/forms and instead stick with the utendi, a Swahili poetic form with Arabic roots, throughout the book. What drew you to this form?

            My experience in the Serengeti left me with a feeling of awe and wonder, Matt. I wanted to portray my impression of its story in a way that embodied my reverence for this remarkable place. In all of my books, my choices of poetic forms relate to the subjects of the poems: perfect rhyme can be quite humorous, different rhythms may relate to the movements of particular animals, and at times I choose forms that spring from the countries where particular animals are found.

            For Serengeti: Plains of Grass, I read about Swahili poetry and learned about the utendi stanza. I felt its three rhyming lines with an opportunity for a fourth line refrain would help me tell this story with respect and flow, linking one spread to the next. Kiswahili words end in vowels, and though I know only a few words and phrases in the language, as I read examples of the utendi stanza I chose to use a partial rhyme—the consonant end sound—in my adaptation of the form in English. Here’s an example, and you’ll see that even in this reverential book I allow myself a bit of wordplay:

Plains are cropped where wildebeests grazed,

leaving tender herbs exposed,

low-ground growth is nimbly used,

fleet gazelles nibble gnu-mown grass.

(©2018 Peachtree Publishing Co., all rights reserved; reprinted with permission. Click to enlarge).

I love it! Ingenious and musical use of wordplay is something I truly appreciate, and the internal rhyme in the third and fourth lines especially is, indeed, ingenious and musical. As someone who loves trying new poetic forms, I often wonder if I’m doing the forms justice; that is, not having written in those forms before, I hope my poems are as good as those that have come before. How do you vet your poems, particularly those written in a poetic form that is new to you?

            I love trying new forms, too! When I do that, I go on a deep dive, reading many, many examples by different poets in addition to reading about the form in some of the poetry reference books and sites I admire. Then I trust my ear to hear the rhythms and notes of a particular form as I write, rewrite, read aloud, read to my critique group, and tweak some more. Since I’m the person writing the poem, the finished form has to make the music I need to hear.

When I’m writing, there are always things popping up that I don’t expect. Perhaps it’s something I didn’t know about the subject, or maybe the amount of research I needed to do. Did you encounter any surprises while writing Serengeti? Anything that caught you off-guard?

            As with all of my science poetry books, there are always such difficult choices: which critters make it into the book or which “end up on the cutting room floor,” as Betsy Bird asked me in an interview about  Amphibian Acrobats (Peachtree 2020). I had worked my way through the seasons and the Serengeti food web stanza by stanza to the end before realizing I hadn’t included elephants. They are not only a keystone species keeping acacia saplings in check, they’re a lifelong favorite of mine. And I was out of space. Thank goodness Becca Stadtlander included elephants in her spectacular illustrations!

They are spectacular, I’ll say that! And I know authors don’t have much say in the illustrations for their books, but was there anything surprising about Becca’s work? What was your impression upon seeing her interpretation of your subjects and words?

            Since my poetry books are nonfiction I am involved in the illustrations at the sketch stage. The whole team works hard to be sure the science is accurate in every interpretation. Just ask humorously accurate illustrator Robert Meganck about amphibian fingers and toes, or spider eyes! Sometimes an illustrator’s interpretation sends me back down a research rabbit hole to find out more so I can give the most accurate feedback.

            The only surprise in Becca’s work was how much more moving and gorgeous it looks on the actual, full-sized pages! I loved it on screen as she worked, but the trim size and format of the book is a much better showcase of her breathtaking artwork.

I noticed there seems to be more expository material in this book than others you’ve written. Was that your intention, or something your editor requested?

            This is an interesting question, Matt. When I wrote Serengeti, the entire poem came first. Then I wrote the long expository introduction, which none of my other books have, and the poetry notes I always include. Much, much later, I decided to add spare science notes to the spreads. These are much shorter than the notes that typically accompany my poems. I think these spare notes add an important element, though I suggest a first read through of the poem stanzas and illustrations for flow, then a second read spread by spread, including the notes.

            I offer my editor a list of the back matter I’d like to include when I submit the manuscript—always a glossary, often a map, a size reference chart, and further readings. The need for information about our responsibilities as humans on our planet grows more imperative and more complex each year, and that’s an important piece of the back matter.

I agree, and hopefully more and more people will realize the importance of that information. Finally, what can we expect next from Leslie Bulion?

            Thanks for asking, Matt! I am working on another “ecosystems” poetry book with Becca Stadtlander entitled Galápagos: Islands of Change, that will publish in the spring of 2023, also with Peachtree Publishing, Inc. This book tells the story of the seasonal rhythms of these iconic islands and their surrounding ocean waters in this fascinating interconnected land-and-sea ecosystem.

Well, thanks again for taking the time to chat, Leslie, and congratulations on Serengeti: Plains of Grass!

            Thanks to you, Matt, and best of luck with all of your upcoming projects!


~~ Giveaway! ~ ~

Would you like a free copy of Serengeti: Plains of Grass? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll select one winner at random! The winner will be announced next Poetry Friday, April 22. Speaking of giveaways, at the end of the month I’ll announce the winner of this month’s #PoetryCUBED contest; you’ve still got a couple of weeks to send me your poems, so be sure to email me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here!

I do need to take a moment and thank the Boston Globe for something quite unexpected I came upon this past week. If you had asked me back in 2012, the year I left full-time appointment at the radio station, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” you can be assured that I would not have said, “in the Boston Globe.”

And, yet…

It truly was an honor to be asked to contribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins’ award-winning book. I’ll always remember when I emailed my poem to him and he called it “perfection” that made his week! (Coming from Lee, that’s a compliment in the highest order) Lee would have been 84 this week, but his memory and legacy will endure not only through his books but by those of us he befriended and mentored.

By the way, the Globe also gave a nod to my friend and neighbor, David Elliott, for his poetry collection, In the Woods (Candlewick, 2020). I hope you’ll check out the complete list, which includes several other New England authors.

And since this is the Poetry Friday roundup, leave your links in the comments and I’ll round them all up, old school style!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

Poetry Friday links:

  • This is Carol Labuzzetta’s first year contributing to the annual Progressive Poem, and she shares her line and her process behind it – at her blog, The Apples in My Orchard.
  • Karin Fisher-Golton also added a new line to the Progressive Poem this week, and shares her process of how she came up with the line.
  • Michelle Kogan has Gray Catbirds on her mind, and shares an original poem about one.
  • Congrats to my friend, author/poet Laura Shovan, who is celebrating the first night of passover AND the 6th anniversary of her middle grade novel in verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, with a Passover-themed post that includes a recipe for Matzo candy – yum!
  • Linda Mitchell is having fun captioning postcards at A Word Edgewise and also shares a brand-new “star” poem.
  • Jama Rattigan is offering readers “Three Cups of Tea with Miss Emily” (Dickinson, that is) at Alphabet Soup – along with recipes for custard pie and cherry scones, from a new cookbook/poetry book!
  • At Life on the Deckle Edge, the art of pen-and-ink handwriting is on Robin Hood Black’s mind today, as she shares a post about glass pens, nib earrings, and a thoughtful haiku.
  • Spring and all its beauty – from cherry blossoms to busy robins – is the focus of a new original poem from Linda Kulp Trout.
  • Poems about…poetry! That’s what you’ll find at The Opposite of Indifference, as Tabatha shares some of Martin Espada’s work. She’s also signing folks up for the Summer Poetry Swap, so be sure to check it out!
  • Jone Rush MacCulloch eatures an interview with poet/author Sally Walker about her new book, Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku.
  • Patricia J. Franz accepted my #PoetryCUBED challenge from two weeks ago and shares the poem she wrote!
  • Found treasures and unusual places to look for them: that’s what Linda writes about today at Teacher Dance.
  • Over at The Poem Farm, Amy shares her newest proverb-inspired poem, based on catching flies (we know what works and what doesn’t, don’t we?).
  • Smidgey’s Identity Crisis Poetry Series continues at Wee Words for Wee Ones, as Bridget shares a new poetic video about a dog with lots of questions!
  • At Unexpected Intersections, Elisabeth shares a review of Diana Renn’s new middle-grade novel, Trouble at Turtle Pond, and an original poem about the endangered European Swamp Turtle.
  • Marcie Atkins shares a Chinese paperbush haiku and an invitation to a webinar about collaboration, hosted by our longtime Poetry Friday friends Irene Latham and Charles Waters.
  • Kangaroo Paw and Nasturtiums: Imagine the Possibilites, with Rose’s two new, original poems!
  • As if plastics weren’t bad enough for the environment, now there are MICROplastics – sigh. Catherine at Reading to the Core offers up a Golden Shovel poem, for the Good of the Earth.
  • What is the Insect Apocalypse? Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading shares an original poem that addresses the imminent threat to our planet and the species that are not thriving as they used to.
  • At Live Your Poem, Irene shares a bunny pic just in time for Easter along with a poem about parrot friendship.
  • Amy Soto, the Mother Goose Librarian, reviews Stop That Poem!, an ingenious poetry picture book by our friend Eric Ode, and offers the first drafy of an original poem inspired by the book.
  • Michelle H. Barnes has been busy “filling the well,” so to speak – and at Today’s Little Ditty, she fills it up with poet Lucille Clifton, sculptor Anthony Howe, and singer/pianist Akeboshi.
  • With a title like “The Upper Case for Being,” you know the poem is going to be intriguing; Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe shares an original poem that takes equal indpiration from Narnia, the book Braiding Sweetgrass, and a little Taoism thrown in for good measure.
  • Have you ever heard of an N+7 exercise in poetry? Neither have I! But if you head over to Small Reads for Brighter Days, you can read Laura’s new sticky note poem inspired by it!
  • At Wondering and Wandering, Christie shares two new poems: one is the latest in her ‘Pathways’ series, inspired by her frequent nature walks, and the other is by a young debut poet (and by young, I mean, “in kindergarten!”)
  • Marilyn Garcia has been thinking about trans rights this week and the irony that today, Good Friday, millions of people are remembering the persecution and death of an innocent man. Check out her poem, “The Announcemnet.”
  • Zeena at Teaching Authors is in Cairo, of all places! She shares a poem by Egyptian poet omar ibrahim as well as a preview of her upcoming picture book, Egyptian Lullaby (Roaring Brook Press, 2023).
  • House renovations and confusion go hand-in-hand, and Karen Eastlund shares their progress at her place with a brief verse about packing up and (dis)organizing.
  • Anastasia Suen gives us a sneak peek at a cute new butterfly board book!
  • At Chicken Spaghetti, Susan Thomsen chose a beautiful spring poem from Jessie Redmon Fauset, “Rondeau,” to share with her readers.
  • “The silence of God” is something indeed worth pondering this Good Friday / Passover, and Ruth does just that with a powerful, moving poem from Andrew Peterson at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.
  • Speaking of Good Friday, Denise Krebs offers up an original poem for the day at Dare to Care.
  • Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia features a senryu inspired by a photo taken in the early 1930s of her mother and mother’s cousin, when they were children.
  • Janice Scully has a review of our friend Laura Purdie Salas’ latest book, We Belong.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Carol at Beyond Literacy Link is sharing her gratitude by sharing an original springtime haiku as well as various poems, photos, and artwork that have inspired her this past week.

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

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my newest picture book,
I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
from my local independent bookstore!

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

I’m now a 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 any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

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: “I Am Today” is officially everywhere – and so are sea turtles!

Well, it finally happened.

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) was officially published this past Tuesday!

Children are always being told they are the “Future”…but what if a child doesn’t want to wait, to make a difference? I Am Today is about a young girl who recognizes a need to take action, but also recognizes that she needn’t wait to take that action.

Many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers
who have shared their opinions about
I AM TODAY:
.

  • “An evocative story of a young girl standing up for what she believes in.”
    Roxanne Troup, GoodReads with Ronna
    .
  • “Flawless rhymes and stunning illustrations…A wonderful book that should be in every home, classroom and library!”
    The Momma Spot / Future Bookworms
    .
  • “An inspirational and motivational story about a young girl who is acting TODAY rather than waiting for the future to make change”
    Little Book Locker
  • “This inspiring, heartfelt picture book literally gave me goosebumps with its hopeful message.”
    Marianne Knowles, author and STEM Curriculum Coordinator at the Museum of Science, Boston
    .
  • “[The book] brings to mind that every child is unique and has a VOICE. Hopefully, it will find cozy corners in bedrooms and reading/writing stations in classrooms.”
    Carol Varsalona, literacy advocate and Wonder Lead Ambassador for Wonderopolis
    .
  • “An absolute delight…Love, love, love it!”
    Brian Gehrlein, author of THE BOOK OF RULES (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022)

.

All images © 2022 POW! Kids Books, all rights reserved

Learn more about the book and read reviews at the “I Am Today” Blog Tour:

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of I AM TODAY from my local independent bookstore today!

Sea turtles play a big role in the story. In fact, readers can even learn how to make their own origami sea turtles – just like the main character makes – using instructions included at the end of the book! So as I was preparing this week’s post, I thought about how I could incorporate sea turtles into a Poetry Friday post about my new book.

And then the poem just came to me…

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sea turtle tanka

under sea salt moon
you pull yourself from fierce waves
with lumbering grace,
climb above the high tide line;
a family left in sand                   

© 2022 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

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In case you do not know, this poem form is a tanka – a Japanese form similar to a haiku, although it actually predates haiku. The syllabic structure, in English-language terms, is 5-7-5-7-7, although one needn’t follow this religiously as our syllables are not exactly the same thing as Japanese syllables. But for simplicity’s sake, I stuck with the structure.

Hope you like it! And I hope you’ll check out I Am Today, as well! For all of today’s Poetry Friay links and fun, head over to Kat Apel’s blog Kat’s Whiskers, where she is celebrating the release of her newest verse novel, What Snail Knows (University of Queensland Press)!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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