A flashlight night for “Flashlight Night!”

I have to apologize to my fellow Poetry Friday-family members…I read almost no one’s posts over the weekend because I was just so busy. And when I say “busy,” let me explain…

Here in our town we were celebrating our annual Fall Foliage Festival, which is a huge event. We may have barely 3000 residents, but downtown swells to thousands and thousands more each year on Columbus Day Weekend. Amusement rides, artists and craftspeople, oxen pulls, tons of delicious food, pancake breakfasts, and a road race are all part of the festivities, as well as a book signing I attended at the local indie bookstore Sunday afternoon, after I finished walking in the parade with my daughter. (We also helped our church celebrate its 200th birthday AND found time to go to a bonfire Sat. night…whew!) But the Friday afternoon event that kicked it all off this year was:

A story walk, featuring Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017)!

Yours Truly w/Eagle Scout Alex Swanson (photo courtesy Kathy Carson, InterTown Record)

When Eagle Scout Alex Swanson decided to earn a badge for community service, he thought creating a story walk along the newly-opened rail trail in town was a good idea. So he contacted the local rail trail organization and our local library to see what could be done…and pretty soon, the project was off and running!

One of the attendees checks out the cover at the beginning of the story walk

This past Friday, Alex, rail trail reps, and library volunteers put the finishing touches on 21 podiums featuring chronological spreads of my picture book, positioned from the library lawn down the street to the rail trail, which then continue into the woods along the rail, ending just 20 feet away from one of the state’s few remaining wooden covered bridges.

Yes, this is New Hampshire at its finest!

I was so honored that they used Flashlight Night as the inaugural picture book; granted, I live in town, but they could have still chosen any book they wanted, yet they chose mine.

I was also stunned (as were the organizers) by how many folks showed up for the grand opening of the story walk at 5pm on Friday. We had advertised it around the area, yet had no idea what kind of crowd we should expect; we hoped for at least a few families.

As it turned out, over 50 individuals – kids, parents, grandparents, neighbors – attended the grand opening, and none of us could have been happier!

(l-r:) Rail Trail representative Tim Blagden, Pillsbury Free Library children’s librarian Sue Matott, Alex Swanson, and some bald dude who wandered into the frame.

After each of us said a few words, I led the group down the path to each station. I would read the appropriate passage from the book, then allow members of the group time to look over each spread.

Kraken v. Grizzly!

Some folks had never heard of a story walk, so we wanted everyone to understand what Alex and the rest of us were doing, and to enjoy it as much as possible.

Oh, and as a nice little added touch, the rail trail crew offered flashlights to each family, so they could see the book spreads in the darkness of the shade. (After all, by 5:30pm, the sun is starting to say so long)

By the way, Alex is still attempting to cover his costs of putting this together, so if you’re interested in helping him out by donating a few bucks to the cause, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. In fact, he has a GoFundMe page available for donations.

It was surreal, I’ll tell you that. I know of several “flashlight night” events around the country, but when an author gets to be a part of one in this way, it’s quite humbling. And by the way, if you’d like to either create a story walk or host a flashlight night in your area, please don’t hesitate to email me at the address at the above-right, and I can get you in touch with the folks who organized this!

My book will be available for viewing for about 3 months or so, and then another book will take its place. Here’s to many more flashlight nights…with many other stories!

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Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

The life of a picture book: celebrating ONE YEAR for “Flashlight Night”! (Plus GIVEAWAY!)

I make a living using my imagination.

Whether it’s a poem, a picture book, or even a blog post, I love to stretch my mind and see what kinds of unusual, surprising, and creative stories and images I can come up with.

But I have to admit…it is very, very hard for me wrap my head around the fact that my debut picture book is ONE YEAR OLD today!

Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press) was officially published on Sept. 19, 2017 – and I could never have imagined the response it would receive nationally. I knew I liked it, of course; I knew illustrator Fred Koehler had done a phenomenal job on his end, and I knew our editor, Rebecca Davis, had performed an amazing juggling act between the two of us – balancing my story with the story Fred was telling via his illustrations.

I also had no idea, once I completed the final draft, that it would even get picked up by a publisher; nor could I possibly fathom how long it would take to produce, once the contract was signed. It might be the book’s one-year birthday, but the idea for the book is four years old now! So to give you a little perspective on the life of a picture book, I thought I’d present a timeline of the life of Flashlight Night:

  • August, 2014: Staring at my car’s headlights while driving home late at night from an SCBWI Meet-Up in Westford, MA, the words, “Flashlight opens up the night” pop into my head. As I toss this phrase around in my head I eventually come up with the opening and closing of…something. A poem? A book? Nothing??
    .
  • Sept. 9, 2014: After a couple of weeks of writing and revising, I complete the final draft of Flashlight. (That’s right, no “Night.” It looked a little different then…
    .
  • Oct. 7, 2014: With a hope and a prayer (and crossed fingers) I send the manuscript off to Rebecca Davis, the editor at Boyds Mills Press. Rebecca had seen some of my previous poetry but had not purchased anything up to this point. Before I email the manuscript to her, I change the title to Flashlight Night, so that there is no confusion with another book, Flashlight (Chronicle), which had just been published the week before I wrote my own flashlight book! How’s THAT for timing, huh?
    .
  • Dec. 2014: The Flashlight Night manuscript is awarded the New England SCBWI’s Peg Davol Scholarship for unpublished authors and receives a critique from an established, published author.
    .
  • Jan. 16, 2015: Five days after my critique, I receive a call from Rebecca, telling me she and her editorial board all love the manuscript. I am elated – not just because I had finally sold a full-length book manuscript, but because, had I followed the critiquer’s suggestions, the book would not be the book it is today. Indeed, it might not have even gotten published!
    .
    This is why critiques can be helpful, but only if an author takes the advice that makes sense to him/her. If you have read Flashlight Night, compare my notes with the book itself, and note how far it deviates from all the recommendations I was given:
  • May 18, 2015: I sign the contract for Flashlight Night!
    .
  • June, 2015: After seeing his concept
    Image © 2015 Fred Koehler, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission (click to enlarge)

    for the book’s sub-narrative, which includes the flashlight beam illuminating the children’s adventure, Rebecca signs Fred Koehler to illustrate our book. She shares with me Fred’s initial sketch of what he’d like to do with the book, and we agree it’s ingenious. (By the way, Rebecca and I have already gone through four text revisions at this point – and more are on the way!)
    .

  • Spring, 2016:
    (click to enlarge)

    Fred takes a 2-week trip to the United Kingdom to sketch and photograph the countryside, the shipyard, the ocean, and museum artifacts in preparation. Much of what he sees – including the trail into the woods, the clipper ship, and the rocky arch where the Kraken hides – ends up in the book. I tell Fred that I should have taken the trip first, THEN written the book – what a sweet tax-write off!
    .

  • July-Dec. 2016: Dummies of the book continue to be put together and taken apart, revised and edited. By early Dec., we realize that my original ending,“all is still within, without,” is simply not going to work with Fred’s illustrations, so I change the line to “adventure lingers, stirs about.” (It’s called “collaboration,” folks!) By Dec. 14, we have what we believe is the final dummy version of the entire book, text and illustrations.
    .
  • March 2017: And now we have a cover! The colors are a little bolder than they will eventually be, but it looks great:

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  • March 6, 2017: I am asked to fill out a questionnaire with social media contacts, bookstore info, and other folks I know who might be able to help in the promotional effort. (Wow, I thought. Things are gettin’ real…)
    .
  • April 12, 2017: F&G’s arrive.
    (click to enlarge)

    Short for “folded and gathered,” F&G’s are printed up following approval of a book’s final proofs. They look exactly the way the book will look once it’s bound, yet allow publishers’ marketing and sales teams to mail the books to buyers and trade journals without the heavy cover…shipping costs can get pretty hefty, as you can imagine!
    .

  • April-May 2017: Promotions get underway: full-page display ads in industry catalogs, inclusion in the Boyds Mills Press’ catalog…things are DEFINITELY getting real now. It feels like there is a new surprise everyday!
       
  • May 26, 2017: We receive our first review, and it’s a whopper. Kirkus calls Flashlight Night a “rousing read” and awards it a coveted Starred Review. As blown away as I am at this news…I am now eager to learn what others think of it!
  • May 26, 2017: Flashlight Night flashlights arrive, to be distributed to librarians and book buyers across the country! Yes, May 26 was a good day.
    .
  • June 2, 2017: Representatives of Boyds Mills Press attend Book Expo America, where just about every book publisher is showing off their upcoming catalog. I nearly fall over when I see the banner:
  • June 26, 2017: Two days after my birthday, my author copies arrive. It was the best non-birthday birthday gift ever, in the history of ever.
    .
  • July-August 2017: The industry reviews start coming in! One after another, they sing the praises of our little book:  Publisher’s Weekly states that my text and Fred’s illustrations “don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play;” The Horn Book calls Flashlight Night “an old-fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure; and Booklist describes it as “imaginative,” “surprising,” and “fantastical.”
    .
  • Sept. 1, 2017: The School Library Journal reviews the book, calling the verse “incantatory.” The reviewer’s final verdict is glowing: “A simple idea that’s engagingly executed and would be an excellent, atmospheric read for sleepovers or backyard campouts. A good choice for most collections.” I’m particularly proud that the text is referred to as a poem…which is how it first came to be and the genre that got me into children’s writing in the first place.
    .
  • Sept. 7, 2017: The National Book Launch takes place at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA – just
    Photo courtesy of Josh Funk (click to enlarge)

    outside of Boston. Although the book doesn’t officially come out until Sept. 19, this date had been arranged earlier in the year, when we thought the book was going to be released earlier. It is a dual book launch with my friend and fellow author Carol Gordon Ekster, who was also celebrating the release of her new book. The event is well-attended, we sell lots of books, and I breathe a sigh of relief! It is the fist of many signings, and I can’t wait to continue the book tour throughout southern NH and northeastern MA.
    .

  • Sept. 19, 2017: Flashlight Night makes it debut in the world!! (And on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, no less – how more perfect could that be?!?) A huge blog tour helps support the promotional effort with interviews, giveaways, and lots of great press – including an appearance by Fred Koehler on KidLitTV. (Book signings, readings, and school visits, oh my!) More than THREE YEARS after I first started tossing words around in my head to create my story, anyone and everyone who wants to have a copy, can buy one anywhere. It still feels surreal.
     
      
    .
  • Sept. 22, 2017: Three days after its release – yes, a mere THREE DAYS after its release, Flashlight Night shows up on Amazon’s “Best Books for Kids” list:

    (and “Flashlight Night” is ON SALE right now!)
  • Sept. 26, 2017: Unbeknownst to the publisher, we receive a tremendously positive review from Shelf-Awareness, in which the reviewer compares our book – favorably! – to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Talk about compliments that can humble a person.
    .
  • Sept. 27, 2017: More publicity! This ad
    (click to enlarge)

    was for an email blast for the online book retailer Mackin. With so many positive reviews, our publisher wanted as many potential customers as possible to see them.
    .

  • Oct. 7, 2017: Illustrator Fred Koehler informs me that The Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, FL is installing an exhibit featuring his original artwork for Flashlight Night. Each piece is to be framed and mounted on the wall, along with my text, in such as way as to allow a viewer to follow the story page-by-page:

    Photo courtesy Fred Koehler
  • Nov. 2017: I discover that Flashlight Night is one of Amazon’s best-selling children’s books about libraries and reading…and my head swells a wee bit more.
    .
  • Dec., 2017: Another review and another (major) list! The review is by the School Library Connection, which also favorably compares the book to Wild Things, praising its “poetic rhyme” and “creative illustrations.” The list is the New York Public Library’s “Best Books for Kids 2017,” which also includes titles like Dan Santat’s incredible After the Fall (Roaring Brook Press) and the Margaret Wise Brown Prize-winning Things to Do (Chronicle Books) by my friend Elaine Magliaro. Shortly thereafter, Flashlight Night shows up as a NY Public Library Staff Pick, as well!
    .
  • Jan. 2018: Boyds Mills Press learns that the Kansas chapter of the NEA has selected Flashlight Night to be included in its 2018 Reading Circle Catalog, an honor I do not take lightly. We also continue discovering positive reviews from random kidlit, parenting, and educational bloggers, and I make a point to leave a comment on each one of them, thanking them for their support.
    .
  • March 20, 2018: One of the aforementioned bloggers, author Jen Betton, uses Flashlight Night as mentor text for discussing the interplay of text and illustration. The fact that anyone would use something I wrote to teach others how to write is an indescribable honor.
    .
  • March 23, 2018: I deposit my very first royalty check!
    That’s right…makin’ bank, baby!

    .
    Well, ok…it wasn’t QUITE this much. But I was thrilled – not just because I had made some money, but because of what it meant…
    .
    You see, many picture books don’t even make back the advance a publisher pays the author. To explain, an advance is against royalties; it’s like getting an advance on your paycheck. The publisher pays you up-front, then once you have sold enough copies to cover the advance, you begin receiving royalties. So the fact that we not only made back the advance, but made it back and then some within 5 months was astonishing. Keep in mind, compared to highly-successful, well-established authors like Jane Yolen and Mo Willems, I’m a relative unknown – so the book’s success is significant. I was so grateful to editor Rebecca Davis and Boyds Mills Press for taking a chance on Flashlight Night.
    .

  • Summer 2018: Our little book starts popping up on Summer Reading Lists! You can learn more at my blog post HERE.
    .
  • What’s next: The book continues to be discovered by parents, children, librarians, and teachers. I am always delighted when I see a new review or hear about the book showing up on a reading list. While I continue to do book signings for Flashlight Night, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and the poetry anthologies I’ve been a part of (see below for all the covers), I also love visiting schools to talk about the writing process, poetry, and how writing & illustrating go hand-in-hand when creating picture books.
    .
    We tell our kids to read and write for 12+ years in school, yet rarely do we tell them they can actually do it for a living…that they could be an author when they grow up. Well, I’m here to tell them they CAN! So if you are interested in having me visit your school, please email me at matt (at) mattforrest (dot) com and we can chat! (You can get more info HERE)

Thank you for following this blog and for supporting Flashlight Night. I never knew how many people would see it, read it, love it…and its success has made an immense impact on my life. I’m genuinely grateful to every single person who has read it, purchased it, shared it, or somehow promoted it. From teachers and librarians, to parents and bloggers, to book sellers and reviewers – there are just too many people to thank individually for their support.

So please know that you are a part of this timeline I’ve shared – at every point along the way. And this goes beyond Flashlight and Dinosaur and all the other books yet to come. None of what I do can been accomplished without the help and encouragement of folks like you. And I hope you’ll remain a part of this author’s journey on which I embarked 8 years ago.

Because I have a feeling we’re only getting started!

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“Hang on there just a second, Matt –
where’s this GIVEAWAY you told us about??

Ah, yes – the giveaway! I have THREE personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night I’m going to give away, in three different ways:

  1. Leave a comment below and let me know you’d like to be entered in the drawing! I’ll pick one name at random on Thursday, Sept. 27 and announce the winner on my Poetry Friday blog post the next day.
    .
  2. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter! Just be sure to tag me, so I know…and I’ll pick another name at random on Thursday, Sept. 27.
    .
  3. Leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Now, before you start talking trash and calling me out for fishing for compliments, let me state this clearly: if you don’t like Flashlight Night…leave a review, anyway! I am by no means offended by negative criticism. Not everyone likes every book. While most reviews have been positive, there are some readers who have been completely underwhelmed by our effort. And that’s ok; we can still get along. (Why you would want to leave a negative review in the hopes of getting a free copy is beyond me, but to each his own.) Out of all the reviews posted from today through Sept. 27, 6pm EDST, I’ll pick one name at random – and will leave a comment on your review, so you’ll know you won. So be sure to check your review on Friday, Sept. 28!

Oh, and if you’d like to have TWO MORE CHANCES to score free stuff, Laura Sassi is featuring an interview with Fred Koehler and Yours Truly on her blog today – she’s giving away a free signed copy of Flashlight Night AND a package of cool swag from the fine folks at KidLitTV!

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Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

On flashlights, horses, and finding inspiration: A podcast w/Jessie Haas & Yours Truly, PLUS #pb10for10!

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to visit Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH for a book signing with Vermont children’s author Jessie Haas. While we were there, we were interviewed by Eric Rendering Fisk for his podcast, “The Fedora Chronicles” – and yes, he does, indeed, wear a fedora!

Jessie Haas’ newest middle grade novel, edited by my “Flashlight Night” editor, Rebecca Davis!

It was a lot of fun; Jessie and I talked about how we each got into the children’s literature industry, our thoughts on finding – and more importantly, creating – inspiration, and the fact that we both happen to share an editor (Rebecca Davis, at Boyds Mills Press).

I learned last week that the podcast was finally edited and posted on Eric’s website, so I wanted to share the link here, in case you might be interested in listening. If you do listen, and enjoy it, I hope you’ll consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever your friends and acquaintances hang out!

Also:  I need to thank Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core for including Flashlight Night in her Picture Book 10 for 10 List! If you’re unfamiliar with #pb10for10, as it is known, it’s a way for children’s lit bloggers, educators, and others to share their favorite picture books with others, usually done via a particular theme, such as books that inspire imagination, books that promote diversity, or whatever the list-maker chooses.

You can learn more about #pb10for10 HERE, and to find out more about Flashlight Night and my other books, just scroll down!

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Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

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

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Hooray, Book Birthday, Today! “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur” is officially EVERYWHERE – with a Giveaway!

The wait is over!

The day has finally come: Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books) is now available online and in bookstores across the land!

My co-author, Deborah Bruss, and I kicked off the The Dinosaur Tour book tour at Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH and Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH this past Saturday. (That’s right: two signings in one day, and the book hadn’t even been officially released yet!)

The folks at Toadstool were celebrating Children’s Author Day, and we were joined by local illustrator Ryan O’Rourke, who was celebrating the release of Alphabet Boats (Charlesbridge) by Samantha Vamos – which is also officially out today. And as you can see in the first pic below, I also shared the new poetry anthology School People (Wordsong), of which I am one of 14 contributors, and Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017).

 

 

The Dinosaur Tour blog tour is rolling full-steam ahead! As part of our book’s kickoff, several kidlit bloggers are sharing DAAD reviews, interviews, and contests. I want to thank Momma’s Bacon for reviewing our book today – and for a list of all the bloggers participating, you can check out this list:

April 6:       Michelle H. Barnes (Interview w/month-long writing prompt)
April 8:       Kate Narita (Book trailer & activity sheet spotlight)
April 11:     Deborah Kalb (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
April 13:     Yours Truly! (Interview w/illustrator Louie Chin)
April 16:     KidLit Exchange (Blog post re: process of illustration)
April 17:     Jama’s Alphabet Soup (Even though she’s not an “official” part of the blog tour, I wanted to thank her for giving DAAD some Book Birthday love on her blog today!)
April 17:     Momma’s Bacon (DAAD review)
April 17:     Yours Truly!
April 18:     Bonnie Ferrante (DAAD review)
April 19:     KidLit Exchange (DAAD review)

April 19:     Brenda Davis Harsham (DAAD micro review)
April 25:     Bonnie Ferrante (Interview w/Matt & Deb)
May 2:        Unleashing Readers (DAAD review)
May 30:      Bookseedstudio (DAAD review/interview) 

Both images from “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur,” © 2018 Pow! Kids Books, used with permission, all rights reserved (click to enlarge)

Tonight, Deb and I will be celebrating the National Book Launch for DAAD just outside of Boston, at Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA. It’s a Dual National Launch Party, as we’ll be there with author/poet Holly Thompson, who will be reading and discussing her new picture book, One Wave at a Time (Albert Whitman & Co.), a thoughtful, touching story about loss and healing.

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us at 7pm for lots of fun, plenty of books, and…

…cake!

That’s my homemade vegan chocolate cake – the best chocolate cake you’ve ever tasted – baked in Deb Bruss’ dinosaur pan and hand-decorated by my step-daughter, Jessica. Imagine the overwhelming sense of melancholy that will befall you, knowing what you missed out on, should you decide not to attend.

(HEY MATT, DON’T FORGET TO MENTION THE GIVEAWAY.)

Oh, that’s right – the GIVEAWAY! In addition to my Poetry Cubed contest and Michelle H. Barnes’ month-long “TLD” writing prompt, I have yet another way for you to win a signed copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur:

Share the news!

It’s simple, really – you can do any one of the following:

  1. Comment on this post, below
  2. Share this post via Facebook or Twitter
  3. Share my interview with illustrator Louie Chin from last Friday
  4. Share the book trailer and activity sheets featured at Kate Narita’s blog
  5. Do all four!

Each one of these counts as an entry, which means you could have as many as four entries…and if you add in the other 2 contests, that’s SIX different opportunities to win THREE copies! Just be sure to tag me when you share these links, so I can count you. I’ll draw ONE NAME at the end of the month. Good luck, and thank you!

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DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR”
is now available everywhere!

The Dinosaur Tour book tour is underway! Here’s the most up-to-date schedule:

  • TONIGHT 7pm:  Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur Dual National Launch Party!! (with Holly Thompson, One Wave at a Time reading/signing/discussion)
  • Thur., April 26, 10:30am:  Pillsbury Free Library, Warner, NH, Dinosaur Storytime with Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People!
  • Sat., April 28, 10:30am: Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., April 28, 2pm: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur reading/signing (with Sara Levine, Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones reading/signing)
  • Sun., April 29, 2pm:  MainStreet BookEnds, Warner, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing and discussion
  • Sat., May 5, 10am: Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MADon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., May 5, 1pm:  Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and Flashlight Night reading/signing
  • Sat., May 12, 11am:  Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NHDon’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Wed., May 16, 12pm: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People signing
  • Sat., May 19, 11:30am-3pm: Barnes & Noble, Salem, NH, National Storytime at 11am, followed by Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing
  • Sat., June 2, 1-3pm: Books-A-Million, Concord, NH, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur and School People reading/signing

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Thank you so much to all the librarians, bloggers, and parents who are still discovering “Flashlight Night!” 

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Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

I’ve teamed up with the good folks MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH to present an option for people who would love to have a signed copy of one of my books but don’t live anywhere near me. MainStreet BookEnds has ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personalized!

Just log onto my website and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016” AND a new way to purchase my children’s books!

You know how sometimes you get caught up doing one thing, and your focus prevents you from paying attention to everything else going on around you? Well, that happened to me a few weeks ago.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, friend and fellow children’s writer/blogger Michelle H. Barnes officially released her new poetry anthology, The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016! And even though I helped select some of the poems (and even had two poems of my own included), I completely neglected to tell anyone! How much of a  schmuck does that make me, huh?

You see, I was in the middle of our #PoetryCubed challenge which we wrapped up last week, and it was only after I had announced our winner, Patty Richardson, that I realized my oversight. So let’s make amends right now, shall we?

Congratulations, Michelle!

Michelle’s latest collection features 75 “Ditty of the Month Challenge” poems – that is, poems which were written in response to various prompts by such highly regarded children’s poets as Jane Yolen, David Harrison, Kenn Nesbitt, and many others, all of whom had been guests on her blog.

Her first anthology of blog-inspired poems, The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2014-2015, came out last year, so the fact that she had enough quality poems in just one year for another full-length book shows the level (as well as volume!) of writing one can find on her blog.

So the two poems I’m going to share today are one of mine that you can find in the book, and the other is one of my favorites from the book, written by Michelle herself. First, my response to the challenge of writing about something “small.” While some folks opted to write about insects, sand, and that sort of thing, I went…smaller:
.

Little(r) Things

Atoms, photons, bosons, quarks
have baffled many a scholar;
the more we see, the more we learn
there’s always something smaller.

– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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The other poem I wanted to spotlight today is this, which was Michelle’s response to a challenge to write about unlikely heroes – and a pigeon named Cher Ami definitely fit that description:

Cher Ami

If you were exchanged
for an ordinary pigeon
who fattens on white bread
and small bits of French fry,
if your iridescence was hidden
in the shade of an easy life,
then no one would know
your name, Cher Ami.

And somewhere in the world,
soldiers’ lives would be lost
because you were not there
to carry their hopes—
the weight dangling
on a bullet-shattered leg.

No one would know
your name, Cher Ami,
the burden you carried,
the pain that you bore,
as you rose like a Phoenix
though this wasn’t your war,
because you, like them,
just wanted to go home.

– © 2017, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, all rights reserved

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Congratulations to Michelle and everyone who had poems included! If you’re a fan of poetry – and not just children’s poetry, but poetry in general – I encourage you to pick up a copy. It’s truly amazing to see the vastly different reactions and responses writers had to each of these challenges.

I also encourage you to visit Steps & Staircases, where you’ll find today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, which includes a touching, powerful poem about grief which was inspired, in part, by…a Monopoly game piece. And of course, you’ll also find all of today’s poetry links, so please stop in!

 (ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)

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Purchasing personalized signed copies ONLINE? Yes, it’s true!

In other news:  there’s a new way to purchase personalized signed copies of not only Flashlight Night, but ANY of my books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

My good friends at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH, a local, well-loved independent book store, have teamed up to present a very cool option for folks who don’t live anywhere near me, but still would like to have a signed copy of one of my books. They have ALL but one of my books available for ordering…and the best part is, you can get them personally signed!

Just log onto my website HERE and click the cover of whichever book you want, and they will get it to me to sign and send it off to you. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: More #PoetryCubed entries AND we have a winner!

I’m so excited I have more #PoetryCubed! entries to share today! We have a winner to announce, book signing news, and a special Flashlight Night review from Jan at Bookseed Studio!

First up: #PoetryCubed! On The Food Network show “Chopped!“, chefs battle each other by creating dishes using specific, and sometimes odd, ingredients. For example, contestants might have to create appetizers using radicchio, bologna, and kumquats, and then turn around and come up with entrees using prawns, pork belly, and Cheez Wiz.

For #PoetryCubed!, I’ve taken the premise of the TV show and applied it to poetry – but without the 20-minute time limit and broken dreams:

  • Using the 3 images below as inspiratio, readers were asked to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
    .
  • The poem could be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it didn’t have to be very good! This was about having fun and stimulating a few brain cells; remember, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • The only hitch is that a reference to all three images in the poem needed to be included – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer would be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press), just in time for holiday gift-giving!

Here are the three images (click on any to enlarge):

    

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Today we have two poems to round out the challenge. First up is Kay McGriff, whose title alone begs a person to read…

The Ghosts of Art

Headlights slash
flickering shadows
through the trees
to glitter against
the metal skeletons
whirling in the wind.
Whimsical sculptures
sprinkle light
with twirling blades
to shine a beacon
for unwary drivers
rounding the fateful curve
where no one really died.
But still the screams
echo from the backseat
as we chase a ghost
who only lived in legend.

– © 2017, Kay Jernigan McGriff, all rights reserved

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And finally, we have something from my former Highlights Foundation workshop attendee, Lind Baie, who used the lighthouse image as a springboard to draw in the other images:

Lighthouse Home

Headlights show the final stop–
Miss Matilda’s Pastry Shop
where powdered sugar in the air
leaves tastes of home before we’re there.
Load gifts and sweets on a skiff that waits
for Mom and Pop, our Christmas date.

– © 2017, Linda Baie, all rights reserved

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I have to say, these three images have been quite inspiring for a lot of people! I started things off with a senryu, but we’ve also had haikus & rhyming poems, poems about vegetables, chocolate, and submarines, and even poems about hangovers, Christmas cookies, and the souls of the dead. I encourage you to click these links and read all the different perspectives and angles that our blog followers have embraced – all based on these three simple photos.

But out of all these poems, only one name could be chosen at random, and that name is…

PATTY RICHARDSON!!

Congratulations, Patty! (Patty told me she’s never entered this sort of challenge before, so I’m glad her leap of faith paid off!) A signed copy of Flashlight Night will be in the mail and headed her way very soon…and thank you to everyone who took part!

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Speaking of Flashlight Night, Jan Godown Annino is sharing a review of my book at her Bookseed Studio blog today – and it appears she enjoyed it! She asked illustrator Fred Koehler and me to share a little childhood background; where we grew up, what we did, how our young experiences helped create this little adventure we call Flashlight Night. I do hope you check out her post!

I also encourage you to visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup.

Will there be cookies? Oh, yes!!

(ALSO: Please make a note to remind yourself to stop by here on Friday, Dec. 15, as I’ll be hosting a little online holiday party for everyone who loves children’s poetry!

This is a little shindig that David L. Harrison, Joy Acey, and I started at David’s blog a few years ago, and we decided that perhaps it might be fun to move the party around from venue to venue…so this year, it’s moving from David’s place to my little home on the web right here. We’ll have lots of food and conversation, possibly a game or two, and hopefully plenty of poetry! I look forward to welcoming you. That’s Dec. 15 – all day long! – right here at the ol’ Triple-R.)

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The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

Here’s my latest schedule – and yes, this weekend is going to be a BUSY one:

  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA (Children’s Author Book Panel)
  • Dec. 3, 1pm: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH (Signing & Book Fair)
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed): Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (early 2018): Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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WHAT ARE FOLKS SAYING ABOUT “FLASHLIGHT NIGHT”?

Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Readers, you must share ‘Flashlight Night’…as often as you can” – Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian’s Quest

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Poems are Teachers” winner & a nighttime tanka

Before we get to poetry or book signing schedules or anything like that, I need to take care of some business…by announcing a WINNER!

Last Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and her Poems Are Teachers publishing company, Heinemann, were kind enough to offer a free copy of the book to one of my blog readers.

Well, there were a LOT of entries…but only one name could be drawn. So thanks to the official Random Number Generator, the winner of a free copy of Poems Are Teachers is…

KRISTEN PICONE!!

Congratulations, Kristen! Thank you so, so much for following my blog and connecting on Twitter – your book is on its way, direct from Heinemann!

As for today’s poem, I thought a little Halloween-themed ditty might be apropos. But as any writer knows, what you plan to write and what you end up writing are often two different things. As I sat down to write – late at night, as per usual – my mind was tired, my eyes were heavy, and…well, I’ll let you read:

(click to enlarge)

Yep, a tanka about falling asleep while trying to write. No idea where that came from, huh??

By the way, my friend Brenda Davis Harsham is hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, Friendly Fairy Tales – and I know she definitely has some Halloween-inspired poetry to share, even if Yours Truly failed on that account! I’m also excited to be spending Poetry Friday at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, NH tonight at 6, as I take part in a benefit to raise money for Ste. Marie Child Care in the Queen City. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by and get a book signed!

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Speaking of book signings…

The Flashlight Night road tour continues! If you’re trying to find me, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Oct. 27, 6pm (TONIGHT!):  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • Nov. 11: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH

I’ll continue revising this as dates are added or times are changed…so please check my FB page for any last-minute updates!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “The Art of Autumn”

(click to enlarge)

After sharing my poem from several years ago last week, I wasn’t planning on digging into the archives again today – but I stumbled upon this little ditty and felt it was appropriate, considering the time of year. Last night we finally had our first frost of the season – only about a month later than normal! – so I suppose it’s time to start thinking apples, pumpkin, and leaf-raking, after all.

Interestingly, even though I wrote this almost exactly 3 years ago in Oct. 2014, I never shared this poem here at Triple-R. It had been written and formatted (and subsequently published) on Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond Literacy, as part of her “Finding Fall” gallery. So I thought it was about time it made its debut here!

You may think that today is unlucky, but you’d be quite wrong; Irene Latham is celebrating Friday the 13th by hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Live Your Poem. And I’m celebrating because a book I wrote is presently on display in a museum…and I’m not even dead yet!

How cool is that??

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I would be remiss if I did not make mention of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new book, Poems are Teachers (Heinemann), which just arrived in the world last Friday!

The book is geared to educators, to help them not only teach poetry, but to understand all the things that poetry can teach those who read it: language, perspective, rhythm, etc. For example, my contribution, “Soccer Sides,” uses two halves of a poem to show how a writer can compare and contrast.

I was honored that Amy asked me to include something for the book and am proud to be part of a collection that includes writers like Kwame Alexander, Jane Yolen, David L. Harrison, Jack Prelutsky, Charles Ghigna, and many, MANY others – including lots of folks from the Poetry Friday community.

“Flashlight Night” NEWS:

Imagine you’ve just published your first full-length picture book, and it has received all kinds of national attention and praise. Imagine seeing the original artwork along with your words hanging on a museum wall (see above!). Imagine how exciting and humbling and thrilling that would be.

Now…imagine that book being a potential award-winner!

The annual CYBILS Awards are now accepting nominations for a variety of children’s lit genres like YA, graphic novels, poetry, and picture books – and what do you know – Flashlight Night is one of the many, many books nominated in the Picture Book Category! Thank you so much to Linda Baie for nominating our little book, and many thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where and when the Flashlight Night road tour stops next, here’s my schedule so far. If you’re in the NH area tomorrow, I hope you’ll consider stopping by BAM! in Concord:

  • Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene/Peterborough/Milford, NH

I’ll continue updating this as dates are added…and thank you again for your support!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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

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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

“Flashlight Night” Book Birthday!

It’s official: Flashlight Night is finally here – on National Talk Like a Pirate Day, no less!

I’ve had lots of adult and children’s poems published in anthologies, journals, and such…but this is my first full-length picture book, and I’m so thrilled and humbled by all the coverage and positive reviews it’s been receiving.

I am doubly pleased that so many folks – reviewers, average readers, and even illustrator Fred Koehler himself – have referred to my text as a “poem.” Because even though it’s a picture book (and I wrote it to be a picture book), I have always considered it poetry.

The “Flashlight Night” blog tour is underway:

Starting with Jama Kim Rattigan this past Friday and continuing through next Tues., various kidlit blogs have joined together to celebrate the arrival of my little baby. Today, Penny Parker Klostermann is featuring a guest blog by Yours Truly in which I talk about how the book came to be, as well as some of the things I deliberately did which I was afraid might hinder my chances of getting published.

Here is a list of blogs where you can learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guy who wrote it – and a special TV interview with the illustrator (details below!):

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

Illustrator Fred Koehler makes his KidLit TV debut:

A few weeks ago,the folks at KidLit TV interviewed Fred about his work on Flashlight Night (as well as his amazing talent in general), and today they’re sharing it on their website!

In the video, Fred talks about playing with flashlights in the woods as a child (much as I did!), his 3-week excursion to the U.K. to take photos and sketches of tall ships, architecture, and Durdle Door. (What’s Durdle Door, you ask? Do a quick Google search, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll immediately see the connection!)

Click to enlarge Fred’s version of Durdle Door!

…and the Goodreads Giveaway has begun!

My publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has teamed up with Goodreads to give away TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night! The contest started at midnight last night and will wrap up at 11:59pm PT next Tue., Sept. 26. So head on over and enter…and good luck!

Book signings/readings/appearances:

I will be visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area, and while some dates have been confirmed, others have not. Here’s the list, so far:

Sept. 23, 6:30pm:  Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, NH
Sept. 30, 4pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH

I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be as soon as I know where I’ll be!

Oh, and I had the pleasure of stopping by a local radio station this morning and chatting with the hosts about the book. If you’d care to listen to our on-air interview, you can check it out here:

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed the book enough to write about it!

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Thank you, as always, for your support…if you decide to pick up a copy, I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as Fred and I – along with editor Rebecca Davis, of course – have enjoyed creating it!

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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!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on 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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Flashlights and Dinosaurs and Roundups – oh, my!

Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…it’s such a crazy, busy week, and there’s so much to talk about!

I have big news about my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, Sept. 19, 2017) – actually, THREE different news items – plus, news about my second book, due out this spring.

But first, let me welcome you to the Poetry Friday roundup! This is the place where you can find links to all of the poetry-related posts in the blogosphere. So leave your links in the comments below, and I’ll put them together in this post throughout the day.

“Flashlight Night” News #1:  National Book Launch!

Last night, Carol Gordon Ekster, whose new picture book is You Know What? (Clavis, 2017), and I hosted a dual book launch at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. What a success!

Clockwise from top: our books; Carol starting things off; some guy who vaguely looks like me having a grand time (Photo credit, Josh Funk)

Thank you to everyone who attended!

Loved the size of the crowd!
Oh, and did I mention there was food? Yes, I should have mentioned that…

 

“Flashlight Night” News #2:  One of the Best Picture Books of 2017!

Last Friday, the folks at The Children’s Book Review announced their list of what they feel are the best children’s books of the year…and Flashlight Night made the cut!

I’m so excited about this, not only because I wrote it, but because it was such a beautiful example of teamwork – between me, illustrator Fred Koehler (who came up with the concept of reality being in darkness and fantasy being illuminated by the flashlight), and my editor, Rebecca Davis, who steered the project from start to finish.

And just in case you missed that link, here it is again, so you can read the complete list – which includes books from friends and fellow writers like David Elliott, Josh, Funk, Patricia Toht, and many others.

“Flashlight Night” News #3:  On sale at Amazon!

I always like to books locally, whenever possible, because doing so helps support the businesses closest to us. But if you really want to pick up a copy and are having a  tough time with your finances, I am please to tell you that Amazon has it for almost five dollars less than the standard price: just $12.11!

Second book news: COVER REVEAL!

In the midst of all this Flashlight news, I learned something about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, March 2018), the book I co-authored with author & critique partner Deb Bruss…we have a release date and a cover!

(click to enlarge)

 

Wait til you see what’s inside! Illustrator Louis Chin is having fun depicting 14 different dinosaur species and the utter havoc they wreak while getting ready for a birthday party.

With big, bold colors, crazy situations, and a 2-page glossary at the end detailing the unique attributes of each dinosaur, this book is completely unlike Flashlight – so I’m eager to see what people think of it! It’s already for pre-order, so CLICK HERE for details.

Local release party this weekend!

Just a reminder: if you’re in the area, please stop by MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH this Sunday for the local release party, starting at 2pm. More info can be found HERE.

So thank you for stopping by today! Leave your Poetry Friday links in the comments, and I’ll round them up…

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“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support!

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