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.

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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. 😉

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

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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!

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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!

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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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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?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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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!

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!

NEW Picture Book Cover Reveal AND Summer Reading Lists!

If schools have not wrapped up where you are yet, they will be soon – and with summer, comes summer reading! I’m so proud that many of my books – and books with which I’m associated – are appearing on summer reading lists. I’ll share a few of them in just a minuet, but first…

Another picture book cover reveal!!

This will be the THIRD COVER REVEAL for a book of mine this year (wow, that’s never happened before!), and I am extra-excited because the reveal is taking place at agent/author Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’ popular kidlit blog, Math Is Everywhere! Kaitlyn is a wonderful supporter of authors; she took some time to interview me about the book, titled I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), which comes out this Oct., and I’m thrilled that she gets to show it off to everyone.

(PS: there’s a giveaway that goes along with it, too – so be sure to check it out!)

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SUMMER READING LISTS

In other news, I’m very proud to see several of my books showing up on reading lists and blogs this time of year! A blog mention or review is always appreciated no matter the season, of course, but this time of year is special because more families are getting together, doing things, going places, and kids as well as adults are finding more time to read.

A few of the folks I’d like to thank:

Kansas NEA Reading Circle – Recommended Title (Flashlight Night)

Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions (Flashlight Night) *

Newton (MA) Free Library (Night Wishes)

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

We Are Teachers (Flashlight Night)

Denver Public Library’s “Adventure Picture Books” (Flashlight Night)

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

School Library Journal “NCTE 2021 Notable Poetry Books(Construction People)

South Orange & Maplewood (NJ) elementary & public librarians (Construction People)

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

The Spencer Library (United Seminary) (Once Upon Another Time)

Crafty Moms Share (Once Upon Another Time)

Book No Further “Recreation/Outdoor activities (Once Upon Another Time)

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

Hello, Wild Things “Flashlight Book Basket” (Flashlight Night) (This was posted in 2020, but I just came across it today!)

* Let me just say that showing up on a list that includes Charles Dickens and E.B. White is pretty mind-blowing!

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I have to add that it’s quite an honor to see so many of my books – seven, as a matter of fact – available in the library system where I was born! Thank you, Baltimore County Public Library, for your support!

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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!

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Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 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 following covers 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?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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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!

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 Book Report”

This was originally posted six years ago, on May 24, 2013 (where does the time go??)…but since the school year is winding down and graduations are ubiquitous these days, I thought a little school-themed poetry might be nice. Plus…I’ve been a little busy lately!

Hope you like it…

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I thought I’d go waaaaay back in time for today’s post – back to the fall of 2000!

This is one of the first few children’s poems I ever wrote (I started writing for children in ’99, I believe), but when I read it today, it doesn’t feel that old, if that makes sense.  Sometimes when you’re developing a skill – whether it’s writing, singing, painting, whatever – you can tell the older, unskilled work from the newer, ID-10052692 (books)more polished stuff.  Personally, I can tell it’s not new…but I’m not embarrassed by it, either (and yes, there are plenty of poems that will never see the light of day for that very reason).

“Book Report”

My teacher said I have to write
a book report for class –
at least one hundred-fifty words,
or else I will not pass.

So here I sit with pen in hand
and nothing in my mind;
if I don’t get this handed in
I’ll be in quite a bind.

There must be some creative way
I can begin the text:
I know my name, I know the date,
I don’t know what comes next.

Come on, now, brain, you’ve got to think
and help me get this done!
It’s due tomorrow morning, and
I’ve not even begun!

But wait – that’s it – I’ve got it now!
I know just what I need!
The first thing that I’ll have to do…
is find a book to read.

– © 2000, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllLooking for more poetry? You’re in luck! Dani is hosting today’s Poetry Friday at Doing the Work That Matters. Head on over and check out all the links!

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


  Coming July 2, 2019!

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?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

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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 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Imaginary Friend” video for #WorldReadAloudDay

It’s #WorldReadAloudDay, and I’m going to be busy all day long reading to students in schools all over the U.S. (including Alaska!) and Canada – and to say I’m excited is an understatement!

Reading to kids is important, not just to instill in them an appreciation for the written word, but to encourage them to use their imaginations in bringing the stories to life. I remember many years ago, when my father first suggested to me, as a child, that I listen to some of the old radio dramas he had on vinyl.

“Listen??” I said. “I’m just going to listen to people tell a story? With no pictures??”

“Trust me,” he replied…and I did.

And my life was changed.

It is in this spirit of imagination – and the spirit of #WRAD – that I produced this video. I hope you enjoy it…

Please feel free to share this video with anyone you know who might appreciate it. And for more poetry, Tabatha is hosting Poetry Friday today with a “Curtain of Bliss” at The Opposite of Indifference – and now that she mentioned it, I think I’m going to call my little studio/pillow fort “The Curtain of Bliss!

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


  Coming July 2, 2019!

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?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

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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 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Read! Read! Read!”

Can you believe it? Today we’re celebrating a book that’s NOT Flashlight Night!

(But hang on…there are a couple of Flashlight Night news bits I need to share later! You weren’t going to make it out that easily.)

You see, I’m doing something I rarely do on Poetry Friday: featuring poetry by someone other than Yours Truly. You see, I started off my blog with the intention of sharing my writing with the world every Friday, so I think I’ve only shared others’ poetry on Friday two or three times since I started the blog 5 years ago.

Today, I’m shining the flashlight (sorry, shameless plug) on my friend, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and her new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), which just came out this past Tuesday, Sept. 19:

If the name of the publishing company, Boyds Mills Press, sounds familiar, that’s because they are the same folks who published Flashlight Night – and if the publishing date sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same date as Flashlight Night!

Amy and I even shared the same wonderful editor, Rebecca Davis…so I just had to give Amy’s new book some love. It’s so good!

Read! Read! Read! celebrates the joy of reading in every way possible: from learning how to write letters and then put them together; to reading books, street signs and everything in-between; and even the joy to be found in sneaking a little under-the-covers reading by flashlight. (A-ha! This whole thing is starting to make sense to you, isn’t it, dear reader??)

(Click to enlarge) All text/images © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Ryan O’Rourke, and Boyds Mills Press. Used with permission; all rights reserved

Honestly, I had no idea Amy was going to include a poem in her book that so perfectly complements the ending of my little book…but it’s a sweet one, isn’t it? She also includes this little gem, which is quite possibly the most fun poem to speak aloud ever written:One of the things I like most about this book is that it’s not just about the act of reading – it’s about the joy and satisfaction that is gained from stories and the feelings associated with the words and images on the pages:

I have to add, Ryan O’Rourke’s illustrations strike a balance of playfulness and peace – and his color palette creates a classic, storybook feel to each page. I highly recommend this one, folks!

And by the way, for all of today’s poetry links and hi-jinks – and more news about Read! Read! Read! – head on over to Amy’s blog, The Poem Farm, where she’s hosting Poetry Friday today! (I’m sure that can’t possibly be a coincidence…)

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Now, if for some reason you’ve been living under a rock or have been busy crashing into Saturn’s atmosphere, you probably heard about this little book called Flashlight Night. It’s already received multiple positive reviews, but we just learned yesterday that it’s now listed listed as one of Amazon’s editors’ “Best Books of the Month!”

So if you’d like to learn more about the book, the blog tour that’s currently underway (today we’re at Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook), and see where I’ll be in the coming few weeks, please check out this past Tuesday’s post, with all the details!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to tell others 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

“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

“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)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: a poem you’ll never read in “One Minute Till Bedtime”

One Minute coverKenn Nesbitt’s new children’s poetry anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown for Young Readers), is officially out, and I am so excited to be part of such a beautiful, well-received book! (I’ll be signing copies at Books-A-Million in Concord, New Hampshire, tomorrow from 1-3pm, so please stop by if you’re in the area!)

Now, I’ve already told you about the book in previous posts, but today I wanted to share a poem that’s NOT in the book…huh??

You see, when Kenn asked me to contribute a 60-second(ish)-long poem for the book, I had a couple of options: I could write a brand-new poem or two – or send in a couple of poems I had already written but never published. So I did both!

The poem that was selected for inclusion, “A Visit to the Forest,” I had written a few years ago, but never knew what to do with…so I was very happy to learn it was going to find a home within the pages of One Minute Till Bedtime.

However, I also wrote a poem about books and bedtime specifically for the book – which was not selected. So…what to do? I figured I’d share it here, so that you can at least read it while we’re all celebrating the release of the book that it never made it into! Hope you like it…

One More Book

One more book
……….is all I want.
Can you read me one more book?

It won’t take long,
……….I promise.
Please?
I’ll find a short one…
……….let me look!

I don’t want
……….a glass of water.
I don’t need
……….to try to pee.

I won’t be loud
……….or clown around
if you’ll read one more book to me.

I know I need to go to sleep.
I know you’re tired.

……….I am, too.

But one more book is all I’m asking.
Is that something we can do?

You’ve only read
……….nine books so far
and see how little time it took?

So can you read –
please, oh please –

can you read me

……….one
………………..more
…………………………book?
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© 2016, Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

For more poetry, please head on over to Laura Purdie Salas’ blog, Writing the World for Kids, where she is hosting today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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poetryfridaybutton-fulllDid 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)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Little books = Big impact

When was the last time you thought about the books you read as a child?

Were the kids tiny or were the animals huge? It didn’t matter. To me, the pictures were cool – and that’s all that mattered!

It occurred to me the other day just how big a role picture books and other books for children play in developing not just reading ability and comprehension, but developing personality.  Of course, it’s not breaking news that children who read develop language and communication skills, bigger vocabularies, and better attention spans and memory retention. But I’m talking about how those books shape who we are today.

I’ve previously talked a little bit about the impact our experiences as children have on our adult lives.  In one of my very first posts, I wrote about how my love of old-time radio drama lead me into the world of radio and voiceovers, and asked readers to think about that one ‘defining moment’ they may have had as a child that is probably responsible for where they are today.

This time around, I’d like to ask you to think about your most memorable children’s books. Not necessarily your favourite books – although you certainly can – but those books you remember reading as a child that, for some reason, you still remember today. And I’ll bet that if you look at them as a collective, you’ll see yourself in a new light.

(Imagination + compassion + attention to detail) ÷ sense of humour = Matt

mr snitzelLooking back at the books I remember most fondly, I can definitely see why I am the person I am.  One of my favourites when I was very young was Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies, by the wonderful Jane Flory. The story is simple, but teaches a classic message of giving:

Mr. Snitzel, a baker, has only a handful of flour and a couple of raisins left in his otherwise bare cupboard – so he closes his shop for the night, wondering what he’ll do. That evening, a poor beggar comes along and asks if Mr. Snitzel could spare any food. Mr. Snitzel kindly explains the situation and says if he had anything, he’d be more than happy to help. The beggar suggests that Mr. Snitzel look in the cupboard again. To his amazement, there is, indeed, enough food to make something, which he does.

When the beggar asks if he can sleep there, Mr. Snitzel obliges, although he doesn’t have much room. (My memory is foggy, but Mr. Snitzal may actually give up his bed for the beggar) When morning comes, the beggar is gone. Mr. Snitzel goes to his shop and opens his cupboards, expecting barely nothing – and what do you know, they’re full of flour and raisins and candy and all the things that a good baker needs to make wonderful treats and be happy!

A familiar tale, told in a different way, with a golden message.

As for the bizarre iamgination…

Land of NoomLook no further than this absolutely mind-blowing book written by Johnny Gruelle, the creator of Raggedy Ann & Andy. The Magical Land of Noom is part Wizard of Oz, part Alice in Wonderland, part magic mushroom ride. A large hardcover, this was a hefty book, filled with beautiful yet eerie illustrations of horses dressed like grandmothers, odd toadstool-like trees, and Mad Hatter-ish characters.

Noom page aIt was both intensely intriguing yet also freakishly unsettling – almost scary – in a way. Not scary as in Please-stop-the-nightmares scary, but scary in an Aliens-just-landed-and-although-I-should-run-I-just-have-to-see-what they’re-going-to-do-next! sort of way.

As for the story, I don’t recall. But I’ll never be able to get the picture of that grandma horse out of my head.

Speaking of imagination…

dinosaur bookWhat better way to spark a young child’s imagination than with fantastic, strange, and ominous creatures that actually EXISTED here on earth, millions of years ago? Dinosaurs: A Little Golden Book by Jane Watson was another one of my favourite books.

I would stare at the pages over and over again, paying close attention to the colourful scales of brachiosaur, the armor of ankylosaurus, and long, sharp teeth and claws of Tyrannosaurus Rex. I probably learned how to pronounce – and spell – words like archaeopteryx and pteradactyl long before I learned the names of other animals that are actually still in existence.

I’ll tell you something else: I can’t guarantee that all these dinosaur names are correctly spelled because I didn’t bother looking them up – but I’ll bet you good money I got ’em all right.  Tell me picture books don’t help develop attention to detail.

SnoopyWho doesn’t love Snoopy?

My folks, who gave me all of the books I’ve spotlighted here, knew I liked Peanuts. I still have the Snoopy coffee mug they gave me nearly 40 years ago, and both of my daughters (nearly 18 and 21) AND my 3-year-old son have all used my original red-and-white Charlie Brown knitted winter hat. Yes, it’s at least 40 years old. No, it doesn’t look like it. They made things to last, back in the good ol’ days.

Whoops, sorry.  Started to sound like a grumpy old man there. I guess it’s my genes.

Anyway…this was a collection of comic strips put together in picture-book format, so it didn’t look or feel like a collection of strips. I just loved reading about Snoopy pretending to battle the Red Baron, crash landing across enemy lines and making his way back through barbed wire, stopping at a little French cottage for some vichyssoise (potato soup) with a pretty maiden, then becoming emotionally torn when he has to say goodbye…

It’s classic Snoopy. Fun stuff, and something I can definitely point to as helping to shape my appreciation for humour.

That, and the fact that my dad and I would watch Monty Python, The Goodies, and Fawlty Towers for hours on end. I’m thinking that had something to do with it, as well…but that’s another post.

What about you?

Can you think of those childhood books you loved so much? Or even the ones that might not have been favourites…but which for some reason stick in your memory? Make a list of four or five books, and spend some time looking them over and thinking about what impact they may have had on you. These books I’ve mentioned were not the only ones I loved or remember – I enjoyed Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak and others – but these are the ones that immediately come to mind as having shaped who I am today.

These are the books that spurred me to start reading the Hardy Boys mysteries, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, and all the other books I fell in love with through high school and college. I see now that I am a product of not just my genetics and my environment, but of my experiences reading.

How about you? Want to learn more about your literary geneology? All it takes is a little trip down memory lane to that library in your head!

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QUESTION: My first book of children’s poems contained this poem: “Little green inchworm, inchworm, inch./ You don’t bite and you don’t pinch./ Never did anybody any harm./ So take your little green walk up my arm.” Does anyone have ANY idea what this book was, who wrote it, or who published it? I used to love it – and it obviously set me on my current poetry path – but I can’t find it anywhere!  >sigh<