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:
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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!
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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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Poetry Friday: #PoetryCubed early entries!

In case you missed the announcement last week, #PoetryCubed has returned! If you’d like to get those creative juices flowing and possibly win a signed copy of Flashlight Night, then read on, my friend…

If you’ve ever seen “Chopped!” on The Food Network (or have participated in #PoetryCubed! before), then you already know how this works…

#PoetryCubed is based on the TV show “Chopped!” on The Food Network, where chefs compete by creating dishes using specific – and sometimes outlandish – ingredients. (Feel free to check out last week’s post for a more detailed explanation)

So for #PoetryCubed!, I’ve applied the premise of the TV show to poetry! Here’s how it works:

  • Use the 3 images below as inspiration to write a poem. (1 poem, to the 3rd power – “cubed!”)
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  • The poem can be any form, any genre, any number of lines, rhyming or not. And most importantly…it also doesn’t have to be very good! This is about having fun, so no pressure allowed! Remember my mantra: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading.
    .
  • Make sure you include a reference to all three images in the poem – either via concrete imagery or something more abstract.
    .
  • Email your poem to me at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and I’ll share them here throughout the month of November. Out of all the poems submitted, one lucky writer will 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):

    

I got things rolling last week with my own response to the challenge, a senryu, and wouldn’t you know…someone else decided to respond with a haiku:
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Powdered sugar snow
Covers rocky island light
Shining out to sea

– © 2017 Deborah Bruss, all rights reserved

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Many thanks to Deb for contributing this! You’ll be hearing a LOT more about Deb in the coming months, as she and I are co-authors of the picture book, Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books) which is due out this March.

A second poem took a different route with structure, consisting of four short,  metrical lines that rhyme:

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Rocky start
empty grill
morning breaks
pillow still

– Anonymous

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One of my regular contributors prefers to go unidentified, so I’m honoring his request. I hope you’ll consider entering #PoetryCubed! Send me an email with your poem, and I’ll share it here throughout the month!

What better way to celebrate Friday than with coffee and donuts…today, Jama at Alphabet Soup is hosting Poetry Friday with The Book of Donuts (Terrapin, 2017), a collection of poems I submitted to earlier this year, but alas, was rejected. But it’s a wonderful book, and Jama offers a complete yummy review!

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The “Flashlight Night” road tour continues!

If you’re wondering where I’ll be and when I’ll be there, here’s my updated schedule:

  • Nov. 11, noon: Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA (“The Making of a Book” Children’s Author Day)
  • Nov. 18, 3pm: Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
  • Dec. 2, 12pm: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • Dec. 3, 11am: Barnes & Noble, Newington, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Concord Hospital Gift Shop, Concord, 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

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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: Poems are Teachers (plus a giveaway!)

Some people just can’t sit still. It was almost exactly one month ago that I featured my friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater on the ol’ Triple-R blog here, as she celebrated the release of her newest children’s poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press). Well, guess what…she’s back!

Yesterday marked the book birthday of Amy’s newest baby, Poems are Teachers: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres (Heinemann) – a tremendously useful and easy-to-understand resource designed to help educators not only teach poetry, but to teach them how poetic tools, forms, and devices strengthen (as the title suggests) writing in general.

The book is a wealth of information and includes poems from folks as diverse as Kwame Alexander, J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsy, Jane Yolen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Margarita Engle, and – whoa! Wait a sec…how did I end up in this book?? Indeed, it’s true; many, many of our Poetry Friday family members are contributors, as well!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

The book also includes numerous poems written by children – students who are learning the particular lessons Amy writes about. But how, exactly, did this book come to be? Amy was kind enough to join us today to talk about it…

Thank you for taking the time to visit, Amy! There are plenty of books out there about poetry and how to teach it, so what made you first decide that this particular book needed to be written?

I have been rolling this book around in my head for a long time.  Reading wise poems has deepened my heart, and writing hundreds of poems has honed my prose. Watching poetry disappear from many classrooms in the name of “Standards” was making me cry, and this idea felt like a secret door in again.  

As Mary Lee Hahn wrote, so many of us are trying to “bring poetry back to writing workshop” and into children’s lives.  My hope is that Poems are Teachers will introduce children and teachers to many poets and that it will open doors between poetry, and narrative, poetry and information, poetry and opinion writing.  Poetry is friends with all!

How does one go about finding a publisher for a book like this before it’s written? Did you approach Heinemann with a proposal first?

Heinemann has a whole process for proposing  professional book which you can check out HERE.  I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Heinemann as an occasional consultant for the past 15+ years, and I am also co-author with Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Parsons of Poetry: Big Thoughts in Small Packages, part of the Grade Two Writing Units of Study.  

I couldn’t feel more grateful to be publishing this book at this time with this thoughtful company and with Katie Wood Ray, an author I’ve admired for years, and an incredible editor.

How did you approach the task of putting it together? That is, how did you determine the best format, the aspects of writing that you wanted to include, etc.?

I am a terribly disorganized person, but I have been teaching writing and about strong qualities of writing for twenty years, so organizing this book through the various layers of writing – from idea-finding through language play – made complete sense to me.  

The challenge was knowing when to stop and trying to juggle the over 150 poems by both adult and child poets.  Imagine piles of poems and permission forms and me….looking bewildered.  I struggled with confidence and with my own writing demons, but that’s where Katie saved the day.

There is plenty for people to learn inside this book…but what did YOU learn from writing it?

I learned that I can do something scary.  And I learned that poets, teachers, children, and families are very generous.  I learned, too, that I still have tons to learn.  This book is just a wee bit about poetry.  There are so many beautiful books, so much to explore.  My hope is that however long my life is…I’ll use each day to become a little bit better of a person and writer.  I know that poems will keep teaching and feeding me.

You also have a brand-new poetry collection that just came out a month ago, Read! Read! Read! (Boyds Mills Press), plus you have more books coming out next year! Considering you started The Poem Farm several years before you were published, how does it feel now, with so much going on??

It feels humbling.  I started The Poem Farm so as not to write alone.  I never imagined all of this goodness.  I hope to be of service and to keep writing in my notebooks, to make a little difference.

Thank you tons, Matt, for sharing your superfun poem, “Soccer Sides” in Poems Are Teachers, and thank you for inviting me here today!  

Well, thank YOU, Amy – for everything you’ve been doing to spread poetry to our kids. Congrats on both of your new books!

I am still smiling like crazy about your Flashlight Night and my Read! Read! Read! releasing together with Boyds Mills Press last month.

That was a great week, I have to agree! Thanks again, Amy.

By the way, folks – if you’d like to WIN A FREE COPY OF POEMS ARE TEACHERS courtesy of our good friends at Heinemann, just leave a comment below, or share this post on Twitter or Facebook (and be sure to tag me, so I’ll know!). I’ll pick a name at random next Thursday at noon and announce the winner in next Friday’s post.

As for my contribution to Poems are Teachers, Amy asked me to write a poem with two distinct halves. Not necessarily two stanzas, but two separate thoughts that combine to make a whole, such as a before-and-after scene, two people talking, or two perspectives of the same subject.

So I thought about it for awhile, and one night driving home from one of my indoor soccer league games, an idea hit me. This is what I came up with:

Soccer Sides

Offense means head down the field –
………..dribble,
………………….pass,
…………………………….try to score!

Goalie blocked your shot?
No sweat!
Follow up and shoot some more!

……………………………………………………………….Defense means hang out in back.
……………………………………………………………….Better keep a watchful eye!
……………………………………………………………….Their offense wants the winning goal –

……………………………………………………………………………….Ha! –
                                                                                                …..I’d like to see them try…
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– © 2017, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

(click to enlarge)

From the book, here’s a little background on how the poem came to be along with a few words from Amy about the structure:

Whether you teach poetry or write it, this book is an invaluable resource – so I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy. And speaking of poetry, Leigh Anne Eck is hosting Poetry Friday today at A Day in the Life, so be sure to head on over and check out all of this week’s poetry links and fun!

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More “Flashlight Night” news:

I just learned a couple of days ago that Flashlight Night has been selected as one of the Top 20 “Best in Rhyme” rhyming picture books by Angie Karcher’s Rhyme Revolution website!

I’m very happy to be in company with folks like Corey Rosen Schwartz, Lisa Wheeler, the late Anna Dewdney, and fellow former Poets’ Garage alum, Diana Murray, among others.

The final 2017 Best in Rhyme Award announcement will be Feb. 3, 2018 in New York City on KidLit TV – and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Oh, and the Flashlight Night road tour continues rolling along! Where will I be? When will I be there? Here’s my updated schedule:

  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  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)
  • Dec. 2: Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Nashua, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Barnes & Noble, Newington, 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

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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 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

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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: dusting off a poem for Halloween

My kids have been talking about Halloween since they started school, so I thought it might be nice to delve deep down into the ol’ Triple-R-chives (see what I did there?) and share something I wrote 5 years ago, back when this blog was still in its fledgling state.

It’s a fun poem which I enjoyed writing – and even now, having read it and re-read it a hundred times, it hasn’t lost its luster for me. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it! Just click the graphic (which inspired the poem) and you’ll be whisked away to the original post.

Click image to visit the Vampire’s Kitchen! (image courtesy Jennifer L. Meyer, used with permission, all rights reserved)

Violet Nesdoly is not only hosting Poetry Friday today – she’s celebrating Thanksgiving! This weekend, our Canadian neighbors are celebrating Thanksgiving, so this is a special “Pumpkin Edition” of Poetry Friday!

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How can I get a copy of Flashlight Night, you ask? When can I get it signed, you ask? Where will I be next, you ask?

Funny you should ask…

  • Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • 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!

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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

“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: “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!
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“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!