Book review: “S is for Sea Glass”

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

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

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

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

Sea Glass cover

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

H is for Horizon

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

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

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

.

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

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

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

R is for Rain

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

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

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

– Richard Michelson, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved


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

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

York beach

 

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

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

 

 

Poetry Friday: “Spring,” a final #PoetryCUBED offering

(click to enlarge)

Last week, we wrapped up a month’s worth of #PoetryCUBED poems – responses to my unique writing prompt based on the Food Network show, “Chopped” – but I just couldn’t let it end there!

You see, my friend Carol Varsalona, a literacy advocate who participated in the #PoetryCUBED challenge, created a special National Poetry Month “Padlet” for Earth Day titled “Poetrylicious,” and shared a few of my poems. One of them was a new poem I wrote specifically for the challenge, titled “Spring.”

I didn’t actually plan it that way – but as anyone who’s written poetry can attest, poems don’t often turn out the way you expect. I had planned on simply writing a poem about spring, but as I got into it I decided to add the challenge of working within the constraints of #PoetryCUBED, and it turned out quite well, I think!

By the way, in case you don’t know, #PoetryCUBED uses the same basic premise of the TV show, “Chopped!”, where chefs compete against one another by creating dishes with specific ingredients, but with poetry:

  • Use the 3 images (“cubed,” get it??) below as inspiration to write a poem.
  • The poem can be any form, any number of lines, rhyming or not. 
  • A reference (vague or overt) to all three images needs to be included in the poem.

Many thanks, again, to all who participated – I’ll do it again! But that’s not the only giveaway I have for you…

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I’m giving away TWO copies of any of my books to ONE teacher: one for them, and one for their classroom! If you’d like to enter, just check out my original Twitter post HERE and leave a comment and/or retweet – but don’t wait! The contest will close tonight, May 6, 2022, at 11:59pm and I’ll announce the winner this Monday. Just my way of giving back to all the folks who’ve supported me – as an author and a student!

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, please head over to Jama’s Alphabet Soup, where the wonderful and inimitable Jama Kim Rattigan is hosting the festivities with a special Mother’s Day celebration. (And with Jama, you KNOW there’ll be plenty of refreshments!)

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

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

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Spring at Pond Meadow”

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

This post was originally published six years ago, in the spring of 2016 (where have the years gone??). Although it’s still too early for the geese to return (they’ll probably show up in another week or two), I wanted to dust this off and share it again today because the sooner we start thinking about spring and talking about spring, the sooner spring will get here.

That’s the way it works, right?

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About a week and a half ago, I shared a short video on my Facebook page, taken behind our house, along our property line. It was simply 10 seconds of a babbling brook, but it’s a quiet little place I like to go and bring the kids to relax and listen.

Today, I’m sharing something from the front of the house!

Geese 2

Actually, it’s right across the street from the front of our house.

On the other side of the road, you see, a hay field and pond are home to a variety of frogs, ducks, snapping turtles, deer, red-winged blackbirds, and a Great blue heron – as well as a family of Canada geese that has been growing the last few years:

Geese
(click either image to enlarge)

Five or six years ago, it was one pair of geese. This spring, I counted 5 pairs, most with their own gaggle of goslings, and one lone adult straggler. (Hey, there’s always that one confirmed bachelor in every family, right?)

Spring at Pond Meadow

Goslings follow Mama’s lead,
through tall grass and jewel-weed;
Father watches wily fox
hiding kits from hungry hawks.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

For the complete Poetry Friday Roundup, head over to The Poem Farm where Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has all of today’s links and poetry!

And by the way, many thanks to everyone who has been picking up copies of my new picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), and sharing such kind words about it! It’s available wherever books are sold, of course, but if you’d like a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy, there’s only one place to go – and that’s my local independent bookstore!

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

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

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A trip back to my alma mater…AND Poetry Out Loud!

.

Me standing outside Woodruff Hall

Yesterday was a great day.

I was asked to speak to the creative writing class at Castleton University, the school I graduated from way back in 1989, when it was still called Castleton State College.

And the really cool, coincidental thing is…the class was run by the very same professor whom I’d had as a freshman!

More specifically…a professor who began working for the college the same semester I began attending the college! You see, Dr. Florence Keyes was an adjunct who was still working on her PhD at the time, and her class was the first class I ever took at the college.

Little did we know we’d reconnect last fall and it would lead to this day. Funny how life works, isn’t it?

Anyhoo…Dr. Keyes had asked me to talk about poetry, which had been the recent focus of the class, as well as publishing. So I shared some poems as well as insights into the craft, talking about everything from free verse and villanelles to ulteriority and the benefits of specificity.

Oh, yes, we covered an awful lot in an hour and 15 minutes!

One of the poems I shared was this one, published in the TallGrass Writer’s Guild’s Seasons of Change (Outrider Press, 2010):

With this poem in particular, I showed importance of enjambment and internal rhyme as well as what happens to a poem if a few words are edited out; it can change the entire poem. If you don’t believe me, check out the original version HERE and note the words in the last couple of stanzas that were inadvertently removed.

The poem needed those extra words because the entire scene is about The Giving Tree – what happened to the stump 50, 75, 100 years later? Without those words, this poem is about a simple scene in the woods featuring a stump; with those few words, however, the scene becomes something else entirely.

It was also nice to stop into the university’s library and find two of my books! Dr. Keyes teaches a children’s lit course in the fall and has invited me back to chat to that class, so there’s something else I can look forward to!

Speaking of things I’m looking forward to…tonight is the night of the NH State Poetry Out Loud finals, and I’m very honored to be one of the judges.

I’ve been a judge for the state regional finals for a umber of years, but this will be the first time I’ve ever judges the state finals at the statehouse, so I’m really looking forward to it!

If you’re not familiar with Poetry Out Loud, it’s a national recitation competition – and the winning students are truly incredible! I wish there had been something like this when I was in high school.

Students will be reciting poems as varied as “The Charge of Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Whenever You See a Tree” by Padma Venkatraman, “Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam” by Dan Vera, and my all-time favorite poem, ever: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

It’s a wonderful event and a great cause, so I’m happy and proud to be able to be a part of it every year. (Especially this year, as everything needed to be prerecorded last year due to the pandemic and much of the excitement and energy that comes from a live performance was lost)

Thanks for visiting today! For the entire Poetry Friday roundup, be sure to head on over to Poetry for Children, where Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are hosting the festivities with a brand-new food anthology!

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

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

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Available now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Dusting off a “January Shoreline”… and gearing up for publication day of I AM TODAY!

Wow.

That’s all I can say, when I realize I’ve written 19 poems in less than a week.

But that’s exactly what happened! I mentioned in last week’s Poetry Friday post that I’d written seven new poems for a new poetry collection I’m putting together…but that number didn’t include the poems I wrote that Friday, or the poems I wrote on Saturday. So the grand total turned out to be 2 revised poems and 17 brand-new ones, written betwen Wed.- Sat.

I’ve been tweaking them a bit and getting submissions ready (I probably won’t send the manuscript out until next week), so for today I thought I’d share a favorite poem of mine that I wrote 6 years ago. Given the time of year and weather outside, I felt it was more than apropos:

(click to enlarge)

We could be looking at wind chills of -20 to -40 in the northern part of the state tomorrow (Sat.) and around -10 where I am…so the shoreline is definitely a place I plan to avoid for the time being. (Remind me why I live here?)

I already have half a month’s worth of PB ideas!

In other news, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is still on track to be pubished one Jan 25, just 11 days from now! It’s been delayed 4 times since last year due to supply chain problems, but everything appears good to go at this point.

(Now that we have what appears to be a definite date, I’ve updated what wil hopefully be the final version of the book trailer, in case you’d like a sneak peek, below!)

If you’d like to learn more about the book, my process for writing it, and my approach to the craft of writing in general, I hope you’ll check out some of the wonderful posts that folks have shared as part of the official I Am Today blog tour!

The Blog Tour:

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign ANY of my books and have them in the mail usually within 12-24 hours!

Care for a sneak peek?

(REMINDER: On Feb. 1 my friends at KidLitTV host the official COVER REVEAL of my NEXT picture book, The Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books), which comes out this fall.)

Mary Lee Hahn is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with a poem dedicated to one of her favorite fruits (and min): the beautiful pomegranate. I hope you’ll check it out!

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Arriving Jan. 25, 2022! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A National Flashlight Day WINNER – and a Merry Christmas!

We celebrated National Flashlight Day just a few days ago on Dec. 21 – the winter solstice, naturally – and I offered a free, personally-signed copy of my picture book Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) as a giveaway.

So congratulations to the winner: JILANNE HOFFMAN!!

Many thanks to everyone who entered – and a big thank you as well to Maria Marshall, who is featuring my upcoming picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books, 2022) as part of her “Perfect Picture Book Friday” feature at her blog today.

I’m thrilled to read maria’s post because this follows on the heels of her post fro earlier this week, when she shared an interview with both illustrator Patricia Pessoa and me at her blog, the Picture Book Buzz.

The complete list:

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign ANY of my books and have them in the mail usually within 12-24 hours!

My friend Buffy Silverman is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup – so head on over for all of today’s links and fun. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate…and for my fellow Christians and others who celebrate it, I wish you a happy, Merry Christmas!

Click to enlarge

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Celebrating National Maple Syrup Day with the late Donald Hall

Yes, National Maple Syrup Day is a real thing…and if it wasn’t, it should be!

Maple syrup, you see, is something we northern New Englanders take very seriously. Vermonters think their’s is the best, Mainers think theirs is the best, and here in New Hampshire we know they’re both wrong. 😉

My next picture book, due Jan. 25, is available for pre-orders everywhere…but PERSONALLY-SIGNED COPIES are ONLY available through my local indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, NH

Just the concept of taking what is basically sugar water, pouring it out of a tree, boiling it down until most of the water evaporates, and then packaging it up is pretty amazing, if you think about it.

Maple syrup production is so ubiquitous around here, we even tapped trees while I was in college.

And by “we,” I mean my roommates.

We found the largest maple tree on the Castleton(VT) State College campus (right in front of the admissions office, Reed House), pounded a couple of metal taps into its side, and hung an industrial-size soup can we grabbed from the dining hall. Since our hot plate would not generate nearly the amount of heat necessary to boil down enough sap for even one pancake – it takes 30-40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup – we simply kept the sap in our fridge and drank it whenever we were thirsty.

But the really funny thing? Administration never took our tap down! Our can stayed there the entire sugaring season, from around late Feb. through late March…and it wasn’t like we tapped it in a hard-to-find, obscure spot. It was right in front of the admissions office, in plain view for all to see! Any prospective students visiting the college with their parents were sure to see our setup…and since no news is good news, we assumed the college was agreeable to our plan.

So to celebrate today’s national spotlight on all things maple, I thought I’d share one of my favorite poems from former N.H. state poet laureate – and former U.S. Poet Laureate – the late Donald Hall, who used to live just half an hour north of me. Interestingly, the poem begins in the month of August, when maple syrup is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind:

Maple Syrup

August, goldenrod blowing. We walk
into the graveyard, to find
my grandfather’s grave. Ten years ago
I came here last, bringing
marigolds from the round garden
outside the kitchen.
I didn’t know you then.
                                  We walk
among carved names that go with photographs
on top of the piano at the farm:
Keneston, Wells, Fowler, Batchelder, Buck.
We pause at the new grave
of Grace Fenton…

(Read the rest of the poem HERE)

Hall says so much in these lines…”I didn’t know you then,” so we know this person is close to him but not soemone with whom he has a long history…”carved names that go with the photographs,” so we know these graves are all people the speaker has a connection to…we know someone has recently died. The richness of backstory of the characters and the emotions with which he imbues these scenes are just staggering.

I hope you read the rest of the poem and enjoy it. For more poetry, be sure to visit Jone MacCulloch’s little home on the web, where she’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

And in case you’ve been living under a rock and have not seen the news mentioned here before…the I Am Today blog tour continues rolling on next week! Many thanks to all the bloggers who are sharing interviews, reviews, and givaways:

The complete list:

I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign any of my books and have them in the mail usually within 12-24 hours!

Oh, and did I mention that today is National Ugly Sweater Day? (True!)

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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’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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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!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order 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!

Poetry Friday: A “perfect sort of Christmas tree” – and a blog tour rolls on without its book!

You know how they say “third time’s the charm?”

Well, for me, I’m hoping it’s the fourth time that’s the charm – because that’s how many times we’ve had to reschedule the publication of my next picture book!

The official blog tour for I Am Today (POW! Kids Books) continues to roll on, despite the fact that the only ones who have actually held a copy of the book in their hands are the bloggers – even I haven’t seen a copy, and I’m the guy who wrote the thing!

The book is available for pre-orders everywhere…but if you order from my local indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, NH, you can request a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy!

In case you hadn’t heard, due to that supply chain crisis here in the U.S you’ve probably been hearing about, the original publication date was delayed from Oct. 5 to Nov. 30…then that publication date was moved to Dec. 21.

Well, guess what? We’ve had to push it back another month! The good news is the books have arrived from the printer and are waiting in port; the bad news is, the publisher has no idea when they’ll be picked up and delivered to the warehouse. They anticipate it will be at some point around year’s-end, but since they can’t be sure, they felt that Jan. 24 is a pretty safe bet.

And so we continue hoping for pre-orders, which can benefit an author in more than one way. Yes, they contribute to sales numbers, but they can also help booksellers to gauge the popularity of a book, how many copies they might need to order, and how many copies of an author’s OTHER books they might want to stock, as well.

Many thanks to all the bloggers who are participating by interviewing me, reviewing the book, and giving away free copies:

The complete list:

I Am Today is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign any of my books and have them in the mail usually within 12-24 hours! Try doing that on Amazon!

The poem I’m sharing today is one I wrote several years ago but never posted here. I figured it would be appropriate toay not only because Christmas is coming soon, but because of a little event happening now in our little town called the Festival of Trees.

Many communities around the country sponsor Festivals of Trees, which usually takes place at a town hall or other large venue where local organizations and businesses display Christmas trees for the enjoyment of the local townspeople. Here in Warner, NH, the annual Festival of Trees at the town hall includes a tree representing our local independent bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which features features the book covers of all the town’s authors and illustrators of children’s literature:

  • Maxine Kumin
  • David Elliott
  • True Kelley & Steven Lindblom
  • Lucinda McQueen & Jeremy Guitar
  • Sandy Steen Bartholomew
  • Yours Truly

So without any further ado, here’s today’s poem!

Red Pine

The red pine tree,
it seems to me,
is a perfect sort
of Christmas tree.
Its dark green needles
cradle snow;
red suit-trunk,
when gale winds blow,
never sways to and fro
but stands there strong –
its bag of cones
filled with treats
for squirrels below.

All it needs
is a ho-ho-ho.

© 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Cathy at Merely Day by Day is hosting the complete Poetry Friday roundup, so head on over to see all of today’s links and fun!

And if you’d like to learn more about our bookstore’s Christmas tree – and how 8 people have somehow managed to create nearly 70 children’s books – I hope you’ll check out this video!

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

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

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

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

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

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Halloween books, “Flashlight Night,” and a Halloween haiku!

All images @ 2017 Astra Young Readers, all rights reserved

I never planned on it being a Halloween book…but whaddaya know??

When Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2017) debuted on Sept. 19, 2017 (National Talk Like a Pirate Day, no less!), little did I know how popular a Halloween book it would become!

(And no, I’m NOT talking about Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s foray into children’s publishing earlier this year, which she unfortunately titled “Flashlight Night”…sigh.

For the last few years, children’s lit bloggers and reviewers have been sharing lists of their favorite Halloween books – and I’m both shocked and humbled to see my little book showing up beside works by such esteemed notables as Neil Gaiman, Dr. Seuss, Aaron Reynolds, my good friends Charles Ghigna and Patricia Toht, among others.

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

Thank you so much to all these individuals and groups for sharing their love of reading with the world…and for including Flashlight Night!

And since we’re only a little over a week away from Halloween, I thought I’d re-share this little poem I wrote several years ago:

Looking for more poetry? Then be sure to visit Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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