FLASHLIGHT NIGHT: shining picture book

Hello flashlight fans! Poetry Friday is beamed out from READING YEAR/A Year of Reading.

* * *

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT
by Matt Forrest Esenwine with artwork from Fred Koehler

As a fan of the world’s most gargantuan flashlights – lighthouses –
I carry a torch for creative stories
where flashlights are woven into the action.
So it is not surprising that I am all aglow to
open a new picture book with you – FLASHLIGHT NIGHT.

The text by Matt Forrest Esenwine is a poem story alive with the promise
of high adventure unfolding in the sedate backyard.

Shines a path where waters rush
reveals a hole in the underbrush

The illustrations by Fred Koehler are a nocturne gallery, with the nightshade from
scene to scene heightening the child’s delight in overlooked but important clues,
to go back and look at up close, as soon as the book is first read. This is a read again & again trek into the make-believe unknown, undertaken by three children, a girl and two boys.

To celebrate publication, the two creators agreed to tell me something about their childhoods.

MATT FORREST ESENWINE
“Hi, thank you for doing a post, Jan! I really appreciate that.”

(The book deserves a lot of spotlight, Matt.- jga)

“Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I developed an appreciation for nature from a young age. We lived on 10 acres of mostly wooded property, and although I was not allowed to go deep into the woods, the woods were all around me and therefore afforded me a great opportunity to use my imagination.

I never had a treehouse as a child, but I did have something I called my “hideout”, which was an area just off of our lawn that consisted of lots of large, flat stones, thick juniper bushes, and a couple of large, easily-climbed trees. Some days I would pretend I was a bad guy hiding from the law, while other days I was the good guy trying to track down the baddies.

My hideout was also my “secret” place to have lunch. Mom would give me my food and I would head out to one of the flat rocks there and eat underneath the tree. And even though this little area was right along the edge of the lawn and only 15 feet or so away from the road, I felt like I was in my own little world!

I suppose it is no wonder, then, that the natural world and my sense of family have played such crucial roles in my writing, both for adults as well as for children. I am fortunate that dad has not sold the place yet – at 82, he still lives on that same old dirt road surrounded by woods – but I know that a not-so-little piece of me will be lost the day he does.”

(This paints an evocative picture, Matt. Thank you! – jga)

I first encountered Matt’s work via the Poetry Friday/Today’s Little Ditty crowd, where I am happily surprised to find that we have just appeared in an anthology together.
Now I anticipate Matt’s poems in many forthcoming books.
Please visit him here.

C. Copyright illustration,
FRED KOEHLER
C. text,
MATT FORREST ESENWINE

FRED KOEHLER
“When I was a kid, our house backed up to an acre or two of Florida scrub. Through the woods I had neighbors whose dad worked construction and brought home all the scraps of job site lumber. In those trees, we would build the most elaborate fort systems, with tight ropes lines between the trees, trap doors, and even underground bunkers. We had more fun than any other kids on the planet, and probably could fend off pirates better than the Swiss Family Robinson.”

(I see the foundations of an artist’s mind in those constructions, Fred.
Thank you! – jag)

For more about this exceptional artist, whose work I first encountered in the hilarious, minimalist-word Rebecca Kai Dotlich story, ONE DAY, THE END
& now anticipate next year in Fred’s Pacific garbage patch-set debut novel,
please visit his site & online gallery.
Also, travel along as KidLitTV reveals, via a talk with Rocco Staino, how Fred helped develop this book’s evocative nightscape.

I ordered FLASHLIGHT NIIGHT from my local indy, Midtown Reader.

My hideout (Robyn & Laura, appreciations for sharing yours) memories include
the fairy woods on one side of us in the 1st house & the creek ravine woods
behind the 2nd house.

C. illustration,
FRED KOEHLER
C. text
Matt Forrest Esenwine

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Library Love

Wait just a second!
Today’s Poetry Friday wordsmiths are gathered here. Thank you.

Library Love

A federal entity prompted American composer Ira Gershwin to write,
“Shining
star and
inspiration,
worthy of a
mighty nation. . .” *

Ira Gershwin,
1966, in Washington D.C.

A beloved librarian prompted Lee Bennet Hopkins
to write
Storyteller (for Augusta Baker).
Here are
a few lines from it by LBH

. . . And as her voice
reaches
the highest
rafter-

I believe in

once-upon-a-time,

I believe in

happily ever after.
c. 2015 Lee Bennett Hopkins
in Jumping Off Library Shelves


Book Speak!, Jumping Off
Library Shelves & I Am The Book
comprise my tiny & treasured
collection of poem books
for children
about the dreamland worlds of
books that some
of us are lucky to learn
to love,
the
library.

(Book Speak! is from Laura Purdie Salas, with
the other two from poet/editor Lee Bennett Hopkins. I know I have
missed other poetry collections about libraries/books, not
currently on my shelves,
so educate me, please.)

I pulled these titles
off the shelf Monday,
adrift in thoughts of
library grandeur, due to
a recent reverie
at a library that I only
inhabit
infrequently.

Yes, a weekly trip to our
public treasure trove of titles
is a lift. It is a visit made with
with gratitude not only
for the haul of titles borrowed, also,
it’s where
an astute weekly writing partner
hears me read my
latest, and I, hear hers.

But, hey, it’s Washington, D.C.,
where my heart
flutters to enter
library nirvana.

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

LOC

Literally,
Omnivirous
Collection

c.2017 JGA

The Jefferson Building of
the United States Library of Congress
is a cathedral
to research & to reading.
The art-tiled entry,
& artist-painted murals that represent
the fields of knowledge &
the practice of the arts, the
grand stairs & sculpture
of the entry hall of the main
building, are a
palace for the reading people. One stands
straighter, looks higher and dreams
more determinedly,
here.

At the Library of Congress
we visited, or peeked at, a lot.
The Florida maps on display.
The Gutenberg Bible. The
bookcased and domed
reading room. George and
Ira Gerswhin’s piano, just one classy
piece of the incomparable family
LOC legacy, which includes the annual
American songbook Gershwin Prize. *

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

(*This column’s opening rhyme by Ira Gershwin resides, in his own
handwriting, in the visitor’s guestbook kept for
the Ceremonial Office (here) of the Library of Congress.)

A temporary
LOC display of
special
importance to our family,
with one attorney & one
attorney-in-training, is
“Drawing Justice.”

This engaging exhibit of various
dramatic scenes, mainly in color,
from history-making, even
precedent-setting cases,
created on the job by
our nation’s little-known courtroom
chroniclers, many of them women.
Our volunteer guide that day was
Hope, who we thank for an
extra special tour.

One can not live in the
LOC (although one can enjoy breakfast
& lunch there) & eventually
we left. I was not
sad though, partly because
of another feature of
the LOC.

LOC

Love
Online
Collection

c. 2017 JGA

What/where is your poem about the Library of Congress?
……..
postscript
News flash – I join a party of Poetry Friday pals in celebrating our contributions to a new book, available now in print or Kindle. TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY is edited by Michelle H. Barnes. Look at our book!

Irma’s Tinkerbelle

(PoemFriends are peacefully greeted (Sept. 21 – International Peace Day) over at The Poem Farm with Poetry Friday host, Amy.)

Directly across our house. From Hurricane (tropical storm) Irma Sept. 2017

In flights of twos and tens,
hummingbirds darted in light rain to a feeder
I watched in Alabama.
That was one of the beauty spots
calming us
when we evacuated North Florida,
away from high winds
and waterfalls of Irma’s rain.

Maybe because my pictures of them define blurry,
or there were so many
of the whirry, bitty birds,
I made a startling leap of
imagination. J.M. Barrie must have been a
hummingbird watcher
. And I decided that
hummingbirds must have been his inspiration for
Tinkerbelle in PETER PAN.

TINKERBELLE

Our city & county officials called for
a voluntary evacuation.
When a sturdy, outdoorsy,
trusted writer pal informed
me of that alert, we knew it
was right to go with the flow.
Although I had snared the last room reservation
at a chain hotel we like, it was nicer to give that up
to another family & accept
the offer of shelter of another writer pal, whose
spacious house at tree top level,
book-filled from beam to brim,
defines the word retreat.

The hovering Tinkerbells inspired me to
write a poem, Jaunty,
in longhand there (below), which
may fit an intriguing
prompt from Carole Boston Weatherford
at TODAY’S LITTLE DELIGHT/DITTY.

I also found out how one very special canine
works a laptop.
I read borrowed books from our pal,
Joan Broerman, author, writer’s workshop leader
who is a legendary leader in the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.
In generous Joan fashion, she also gave me a book for the road
(BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert.)
My hubby & I so very much appreciate Joan for providing calm
energy & generator advice & much more
in the storm.

Maggie & Me

Back home, in North Florida Irma slowed
to a wide, walloping tropical terror, downgraded
from a hurricane.
Irma veered away east of our North Florida hilly town,
leaving people to cope with downed trees & hours
without power. I hope that many, looking at the
destruction on islands and along rivers/lagoons/canal
communities,
understand how fortunate they are not to have to live
in a Florida flood plain. (This is land that should
be set aside from development, as along the
Hillsborough River near Tampa.)

Here is my Hurricane Irma poem.

Jaunty
by J.G. Annino

A bitty bird creature,
darting,
discovers
empty feeder.
Food gone.
Hovers, hovers, hovers.
Human helper, help instantly!
Jaunty keeps looking.
More nourishment needed!

One person
quickly,
quietly,
responds,
rendering
sustenance
to
ultra-vibrant
winsome wonder.
c.2017JanGAnnino

Jaunty

Thank you all, first responders. Thank you librarians, who are among the many groups organizing for hurricane relief.

Thank you for collecting images of Hurricane Irma’s impact,
Washington Post , including photographs from my
beloved streets of coastal Southwest Florida,
where I no longer work & live, & from coastal Northeast Florida, where
we sometimes play.

#IAMTHANKFUL

The best antidote to the anxieties and disasters of life is laughter,
and this children seem to understand as soon as they are born.

Iona and Peter Opie: I Saw Esau

#IAMTHANKFUL 1
It is close to the end of November.
And despite the fact that our beloved Obamas will leave
The White House in January, I am joyful in the fact that locally,
Tallahassee progressive people whose careers our family are
fortunate to know up close, are now newly-minted elected leaders.
It’s not easy serving a community 24/7 but I know they are
enthusiastic about their tasks & will be a boost to community
well-being.
Local, local, local is the way to build up community.
Isn’t this how President Obama & Michelle Obama
first stepped out?
Since all of these local leaders worked vigorously with our
area’s children before finding elective office, it’s exciting for
our area’s young adults who knew them in their child years, to
be hopeful that you can Grow the Good.

#IAMTHANKFUL 2
I was asked by a poetry pal, Michelle, creator of the nourishing blog,
Today’s Little Ditty,

to post my written response, remembering a place of solace.
I am thankful to my parents for much, but especially for the ways
they helped me appreciate the gifts of nature, such as the shore.

C.2016JanGodownAnnino Florida gulf shore

C.2016JanGodownAnnino
Florida gulf shore

Walking the edge
by J.G. Annino

of land
at the lapping Gulf
on a melon curve of sand,
sandpipers escape curls of water.

I stop to receive a wave,
be a slow sea snail.
A ripple washes salted wrack ashore,
taps my ankle bone
lays a green ribbon down.

On a sieve of Sarasota sand
Dad unpacked
to fish from shore
Mom unpacked
to read in a curve of sand.

I toyed with the playground,
ate from the hot dog pavilion,
tossed bread to gulls,
sought digging children,
did not listen to the water song.

This day I breathe the sea rhyme,
see it swipe a shelf of sand,
feel it dissolve trouble from the day,
whoosh, whoosh,
whoosh, whoosh.
C.2016JanGodownAnnino