It’s about Joy with Matt Forrest Esenwine

Hello everyone, and thank you for visiting!

I am fortunate that the wonderfully talented Matt Forrest Esenwine has agreed to join the conversation today. Matt is an accomplished author of numerous books including Flashlight Night, Elliot, the Heart Shaped Frog, and the beautifully stunning Once Upon Another Time.

Matt, what was your first memory as a child where you connected to a book?

Thanks for reaching out! I had several favorite books as a child, but the three that always come to mind are “Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies” by Jane Flory, “The Land of Noom” by Johnny Gruelle (the guy who created Raggedy Ann), and the most significant, “The Secret Place and Other Poems” by Dorothy Aldis. This last book helped me develop a love of poetry and greatly influenced my writing style and sensibilities…even though I never knew that until I was an adult.

I love that these books stayed with you and their effect became evident when you were an adult. It shows us the staying power and impact of what we read as children.

My follow up question then is, in what ways do you hope your writing will impact the lives of children?

I hope my writing simply brings readers joy – whether it’s through encouraging their use of imagination such as “Flashlight Night,” better appreciating the world around them such as “Once Upon,” or helping them to realize they can stand up for what’s right, as I do in my next book, “I Am Today.” I don’t like books that set out to teach a lesson – although there’s nothing wrong with a lesson being taught – but the main focus of a picture book should be the story, the joy.

Joy, yes! This is so important for us as creatives to remember! We want children to enjoy reading, listening to stories, going on adventures and seeing the beautiful art of the illustrations. It is with this joy they experience that will encourage them to continue to read. We are hoping that the joy of reading is brought into the lives of children in Karachi.

Thank you so much, Matt, for your time and sharing your thoughts with us today. Please be sure to check out Matt’s books and look for Elliot, the Heart Shaped Frog out now! Thanks everyone!

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