Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Beginner's Guide to Being Human - a review 10.19.22

I'm just going to start with this - EVERYONE needs this book.  ALL libraries, ALL classrooms, ALL humans.  Because, honestly.... it seems like many of us have forgotten what humanity is.  Or what is should be.

A Beginner's Guide to Being Human by Matt Forrest Esenwine
A Beginner's Guide to Being Human
written by Matt Forrest Esenwine
illustrated by André Geolin
published by Beaming Books

Author Matt Esenwine reminds us of what humanity should be.  It's families.  Of all shapes and sizes and colors and numbers.  I love that he even says that you don't have to be related to be considered family.

Esenwine goes over empathy, compassion, and most importantly, kindness.  Through the text and illustrations, readers see both the good and not-so-good examples of humans showing these things.  Because, after all, as Esenwine says, humans do make mistakes too.  

Follow along with the pro-tips of how a little bit of kindness or compassion or empathy can go a long way!  And while these tips may seem to be something we all know, it's a good reminder for all readers to practice them in the future!

And at the end, what's really important is the love we can have for one another.  What a perfect reminder.

I was fortunate to be able to ask author Matt Esenwine a couple of questions:

Q:  How did the idea of this one come about?

A:  It was a really challenging book to write, not because it was difficult but because it was wasn't even my idea, ha! It's actually the first time I’ve ever written and published a book specifically requested by an editor. I had submitted a completely different manuscript with a similar title to Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books, my editor for ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME and although she didn't feel it was a good fit for her list, she really liked it and told me about an idea she’d had for a different book, written in the same sort of style but focusing on emotions and feelings. She said we could title it A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN and asked if I'd be interested in writing it, knowing there was no guarantee she’d accept the new manuscript. Fortunately, she liked it!

Q:  You talk about this book being creative nonfiction.  Tell us more about that!

A:  Creative nonfiction is a really cool genre that has been gaining popularity the past few years. It presents elements of nonfiction - facts, information, etc. - by using creative devices like narrative, dialogue, lyricism/poetry, etc. Examples of creative nonfiction are Lita Judge's WISDOM OF TREES, Joyce Sidman's DARK EMPEROR, and Melissa Stewart's FEATHERS NOT JUST FOR FLYING. 

Thanks, Matt!

This book should be shared at the beginning of the year, and probably at the middle and end, as well!  The simple text doesn't preach, doesn't feel like a lesson, but gives us a little check of how we should be taking life day-by-day.  The gorgeous illustrations by  are authentic and diverse.  

More about author Matt Esenwine:

Matt Forrest Esenwine spent a good part of his life writing and publishing poetry for various national journals and anthologies like the Donald Hall tribute, Except for Love (Encircle, 2019). Then his debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017), received a Kirkus starred review and was included in Encyclopedia Brittanica’s list of “11 Children’s Books That Inspire Imagination!”

Matt now has nearly a dozen books to his credit including Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021), co-authored with Charles “Father Goose” Ghigna, and I Am Today (POW! Kids Bokos, 2022). His children’s poetry can be found in anthologies like The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2015) and Construction People (Wordsong, 2020). Connect with Matt and order personally-signed books here.

I know you'll be wanting to get your hands on a copy of this book!  Author Matt Esenwine and publisher Beaming Books have donated a copy for a blog reader!  Winner will be selected on Wednesday, October 26th.

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