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The Birth of a Book

Think it's easy to create a picture book? Well, it's not - but it IS a lot of fun! Using my picture book "Flashlight Night" as a foundation, I will share how a manuscript is conceived, written, and revised; how an illustrator approaches the project; and the role editors play in pulling it all together!

Matt Forrest Esenwine

45 Minute Program



One of the most popular questions I am asked is, "How long does it take to make a book?" My answer is always the same: "It depends!" Every manuscript is different, every illustrator is different, every editor is different...which means every project is different.

In this program, I will share behind-the-scenes details about how "Flashlight Night" came to be: the inspiration behind it, the reason I chose an unusual point of view, the two-week trip illustrator Fred Koehler took before drawing a single picture, the revisions Fred and I both needed to make in order to create a seamless story. Young children will enjoy having the story read to them while hearing about some of this 'secret' information, while older kids may appreciate learning more about the creative process in general.

Did you know the giant stone arch in the book actually exists? Or that the dark, 'long-forgotten trail' is a pretty little country path in real life? And how did the kids end up on a pirate ship, when I never mention anything about pirates? Through anecdotes about the book and insights into publishing and the creative arts, you and your kids will learn there's much more to a picture book than just the story!

About the Author

Matt’s debut picture book "Flashlight Night" (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2017) received national critical reviews and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of 2017’s Best Books for Kids.

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