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A Book Is For...

A child finds a variety of reading opportunities as she and her family navigate daily activities.

Photo of Marni Fogelson
9 4

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A book is for…


A book is for making a tower as tall as the sky. When it falls over, everyone wakes up!


A book is for Sister to sing to me while Mama scoops out the coffee and makes her first cup.


A book is for pretending I am just like Sister, walking to school with all the big kids.


A book is for playing I Spy with Mama while our laundry rolls and rolls around.


A book is for sharing on a blanket in the grass until the music starts. Then it’s time to clap and dance!


A book is for doggies! Sister reads to a fluffy brown one today while I pet its fur.


A book is for playing peek-a-boo with the old man sitting next to us on the bus.


A book is for making a yummy treat. “One cup of apples.” “One teaspoon of cinnamon”. I get to mix it all up.


A book is for me to drum on while Mama braids Sister’s hair. I bang on one book. Then another. It is taking too long. I throw a book.


“A book is not for throwing! Be gentle with your books so we can read them again.”


A book is for sitting on Mama’s lap. She braids and reads while I flip the pages for her.


A book is for soothing me to sleep.


“Just one more, Mama? Please?”


A book is for giving me lots to dream about all night long.

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

I wanted to highlight to children and families a few ways that reading can be an everywhere, anywhere activity. I included some of the typical activities that occur in Philadelphia (such as reading to a therapy dog at a local library, attending an outdoor concert at one of our parks, or simply taking the bus home at the end of a busy day) as well as general daily to-dos (such as going to the laundromat and walking a sibling to school).

Share your suggested book title

A Book Is For...

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

A book is for… A book is for making a tower as tall as the sky. When it falls over, everyone wakes up! A book is for Sister to sing to me while Mama scoops out the coffee and makes her first cup. A book is for pretending I am just like Sister, walking to school with all the big kids. A book is for playing I Spy with Mama while our laundry rolls and rolls around. A book is for sharing on a blanket in the grass until the music starts. Then it’s time to clap and dance! A book is for doggies! Sister reads to a fluffy brown one today while I pet its fur. A book is for playing peek-a-boo with the old man sitting next to us on the bus. A book is for making a yummy treat. “One cup of apples.” “One teaspoon of cinnamon”. I get to mix it all up. A book is for me to drum on while Mama braids Sister’s hair. I bang on one book. Then another. It is taking too long. I throw a book. “A book is not for throwing! Be gentle with your books so we can read them again.” A book is for sitting on Mama’s lap. She braids and reads while I flip the pages for her. A book is for soothing me to sleep. “Just one more, Mama? Please?” A book is for giving me lots to dream about all night long.

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

Encouraging parents and kids to read is a vital way to help families bond, to build and expand a child's vocabulary, and to help children learn about new experiences as well as identify with their own lived experience. This manuscript gently encourages parents and caregivers to reframe almost any time in the day as an opportunity to read, whether while killing time and waiting for laundry to dry or as using as a calming bedtime ritual. I hope this manuscript helps give parents/caregivers ideas about how books can become a constant companion for children throughout their day as well as how varied books offer different ways for kids to learn about and explore the world (cookbooks, favorite nursery rhyme books, how-to kids' books, etc). The manuscript uses mostly simple, easy to pronounce words, a repetitive and reliable sentence pattern, and recognizable scenarios for many families.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I have lived in Philadelphia for over 13 years. Along with my family, I continue to love exploring this wonderful city.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

Taking the bus, walking to school, going to a free music concert in the park with friends, going to the laundromat, reading to a therapy dog at the local library: I chose favorite Philly activities that are also recognizable to many urban dwellers. I hope to show the rich possibilities for exposing a child to literacy simply by going about daily life in the city. An illustrator would obviously emphasize the urban/Philly aspect with both overt and nuanced depictions. For example, the page on the bus could include a backdrop of typical urban buildings, business signage, etc. The tower that the child is building in the first scene could be shown to look like Liberty One or Comcast Center.

Location: Country

U.S.

Location: State or Department

Pennsylvania

Location: City

Philadelphia

Tell us more about you / your team

I'm a parent, writer, and the co-chair of a local literacy nonprofit that works to provide new, free, diverse books in children from low-income households throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. I am extremely excited about this initiative and know that there are so many parents/caregivers in our amazing city (and beyond) that could benefit from a book like this. Becoming a parent can be overwhelming! Parents/caregivers want their children to be happy, to learn, and to succeed, but not everyone grew up in an environment where reading was a priority so it's not a natural go-to activity for everyone. I love the idea that this book could provide a way for families to spend some tech-free time together. Reading with my kids was (and continues to be) such a great bonding/learning experience.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

I love the illustrations of Jerry Pinkney, Kadir Nelson, R. Gregory Christie, Caroline Binch, Sophie Blackall. Although most of these images are from books for older children, they are still emotionally resonant, recognizable, and just plain gorgeous!

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

I have a published children's book called A Cello Named Pablo (https://www.amazon.com/Cello-Named-Pablo-Marni-Fogelson/dp/0999253107). I have also written/edited for a variety of media outlets including Domino, Inhabitots, and Inhabitat.

Do you have an agent?

  • Previously yes, currently no

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists

This inspired (1)

With Me, Baby.

9 comments

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Comment
Photo of Kelly Andrews
Team

Well crafted! A lot of good ideas for encouraging reading and making books fun.

I'd like to see a bit more variety to mix up the lines -- the first break in format is the "A book is not for throwing" -- I love that line and then how the book resolves so sweetly. Some more changes in line length and format earlier would be great, but this is a good story!

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