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A Chester-Charlie Story

A story about a lost puppy who finds a home. The vocabulary is tier-one; the story emphasizes empathy as well as caring for others.

Photo of Beth Alvarado

Written by

Beth Alvarado

bethalvarado@hotmail.com


 

A Chester-Charlie Story

 

Once there was a puppy who was lost. He lived in a city. It was raining. The cars splashed him. He was cold and muddy and hungry. He was scared and sad. 

 

He wanted to find a home and he knocked on many doors of many apartments. 

 

At one apartment, two children answered the door. When they saw the puppy, they called to their daddy and mommy. Please! the children said. We will help take care of him! 

 

They took the puppy inside and gave him a bath and dried him and brushed his fur. They gave him food and water. The puppy wagged his tail.

 

The mommy said, should we keep this puppy? The children said, Yes! Please! The puppy wagged his tail again.

 

The daddy said, what will we name him? The boy said, Chester! The girl said, Charlie! 

 

The mommy asked the puppy, do you like the name Chester-Charlie? The puppy wagged his tail. He was happy. He had a warm home and food and children to play with him.

 

The family took Chester-Charlie to a park. When Chester-Charlie saw the grass and a fence all around, he wagged his tail. 

 

When the children threw a ball, he chased it. When a bird flew into the tree, he barked. When a squirrel ran up the tree, he barked again. 

 

Chester-Charlie had found a home and he had four new friends: a boy, a girl, a bird, a squirrel. 

 

He gave the children kisses. He was so happy!

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

I emphasized tier one vocabulary and repeated a few words several times since children learn by repetition. The story also encourages empathy since the puppy is lost and cold and hungry and encourages children to cooperate with one another and to take care of others.

Share your suggested book title

A Chester-Charlie Story.

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).

Once there was a puppy who was lost. He lived in a city. It was raining. The cars splashed him. He was cold and muddy and hungry. He was scared and sad. He wanted to find a home and he knocked on many doors of many apartments. At one apartment, two children answered the door. When they saw the puppy, they called to their daddy and mommy. Please! the children said. We will help take care of him! They took the puppy inside and gave him a bath and dried him and brushed his fur. They gave him food and water. The puppy wagged his tail. The mommy said, should we keep this puppy? The children said, Yes! Please! The puppy wagged his tail again. The daddy said, what will we name him? The boy said, Chester! The girl said, Charlie! The mommy asked the puppy, do you like the name Chester-Charlie? The puppy wagged his tail. He was happy. He had a warm home and food and children to play with him. The family took Chester-Charlie to a park. When Chester-Charlie saw the grass and a fence all around, he wagged his tail. When the children threw a ball, he chased it. When a bird flew into the tree, he barked. When a squirrel ran up the tree, he barked again. Chester-Charlie had found a home and he had four new friends: a boy, a girl, a bird, a squirrel. He gave the children kisses. He was so happy!

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

I read from your resource list while drafting for your purposes; my daughter is a public health nurse who works with young mothers and children and teaches parents how to interact with their children, language development, etc.; and I've taught for years. We developed this story together, orally. My grandchildren ask for it every nap time, even though it does not feature their own dog. I think the "lost-ness" of Chester appeals to their emotions. The illustrations would be a big part of the appeal of this book and parents could point to objects in it and ask questions. The illustrations could also emphasize different settings and cultures and help children become aware of how to care for animals.

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

I have been to Philadelphia only once, but I have a good friend who lives there. I also read about it on your website. My late husband was Mexican American and we lived in Tucson while my children were growing up. I originally developed this story with LA as the setting, so an urban setting, but I do think the illustrations could add to the story in terms of both culture and setting. I can't draw, but I do imagine it as a picture book, with the pictures being an integral part of the reading experience. I imagine a bi-cultural family since our family was bi-cultural, but you could change the roles of the adults so that one was a mama and one a nana. One child is male, one female.

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

I used apartments instead of houses. Many children's books are set in houses or in a pastoral setting. There are cars as part of the setting and the family goes to a park, doesn't have its own yard, so those are "urban" details. Again, the illustrations could really emphasize the urban setting.

Location: Country

US

Location: State or Department

Oregon.

Location: City

Bend.

Website URL (optional question)

bethalvarado.com

Tell us more about you / your team

I am an individual writer. I teach for OSU-Cascades MFA program and taught for over 25 years at the University of AZ in Tucson. I am very aware, as a mother, grandmother, and teacher, of the challenges of raising bi-cultural children and of finding books that will appeal to them and emphasize the values of the culture and reflect their experiences.

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

I cannot draw, but I would be glad to work with an illustrator as a collaborator. The illustrations should emphasize setting, ethnicity, and culture. I see one sentence or so per page, no more, but each page should have images the children can name and point to in order to encourage interaction with very young children. I would say muted colors, maybe like water colors so that there's room for the child's imagination but so that objects are recognizable, also to create a calm, bedtime mood.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Jillian in the Borderlands: A Cycle of Rather Dark Tales, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. Anxious Attachments, Essays, Autumn House Press, 2019. Anthropologies: A Family Memoir, University of Iowa Press, 2011. Not a Matter of Love and other stories, New Rivers Press, 2006.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • From Black Lawrence Press

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

12 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Beth Alvarado welcome to the Challenge Community!
Such a wonderful story of teaching children empathy through the experience of the little puppy. Love it.
Since your final readers will be from the age group of 0-3 yrs, it may be interesting to tweak the manuscript to make it simpler, rhythmic and more engaging for your readers. You can learn more about early childhood development and tips on writing for this age group in the “Challenge Resources” listed at the end of the Challenge Page.

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