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Different families, from diverse backgrounds, begin their day and go to the park.

Photo of Shirin Shamsi
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The story opens with a young mother and baby, beginning their day as they prepare to go to the park. The next scene is a Hispanic grandmother with her two grandchildren, as they prepare to go to the park. Diverse families converge upon the park and then as the day ends we see a caregiver and child go to the library, where other families are gathered.

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

My vision for this was to have a tender story, using rhyme, alliteration and repetition to make it a story that can be read numerous times to babies and toddlers.

Share your suggested book title

Originally my title was A BRIGHT NEW DAY but now I prefer A DAY IN THE PARK

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).

Slippers off, Sandals on, Skippity, skippity skip, so fun. Are you ready for our morning run? Sunlight dips its happy light, A big wide smile, eyes shining bright. (ART NOTES: Mother and baby) A brand-new day, It’s time to play. Down the steps ready, steady, Abuela’s stick goes clickety-click. Not too slow, not too quick. Stepping slowly, tapping low, Holding hands, down we go. (Art notes: Grandmother with two young children, in an apartment building) A brand-new day We’re on our way. Blossoming trees, shimmering breeze, Chirping, tweeting birds in song; “Quack, Quack!” ducks dance in the pond. Running jumping in the park. “Can we stay here till it’s dark?” (Art notes: families of diverse back grounds gather in a community park in Philadelphia) A brand-new day We’re here to stay. Buses, trucks and bikes whizz past, We cross the street, then stop at last. “What do you see?“ A library! Settle in a cozy nook, Grab your favorite kind of book. (Art notes: Late afternoon, a caregiver takes a child to the library) The brand-new day is near its end, Just you and me, together. With a book, that is like a friend. (Art notes: different families gather in the library for World Reading Night- or something of that nature)

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

My background is in Early Childhood, so working with children has been my lifelong passion. I have run a Pre-school Playgroup in the UK. I moved to the US thirty years ago and have raised my three children here. I recently ran a Mother and Toddler group in a local mosque as I saw there was a great need for immigrant mothers, whose families were living far away. I spoke to the Imam and he offered me a room in the mosque where mothers gathered and chatted, while I read stories and sang to the children. The mothers often said that was the only time they got to have adult conversations and a time to relax. I am also an author and an Ambassador for Barefoot Books, which specializes in multicultural and diverse literature. Diversity is of paramount importance to me. We need books that inspire and instill empathy from birth- for the sake of our world's future...

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

My sister lived in Philadelphia for three years and I visited her there. I have lived in Chicagoland for thirty years, so I have an idea of inner cities. As an immigrant, whose parents and grandparents were also immigrants, I feel the need for 'Own Voices" and "Diverse Books". My family has lived on three different continents, so the the immigrant and refugee experience is close to my heart.

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

I believe babies and toddlers need to hear repetitive sounds. They need to be read to, sang to, engaged with from birth ( actually in utero) I have chosen simple repetitive language, with sounds that will engage a child.

Location: Country

I live in Darien, Illinois USA

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

I do not have a website yet, although I am working on one as my debut children's book will be released this summer. As well as being an author, I organize book fairs and fundraisers by selling children's books.

Tell us more about you / your team

I have raised three children, who have now spread their wings and are doing amazing and wonderful things to make this world better. I now devote myself to writing for children (with a few story-times in schools and daycare centers). I believe with whatever time I have left in this world, I should devote it to the children of the world- for they are the future, and their future should be better than ours was... I feel with my writing, I would like to inspire empathy more than anything, for with empathy we can save the world. I write because I wish to inspire children in some way. I see it as my small contribution to posterity.

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

I do not have any visuals at present. I am learning to draw, in the hopes that some day I will write and illustrate my own books for children.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

A DAY WITH THE DINOSAURS (1998) Picture Book PRINCESS PERIBANU: AN INDIAN TALE (published 2018 in an anthology titled A Hug for the World, which was to raise funds for victims of the Hurricane Harvey) LAILA AND THE SANDS OF TIME (SUMMER 2019) Middle Grade THE GIRL WHO DARED (OCTOBER 2019) Chapter Book

Do you have an agent?

  • 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

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Photo of Shirin Shamsi

Thank you all for your comments. I agree it needs more work, Itika. I appreciate your comments and suggestions. Time is short, but I’m working on it :)

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