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A storybook for justice

This is a rhyming storybook that tries to bring together very tactile images with social movement.

Photo of Anthony Giancatarino

Written by

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

Research has shown that by the age of 3 most children already have formed bias and racist associations due to society and structural pressures. My hope is that this book creates a beginning foray to talk about issues of social injustice paired with explicitly images and rhyming to help shift implicit associations.

Share your suggested book title

Crossing Broad for Justice

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).

It was morning and the sky was gray I asked my mom, “what should I do today?” Holding my sister, Mom said to me How about you go and climb the tree? But the weather outside has not been fun, Mostly cloudy, with rain, and little sun. So I hopped down the steps to find my dad, He was listening to the news that sounded sad. I got my backpack and reached for a book, Then sat to read at the breakfast nook. Outside I heard some people call, No ban, no wall, Philadelphia is for all. I went to the window and looked outside, As people marched, my eyes grew wide. I grabbed some paper, a marker and wrote, Then asked mom and dad, please put on your coat! We went outside and joined the lines, While I read out loud, all of the signs. Black Lives Matter and Love Conquers Hate, For a Healthy Planet, We Must Cooperate. From Tioga to Parkside, Logan and Germantown Across West and South people came on down. We walked by and stopped at Love Park When rays of light broke clouds of dark. Broad and City Hall, we stood as one, United is better, but our work is not done. There is so much that we must undo, We can’t go back, only toward what is true. We must love and protect each other, always be kind Because in the end, our lives are intertwined.

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

I am working mostly through my experience as a dad of 3 reading many many many children's books! I did look at the vocabulary tiers to make sure the words are striking the right balance. I also have learned from research on the implications of race on early childhood development.

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

I am a resident of Philly and have worked in partnership to support brilliant leaders with community organizers across the city. None of this story would have been possible without the events, actions, and work that has been organized by countless organizations in this city.

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

This idea was born out of my oldest daughter's desire to go down to the airport protest 2 years ago and her learning to read different protest signs at the age of 3. I blended different experiences from in-home to actual actions and statements over the last few years into a story.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I am a dad of 3 and currently a project fellow on Just Community Energy Transitions (JCET) housed at the Movement Strategy Innovation Center looking at the intersection of anti-racism, energy democracy, and how we advance collaboration, bridge relationships, and shift resources to frontline movement leaders to further strategies around a just energy transition at a local and national level. Locally, in Philadelphia, PA, I have worked with local leaders on strategic planning, alignment building, and community-driven policy solutions that seek to transition away from extractive policies, practices, and spaces towards a more rooted and regenerative energy economy.

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

I am not an artists by any means. I really love illustratotions Matt de La Pena's "Love" and "Last Stop on Market St" books, the illustrations of Vashti Harrison, Marla Frazee, and Innosanto Nagara

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

  • No

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 a dad and work in the nonprofit sector on energy democracy, race and climate issues


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anthony Giancatarino

Thanks Shondra Quarles Darren and Anuja. I have been slammed with work and haven't really been able to revisit this or the project. Will check our your work!

Photo of Shondra M. Quarles

It's a work in progress ��

Photo of Shondra M. Quarles

I like the integration of social awareness. Please save this as Anuja suggested. I was inspired to write a story because of you! Thank you for the inspiration!!

Photo of Itika Gupta

A great way to improve and revise your work is through connecting with others and receiving feedback. Darren Yeo  is another storyteller who is also exploring a theme of courage. I encourage you both to provide a couple of lines of feedback to one another’s manuscript submissions through the comments section to support the refinement of your work!
Happy connecting!

Photo of Darren Yeo

Great story! Quite a deep intent, but I think it is good that children start as early as possible. Felt that I was able to follow, but might need some help with understanding some of the names (maybe I'm not from philadelphia). That being said, it would mean I can search it up myself and share it with my kids to give additional meaning.

As a parent of 2 (3yr and 1 Yr) , was wondering if u can recommend any great books you had fun reading to your kids?

Photo of Anuja Singhal

I love how your story talks about realities rather than sugar-coating and fairy-tailing life. It's gentle yet informative and inspiring. Simplifying language would definitely help with the young ones, but please do keep this one too if you ever get an opportunity to publish for an older group. Good luck!

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

Philly seems well represented.

Photo of Anthony Giancatarino

thank you Meredith Hardt and Itika Gupta I will work on these suggestions, I appreciate this.

Photo of Meredith Hardt

I popped by to say, well done, agree with Itika the imagery is lovely, but the text is a bit too much for 0-3. This would be great for the 4-8 yo category. Maybe consider cutting down the language a bit? Best of luck!

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Anthony Giancatarino  welcome to the Challenge Community!
What a lovely submission, so amazing to see how you used your story to talk about such a sensitive topic of early biases and racial associations. You experience of deeply understanding the context of Philadelphia surely comes across in your manuscript.
Since your book will be for an age-group children from 0-3 yrs, it may help to simplify the language a little and make it a more musical in its rhythm. You can get some inspirations from the resources on Early Childhood Development listed in the "Challenge Resources" at the end of the challenge page.