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Baby Sees, Baby Says

This book shows families having "conversations" (even when their little ones don't speak full words yet) all about what they see in the city

Photo of Sophie Foss
2 1

Written by

Italics are suggested illustrations.

Baby sees... (Baby pointing to the bike)
Papa says…Bike! That bike is blue. (Baby and Papa on the street, watching someone ride by on an Indego bike)
Baby says…Buh! 

Baby feels...
Baby says…Dah!
Auntie says…Dog! This dog is fluffy. (Auntie and baby are petting the dog)

Baby rides...
Mama says…Bus! We go fast on the bus! (Mama and baby are riding the bus)
Baby says…Buh!

Baby tastes...
Baby says…Mih!
Abuelo says…Milk! You drink milk in your bottle. (Abeulo is handing the bottle to baby)

Baby feels...
Sister says…Cat! That cat is orange. (Sister and baby see a cat on their fire escape)
Baby says…Ca!

Baby smells...
Baby says…Ga!
Daddy says…Grass! The park has green grass. (Daddy and baby are lying in the grass at the park)

Baby hears...
Mommy says…Airplane! The airplane flies in the sky.
Baby says…Aah! (Mommy and baby are sitting on their stoop watching a plane overhead)

Baby feels...
Baby says…La!
Brother says…Love! I love you! (Brother and baby are playing together and laughing)

Baby hears...
Uncle says…Beep! The cars on the road go beep-beep!
Baby says…Bee! (Uncle and baby are driving in the car together)

Toddler sees...
Toddler says…Truck - fast!
Auntie says… The truck drives fast down the road! (Auntie and toddler walking down the street)

Toddler sees...
Brother says…Do you see your friend out the window?
Toddler says…My friend! (Brother and toddler looking out their window together, pointing to another toddler)

Toddler tastes...
Toddler says…Red berries!
Papa says…The strawberries we eat are red! (Papa and toddler are at the Italian market buying fruit and veg)

Toddler hears...
Sister says…Do you hear the dog barking? (Sister and toddler are playing on the playground)
Toddler says…The doggie barks!

Toddler tastes...
Toddler says…I like milk!
Tia says…Yum, you like milk and so do I! (Tia is pouring milk for toddler)

Toddler walks...
Grandpa says…Let’s get some books to read from the library!
Toddler says: Library! Books! (grandpa and toddler walking to Free Library together)

Toddler sees...
Toddler says…Yellow car!
Cousin says…Hey, look, a yellow car! (Cousin and toddler are on their porch playing)

Toddler sees...
Toddler says…Goodnight teddy!
Mama says... You’ve got your teddy ready for bed! (mama and toddler are getting ready for bed)

Toddler sings...
Papa says... Let's sing a good night lullaby!
Toddler says... Sing goodnight! (Papa and toddler are getting ready for bed)

Now sing your favorite song to say good night!


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

Each of these “sentence” pairs goes together on a page with a colorful illustration of people and objects on the Philly streets. The goal is to model a supportive language interaction between kids age 0-3 and caregivers, where language sounds the child makes are interpreted as communication by the caregivers even if they’re not whole words yet. By setting up a caregiver and infant in a dialogue, caregivers can see that even if a child is working on single sounds, they can engage in conversation.

Share your suggested book title

Baby Sees, Baby Says

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

Early language development research (see suggests that engaging children in a dialogue and showing them how reciprocal conversation works is a huge part of learning how to talk, listen, and communicate effectively. By showing your baby that you're listening to their sounds and hearing what they are communicating, you are communicating love, respect, and interest in what your child has to say. Since the sentences alternate between being baby-led and caregiver-led, it models how to let your baby lead and how a caregiver can lead in a baby-friendly way. The (mainly Tier 1) words selected for the sentences were also done in way that supports acquisition of developmental milestones ( and makes the book accessible to kids from 0-3. As kids get older, they can act out the caregiver role and say full sentences. By having baby, toddler, and brother/sister characters, kids of all ages can see themselves represented in this book

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

I live in Philadelphia and work in a hospital where I see kids and families from all over the city. I love the vibrancy of the city and the pride residents have in where they live. This city has a rich culture and history, and I want to make sure kids who grow up here can see their city in a book.

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

I hope so! Many of the families I work with live within the city of Philadelphia itself, and have different challenges and resources than those who may live in a different area. Play spaces look different (might be a public park, small apartment, a fire escape), neighbors are closer, and we use all kinds of ways to get around town (bus, bike, walk, car). I wanted to show that in my book.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


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

I envision bright, colorful, busy scenes so that families can talk about all the different things they see. I also want to use different fonts to represent the sounds and words the kids say.

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/we are a formal part of a University or Research Institution


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Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Good try.

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