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Bam !

Using percussive words, Bam! is the story of a child and grandparent walking through the city exploring the rhythm of the streets together.

Photo of Elizabeth Luff

Written by

I want to dance.  But I need a beat.  I need a beat to move my feet.  I need a beat to move my feet. So I hit the street.


Bop  Bop

Ta ta ta     

Ta ta ta

Dee dee dee dum    

Dee dee dee dum    




Sing and dance

Sing and dance

All together

All together


I want to dance

I can make a beat

I can make a beat to move my feet

It's really sweet !


Pots and pans,

Wooden spoons, wooden spoons,

All together All together!


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

BAM! will delight the youngest child with its noisy words, simple rhythms, pictures of instruments from different countries, and dancers in colorful costumes. As a child and grandparent walk through the city neighborhoods hearing and seeing a mix of rhythms, textures, and people, they are inspired to go home and create their own music and dance experience.

Share your suggested book title


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).

I want to dance But I need a beat I need a beat to move my feet I need a beat to move my feet So I hit the street BAM ! Bop Bop ! Ta Ta Ta Ta Ta Ta Dee Dee Dee Dum Dee Dee Dee Dum BONG !!!!!!! JAM! People Sing and dance Sing and dance All together All together WOW ! I want to dance I can make a beat I can make a beat to move my feet It's really sweet ! BAM! Pots and pans, Wooden spoons, wooden spoons, All together All together! BONG!

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

Research shows rhythm and repetition help children develop phonemic awareness, nurturing language and literacy. Dr. Bruce Perry suggests music and movement can help young children deal with trauma. In BAM! the sounds of the instruments leads a 0-3 year old into the first steps of literacy with basic sounds, Tier 1 words, rhythm and rhyme. A beginning, middle and end provides a simple narrative to follow. Pictures of drums and dancers from a variety of cultures provide opportunities to expand the conversation between reader and child and spark a "serve and return" conversation increasing their bond. The use of labels on some pictures, for example, "tabla" on the Indian drum, may evoke even more extensive conversations. In teaching dance and music in preschools I see children translate books into movements and movements into stories everyday. It is a natural and joyful process which produces strong relationships-- another predictor of success for children.

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

I have lived in the Philadelphia region most of my life and have taught children's dance in a variety of locations from studios, to community centers, to preschools. Presently I specialize in creative music and dance for preschools in the city and suburbs. The field of dance opened me up to the variety of music and dance in the city and the larger world.

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

The child and adult walk through a variety of urban neighborhoods. Latino, Asian, African-American, and other ethnicities are reflected through the instruments, costumes and buildings, as occurs in so many American cities. Readers benefit from seeing their own experiences reflected and learn to relate to other traditions. The story could be expanded to illustrate many more settings: church choirs, dancers and musicians on public transit, and festivals. BAM! is simple enough to appeal to the youngest child. Its rhythms and onomatopoeia appeal to non-English speakers. BAM! introduces a specific way to play at home with makeshift instruments. I hope children and adults will sing and dance.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

As an instructor of preschool creative dance and music, I use books to inspire and expand movement constantly. Frogs Jump, Quick as a Cricket, The Snowy Day, Will It Rain, A is for Angry--combined with music and movement help children learn to love books, relate to animals, nature, dance and music and increase comprehension and literacy. I spend much of my day with young children singing and dancing. I collaborate with other teachers and lead teacher workshops. I value the creativity, originality and individuality of both my colleagues and my students. And books, I use books in my ABC lesson plans, my seasons lesson plans, my music appreciation lesson plans, my shape lesson plans, my animal lesson plans, my Chinese New Years lesson plans. We sing and dance to understand the world. Singing, dancing, reading.....and dogs. If I could get a dog world would be complete!

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

Frogs Jump always gets my youngest students moving, talking, and laughing! Behind the simple sentence structure. pictures tell a story that takes more observation and creates a narrative which reader and child can follow, anticipate and enjoy with even more vocabulary. Similarly, the simple sentence structure of BAM! could be enhanced with drummers and dancers gathering, pictured at a distance, getting closer and closer to finally JAM! in the public square.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

I have self-published, a very limited number, of a dance coloring book. I have two unpublished manuscripts: No Night and The Pumpkin Bush.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Direct email invitation

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kelly Andrews

This is a really fun to read concept! I like the rhyme and the percussion and I think children would really like it.

I'd like to see a little more development and repetition -- think about page turns and what kind of progression would happen on each page. As the child gets the beat and moves their feet, where do they go? What happens? Where do they move to, and what different sounds and beats do they find? Who joins them? This is so full of promise and I'd like a bit more!

Photo of Elizabeth Luff

Thanks for the comments.  I have been thinking about just repeating the entire thing with new images.  Struggle with how long to make a book which is for a 0-3 year old.

Photo of Kelly Andrews

You could do it like this:
First verse full rhyme:

BAM! [door shuts}

Second verse:
I want to dance But I need a beat I need a beat to move my feet.
Beep beep beep [car horns blast]

Third verse:
I want to dance But I need a beat I need a beat to move my feet.
Screech screech [trolley brakes squeal]

Or you could make it additive:
Bam! Beep beep beep! Screech screech!

Or you could have different people come along.
It would be good to build toward an ending -- a parade, or maybe some quiet.

"Now I've danced and I want to sleep. I want to sleep so QUIET!

Some ideas. I hope you come up with something! If you want to collaborate, you can add me to your team!

Photo of Elizabeth Luff

sweet !

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