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Bedtime in the Big City

Twelve big city babies of different ages and stages each get a bedtime story, but interact with the book in different age appropriate ways.

Photo of Peggy Sissel, Ed.D.
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Bedtime in the Big City

The sun is down and night has fallen.

All across the city, bedtime is callin'.

Time to cuddle up, warm on a lap,

Time to listen to a book, and learn and laugh.

Nia's a newborn with her very first book.

Bold black and white pictures help her to look.

Tia, at two months can hold up her head.

She coos as she listens before going to bed.

Frida, now four months can reach out and pat.

She smiles and gurgles at the silly blue cat.

Six month-old Leo loves to babble at babes,

Puppies and faces are what his six-month brain craves.

At eight months Evan is starting to point,

just like Gram does to the big pig - oink! oink!

Dropping the book is fun for Ernesto,

when it hits with a thunk! he and mama say UT-OH!

Toddlers Trey and Tomika just can't seem to take turns

at turning the pages and trying to say words.

Eighteen-month Abdul has started to chatter,

his parents are so proud - what he says doesn't matter!

Again, again!  Nico says at the end

of his new favorite book, The Little Red Hen.

Zack has a stack of books he wants read.

Mom will make him choose two before he gets into bed.

Petra pretends to read the whole tale,

about Jack and Jill and a hill and a pail.

What can YOU do today with a book, on a lap?

You can cuddle and learn and ask questions and laugh!

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

As the book proceeds from apartment to apartment across the big city, each subsequent child in the story is depicted in a higher stage of development as a way to show caregivers how children can grow and interact with books, while also offering ways they can support their learning. The book culminates with a child-safe mirror so they can see themselves, and poses a question caregivers can use to praise the child - what can YOU do today?

Share your suggested book title

Bedtime in the Big City

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).

Bedtime in the Big City The sun is down and night has fallen. All across the city, bedtime is callin'. Time to cuddle up, warm on a lap Time to listen to a book, and learn and laugh. Nia's a newborn with her very first book. Bold black and white pictures help her to look. Tia, at two months can hold up her head. She coos as she listens before going to bed. Frida, now four months can reach out and pat. She smiles and gurgles at the silly blue cat. Six month-old Leo loves to babble at babes Puppies and faces are what his six-month brain craves. At eight months Evan is starting to point just like Gram does to the big pig - oink! oink! Dropping the book is fun for Ernesto, when it hits with a thunk! he and mama say UT-OH! Toddlers Trey and Tomika just can't seem to take turns at turning the pages and trying to say words. Eighteen-month Abdul has started to chatter, his parents are so proud - what he says doesn't matter! Again, again! Nico says at the end of his new favorite book, The Little Red Hen. Zack has a stack of books he wants read. Mom will make him choose two before he gets into bed. Petra pretends to read the whole tale, about Jack and Jill and a hill and a pail. What can YOU do today with a book, on a lap? You can cuddle and learn and ask questions and laugh!

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

Helping parents and caregivers understand early childhood language development has been a focus of mine for 17 years. I was the co-founder of the Reach Out and Read coalition in Arkansas, and am an author and publisher of nonfiction, photo illustrated picture books for young children. Scholars Golinkoff and Pasek inform my work; Dr. Ann Kaiser with Vanderbilt University is on my national advisory board. The suggested storybook here focuses on developmental stages and how children can, if supported by loving caregivers, interact with books, physically, cognitively, socially, and with language at different ages. All of these add up to "emergent literacy skills." Since many parents may not know they can and should start using books with baby beginning at birth, this book shows examples of the rewards it can bring at various ages, and does it with humor and rich imagery.

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

My husband use to work at the University of Pennsylvania, so I know the city, its contours, features, and favorite haunts. I also know the rich diversity of the community.

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

The 12 families in the manuscript are meant to be diverse, including African American, Hispanic, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Asian, and white. The pictures that would go with each child and family could depict homes of different kinds, i.e. housing projects, walk ups, flats, a homeless shelter, high rises, and feature a variety of socio-economic groups. Some children would have their own bedroom, while others might be tucked "into bed" on a couch in the living room, or a futon on the floor.

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

Arkansas

Location: City

Little Rock

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a former professor of education, but am now a social entrepreneur innovating ways to help parents understand the link between language, learning, and literacy. I have lived and worked in urban areas (Detroit, Washington, DC, various communities in New Jersey) and through my research and employment with Head Start, public health, domestic violence, and other programs, I understand the challenges parents can face when trying to meet the needs of their children and families. At the end of a stressful day it can be hard to set time aside for a young child, but I want the story to show the joy that sharing books can bring and the rewards that come when a few minutes a day are set aside to snuggle together with a book.

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

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Scholarly Books - Sheared, V. & Peggy A. Sissel. (Eds.) (2001). Making Space: Merging Theory and Practice in Adult Education. Greenwood Publishing. Sissel, Peggy A. (2000). Staff, Parents, and Politics in Head Start. Falmer Press. Picture Books - (2011) My Doctor’s Visit. (2011) A Visit to the Farmers’ Market /Una Visita al Mercado de los Granjeros. Brain Child Books. (2010) I See a Star! Amazing Shapes to Find on Your Plate. (2010) Vegetables Count! (2008) A Very Purple Pepper

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • Social entrepreneur, author, innovator

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Photo of Orel Protopopescu
Team

Liked your cover art and concept. Good luck!

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