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Follow the Book Baby, a pied piper whose mission is to bring babies, their books, and their grown ups to the local library for story time.

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Written by

BOOK BABY                                                                                      120 Words

Page 4-5

Look, Baby. Book Baby!
Wave and say hello.
Follow that Book Baby.

Page 6-7

Ready set go!

Page 8-9

Look, Baby, Book Baby.
Take the train to town.
Raleigh reads his book, Baby.

Page 10-11

Upside down.

Page 12-13

Look, Baby, Book Baby.
Ride the bike and see.
Yashika shares her book, Baby,

Page 14-15

Underneath a tree.

Page 16-17

Look, Baby, Book Baby.
Give the dog a pat.
Juan wears a book, Baby

Page 18-19

What a pointy hat!

Page 20-21

Look, Baby, Book Baby.
Walk and walk and drop.
Ting turns the pages, Baby

Page 22-23

At the bus stop.

Page 24-25

Look, Baby, Book Baby.
Open up the door.
Bella brings her book, Baby,

Page 26-27

Back to get more.

Page 28-29

Look Baby, books, Baby,
More than we can carry.
Read and sing, and play, Baby,

Page 30-31

At the library,

Page 32


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

My intended vision for this manuscript is the creation of an irresistible main character who is a BOOK BABY that other babies would readily spot and then follow to the library. Caregivers and readers would be on the look out for the book baby and for books on all of the pages.

Share your suggested book title


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

The idea of a baby faced with goldfish crackers or broccoli stuck with me from the TED Talk WHAT DO BABIES THINK by Alison Gopnik. Babies pick up on what preferences others express. At 18 months they even know to pass over the broccoli, which they don't like, because they know you like it! Babies have book preferences. Some won't put a book down if it becomes a treasured favorite. I wanted BOOK BABY to reflect how we all get what we want in the abundant choices that a library can offer. And it turns out, in this case, that the best things in life are free. Do families know to go to Read, Baby, Read activities? Do they find the community resources to help them connect with others in their community with infants and toddlers? The rhyme and rhythm that teachers in toddler classrooms made into engaging read aloud activities in the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy reminded me of one of the TIPS that invites movement and builds a baby's brain. BOOK BABY is all about baby power!

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

My only familiarity with Philadelphia is as a tourist with my husband and then teenage sons during college visits. We loved the city for its walkability, its history, its art, and its culture. We also enjoyed its cheesesteaks.

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

Babies have so much to take in when they are in a city. The urban contexts I hope readers will resonate with will be in its illustrations. Babies noticing other babies in a cityscape en route to a library spotting books and other babies as they go is what I hope to achieve. Philadelphia's diverse population, its modes of transportation and its architecture will be the backdrop for these Follow-the-Leader babies enchanted by books.

Location: Country

The United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a self-employed teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing who has been working with the 0-3 aged population in early intervention agencies for eight years. Prior to that I worked as an educational consultant in the public schools and as a preschool teacher. I have been an active part of the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for many years. My husband and I parented two sons who grew up in Concord, MA. We spent their childhood camping, hiking, and visiting national parks. Children's books were a staple item in the tent. Throughout my professional career as an educator I have been fortunate to have some amazing mentors. One of these women explained to me that working with families was more about relationship than anything else. In my book crafting I have critique group members who have become my lifelong friends. We are cheerleaders for each others early drafts and support through the countless revisions. The Early Childhood Book Challenge is inspiration.

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.

RUNAWAY BLUE, Highlights Magazine retelling of a folktale that takes place in the SouthWest. BUTTERFLY, BUTTERFLY, High Five Magazine poem about a big-hearted kid that comes to the rescue SNOWBIRDS, AN ASSORTMENT OF ANIMALS POETRY ANTHOLOGY contribution with illustrations for SNOWBIRDS as well as the poem MONARCH by Sandy Budiansky, Published by The Writers' Loft in Sherborne, MA.

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Joyce Schriebman

This is lovely, Marty! Great bouncy rhythmic beat. Fun. I can see this happy book in the hands of caregivers and children alike!

Photo of Perlina Murray

Nice effort. Pied Piper should start with a Capital letter. Also the page number is not important. Theere need to be intersction. Make it conversational.

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Thank you for taking the time to offer this feedback, Perlina. I see what you mean about the text lacking interaction. I am so looking forward to learning more about the May 6 decisions. There are so many just-right manuscript ideas that could be over the top fabulous with revisions.

Photo of Perlina Murray

Me too. Very true what you have just said. I am happy you understood what I was talking about. Read some of mine as well.

Photo of DeletedUser


What a fun ode to the mesmerizing power of books to attract little ones. Also reinforces the idea that there are books perfect for each and every reader, all available at the library. Nice job Marty!

Photo of Joannie Duris

Marty, I love this Book Baby version. Has touches of your earlier story, but this one feels tighter and even more fun to read. Fingers crossed for you.

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Thank you, Joannie. Somehow I couldn’t replace that revised WHO’S ON THE GO? submission. I was happy to have the option to add a second submission. My fingers are crossed for your entry too! It will be fun to see what happens next in this challenge!

Photo of Joannie Duris

Absolutely a good option to have both versions available with over 500 submissions at the close. (Sonja has an entry too, on page 5.) I'm looking forward to the next stage of this challenge. Regardless of which stories move forward, we'll all be able to learn from the expert panel selections, and why they selected those stories.

Photo of Robyn Campbell

Congrats to my talented critique partner. Fabulous entry. xoxoxo Goodluck!

Photo of DeletedUser


I really enjoyed reading this Marty, you have captured all the things that a baby will do with a book, not just read! I laughed at the reading upside down line :o) Is the door is 24 / 25 the door to the library?

Your rhythm and rhymes are brilliant, I can imagine reading this story over and over again. Good luck :o)

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Yes, my plan was to have the door to the library and the busy steps in the art to show arrival to a building that will, in the end, be the library. Maybe even the Fishtown Library in Philadelphia! Thanks so much for your responsive collaboration and support. It's kind and it's so encouraging of you to take the time. I wish you luck! What a great community of individuals all on this quest to meet the outstanding evaluation criteria!

Photo of DeletedUser


You're welcome Marty, it's been fun to be part of a community striving to complete the same challenge and there are so many fabulous stories and ideas!

Photo of Orel Protopopescu

Loved what you were able to do in such a charming, succinct way, Marty. Especially enjoyed the "upside down" line and the wearing of a book as a hat. The pied piper idea is lovely and I hope it brings more children to the library. Just pairing the words "book" and "baby" should help. It's time to give the worms a rest. Books are for babies!

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

New role for the Pied Piper.
Cute story.
Good luck to us all.

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Thanks so much, Dawn!

Photo of Estela Kennen

Very cute. "Raleigh" might be difficult for non-native speakers or lower literate individuals to read; maybe an easier name? Also, please note that most board books do not follow the 32-page structure that picture books do (but that's an easy fix). Good luck!

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Yes, those 32 page board books out there were picture books to begin with. I would be very fortunate if this project required tweaking to make it paginated as fewer spreads to suit the format infant and toddler books follow! Thanks for the Raleigh pointer. I had Raoul to begin with. I wonder if that would present the same problem of decoding. I'm working for the rest of the day so I might not get the chance to make more changes before 5:00 deadline.

Photo of Peggy Sissel, Ed.D.

Love the cadence in this story. Not sure I get the idea of who a "book baby" is.

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Hi Peggy! Thanks for your feedback. I guess I was hoping that a Book Baby would come across as a book lover that spreads her love of books around Philadelphia. I was shooting for a legendary Johnny Appleseed type who goes about town with an irresistibly engaging manner causing all babies to follow her straight to the library's toddler story time. It is clear as mud apparently! Thanks for sharing your confusion. It's not good if it is only clear to me!