OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Growing Together

The story compares how parents and caregivers can support a child's development to how to grow plants through a trip to a community garden.

Photo of Stephanie null
3 2

Written by

PAGE 1-2: Jasmine, grab your rain boots. I’ll help you put them on so we are ready to catch the bus to go to the community garden.

[Suggested illustration: Female toddler hands mom her rain boots]

PAGE 3-4: See the sun shining? Just like my hugs, kisses and smiles give you warmth to help you grow, plants need sun for warmth to help them grow.

[Suggested illustration: Mom holding hand of daughter while walking on city sidewalk and pointing up to the sun]

PAGE 4-5: See those clouds bringing rain? Just like my songs, words and storytelling shower you with knowledge to help you grow, the rain showers plants with water to help them grow.

[Suggested illustration: Mom and daughter sitting next to each other on city bus. Mom is pointing out the raindrop splattered window at the clouds.]

PAGE 5-6: See the dirt providing nutrients? Just like me helping you to feed yourself healthy foods like fruits and vegetables to give you the power to grow, plants need dirt to give them the power to grow.

[Suggested illustration: Mom and daughter walk off bus at community garden. Mom points to dirt in the garden.]

PAGE 7-8: See this seed? It seems impossible now but if we put it in the soil and do what we can to make sure it gets the water and sunlight it needs then it will grow into a fruitful tomato plant.

[Suggested illustration: Mom and daughter squatting in the community garden. Mom has shovel in one hand and holds up a seed in her other hand to show the child.]

PAGE 8-9: Every day I will care for you just like we will care for the plants we planted today at the community garden. We will do our best to make sure the plants have the sunlight, water and dirt they need to grow, just like I will do my best to love you, talk to you, feed you and support you so you grow into the most fruitful you possible!

[Suggested illustration: Mom and daughter back at home with daughter in mom’s lap while they read stories before bed.]

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

I hope this book will engage parents and young learners through embedded examples of how a parent can talk, point and teach their children during everyday activities, like commuting and gardening. By using the comparison of growing a plant to a child's development, the story tries to provide specific examples of ways to support healthy child development and shows how easy it is for every parent to help their child learn and grow no matter their own personal experiences and background.

Share your suggested book title

Growing Together

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

Having read and written a lot about early childhood development research, I have benefited from the FrameWorks Institute training on explaining early childhood development to broad audiences. They suggest using explanatory metaphors to make concepts more relatable and easier to understand, so that is why I used the metaphor of gardening to help explain easy ways parents can promote early childhood development. I focused on demonstrating simple ways of promoting early learning in the story by having the parent in the story give directions, point, explain, and show love to the child. Most of my knowledge comes from the Harvard Institute of Child Development, the Clinton Foundation and Children's Defense Fund. I used simple and repetitive words and phrases to meet the needs of young listeners ages 0-3 and make it easier to read for parents/caregivers of all reading levels. I hope illustrations will emphasize the actions parents can take to engage their child during everyday interactions.

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

Not being from Philadelphia, I did some research about the population and diversity of Philadelphia and also read about how community gardens are common in the city.

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

I attempted to craft it to resonate and reflect experiences of those living in urban contexts and envision the pictures would amplify that connection. This is reflected in the story included travel on a city bus and going to the community garden, which are more prominent in urban areas.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I am a mom of two young children and work in nonprofit child advocacy where I leverage research and community organizing to advance policies and programs that support children and families. I know first-hand the benefits of parents engaging with their children to help them learn, grow and explore and I have dedicated my career to making sure children and families feel supported and have what they need to thrive. Since I was little I have been a storyteller and much of my freetime is spent reading to myself and my children.

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)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Null this is indeed a very thoughtful story, especially those areas where the demostration of planting and other gardening concepts are included in the script, however, maybe if you had included direct dialogue in there, it would be a much better script. Also the caregiver will not have to think of what to show the child. Some people have no knowledge of planting.

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

Good luck to us all.

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Stephanie null 

A final reminder the Challenge closes today at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (that's in a few hours!) Currently, your submission is in draft mode and thus, not officially submitted to the Challenge.

To ensure your manuscript is included, you can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post.