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I am a Star

A book about a star who tries every day to make a better world for themselves and others

Photo of Chelsea Canedy
2 1

Written by

At bedtime I noticed that I am a star

Everyone in my life shines bright from afar

I looked in the mirror and saw in my eye

A twinkling glimmer shining up in the sky

Together we glow bright in the midnight sky

But sometimes our lights dim and we don’t know why

To make our light brighter we hold hands together 

Breathing as one makes the star flash forever

We breathe in and breathe out and count 123 

We try again until we feel more at peace

We tried reading, dancing, and playing outside

Each made the stars glow brighter, smiles big and wide

The stories we read of kids around the world

Each story had stars and together we twirled

Then we move, shook, and shimmied in harmony

The night sky shone brighter with our energy

Jumped outside together and more friends joined in

A family of stars a constellation 

We do our best to help our stars shine come back

And sometimes we can’t put our stars back on track

At first this made us sad and we tried harder 

We shout and yell and it made the dark larger

Then a friendly constellation nearby said 

“Stars need each others joy for joy to be spread”

When we can spend time together and just breathe

Or read, dance, and play holding hands with a squeeze

Sometimes stars get dimmer and that is okay

As long as we all try to shine every day

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

This story teaches all that through mindfulness we can locate ourselves and our communities where they can find boundless hope and support. I hope readers can create a foundation of dreams and resilience in the babies (or any young listeners) they read.

Share your suggested book title

I am a Star

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

This book transforms early childhood language/learning strategies into a relateable narrative for the family. The book solely uses tier one vocabulary which are the base components of the English language. Individuals who learn reading English as a second language or as adults need more direct instruction when reading so illustrations (or other tools ie: light that changes dimness, creative textures etc.) alongside bold text clarifies complex tier one vocabulary. Through clustering, babies will focus on six words (star, sky, read, hands, play, dance) with two words (shine, dim) to change the appearance of star and sky. Older children and new readers can begin recognizing multiple interpretations of the book, critical thinking, and mindfulness. Research shows that early childhood development creates the basis of lifelong creativity, imagination, and innovation. Imaginative story line and empathetic plot twists begin that development. Mindful child-rearing improves child resilience.

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

I grew up in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and visited Philly as a young child. My Black history in Pennsylvania combined with community my family had in Philly shaped the creation of this book.Since Pittsburgh is much more homogeneous than Philly, I intentionally created space for young children to think broadly about the world outside of their specific neighborhood into a broader global community.

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

Cultural Competency Language/Illustrations throughout the book recognizes that sometimes parents don't know how to read English. Many individuals who raise babies in urban settings are not their biological parents. The narrative allows for various family structures. This book uses gender neutral language. The ability for this book to be relevant at different ages decreases the need to invest in many books. Culturally relevant illustrations and characters Mindfulness Guardians with multiple jobs can find value in the narrative Mindfulness techniques can be practiced with baby Readers are taught to take care of self and community Features coping techniques and acceptance of failure

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I spend my time learning from writers of color about "what healing means "for communities with individuals who have experienced parallel traumas. I apply this lens to activism and advocacy in the Boston area and in my experiences with family, friends, and the world. I value collaboration, connection, truth, and hope. I approached this project with the goal to understand the "big picture" for families who may need a book that encourages children to dare greatly. Daily, I work to improve the health and well-being of people from around the world.

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

From Above: The ideal design process combines interactive components that prioritizes early childhood development with co-design alongside Philadelphia residents. Bold text in the draft highlights words that could be emphasized to enhance early childhood association. Collaboration with local community based organizations and/or a local illustrator could ensure culturally relevant and regionally applicable designs are created.

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 creatives, writers, or artists


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Great story line. This wonderful metaphor of a star and how bright the light can shine. The idea of them shining together to bring brighter light is a good way of letting us know we need each other. The variety of brightness shows the different people and character. Wonderful story, but I still believe that you could have included some level of interaction to make it more interactive.

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