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I Am Thankful

I Am Thankful uses simple sentences and alliterative nouns in an interactive exploration of the many reasons toddlers have to be grateful.

Photo of Paul Rondema

Written by

I am thankful for strawberries,

And slides.


I am thankful for babies,

And birds,

And boats,

And books.

What are you thankful for?


I am thankful for food,

And fountains,

And fish,

For blankets,

And bells,

And balls,

For music,

And milk,

And monkeys,

And minty toothpaste.

What are you thankful for?


I am thankful for parks,

And pizza,

And parties,

And pets,

For swings,

And sunshine,

And Sesame Street,

And swimming.

What are you thankful for?


I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for my family.

What are you thankful for?

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

I Am Thankful provides urban toddlers and their caregivers a chance to reflect on their many reasons for gratitude. The book sparks conversation as well as lays a foundation for literacy by using alliteration and repetition of Tier 1 words and simple sentence structures. It is intentionally open ended to provide space for individualization so that the book can be used with children of varying ages and can change with a child as she ages. I also have ideas for extension activities.

Share your suggested book title

I Am Thankful

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

I Am Thankful is rooted in the twin desires of children to both interact and create. While children love to listen to books, there is an inherent desire among all humans to contribute to a conversation. This book lays the foundation for interaction and creation of the book experience. I Am Thankful offers caregivers a chance to introduce the concept of initial sounds and the letters used to represent those sounds. This is especially beneficial for older children who will listen to this book (3 years and up) who are just learning to link letters with their sounds. The questions that are periodically asked of the child allow children to explore vocabulary as they personalize the book to their own lives while also providing caregivers an opportunity to introduce new and varied vocabulary. Finally, I do not have space here to elaborate on the work of Vygotsky (ZPD) or Piaget (how the text bridges the Sensorimotor and Preoperational stages), but will gladly share with more space.

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

I wrote I Am Thankful in an attempt to capture the most memorable and formative experiences of a child. Given the vast range of experiences in a child's life and my desire to keep the text accessible to toddlers, I was forced to pick carefully the experiences represented. I chose items that will be recognizable to all children, but will resonate with toddlers who live in the Philadelphia area. In addition to the opportunities highlighted in the illustration section of this proposal, there are many other chances for illustrations that match the experiences of an urban, multicultural and multi-generational audience, thus giving more chances for readers and listeners to connect with the book.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

Oregon

Location: City

Portland

Website URL (optional question)

https://paulrondemachildrensauthor.wordpress.com

Tell us more about you / your team

Having spent much of my childhood in China (Xinxiang, Henan Province) and Nigeria (Jos, Plateau State), I value stories and books that present a multicultural perspective and foster an inclusive world view. As a writer and as a teacher, I strive to promote hope and a growth mindset in my readers and my students. I currently teach at Reynolds Middle School, a large and diverse middle school outside Portland, Oregon. In addition to teaching, I coach and have helped with the after school program. I live with my wife and daughter. Prior to teaching at Reynolds Middle School I worked at Concordia University-Portland, Self Enhancement Inc. (an organization dedicated to helping urban, under-served youth realize their full potential) and ran the after school program for a local daycare.

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

The images that will accompany the text will be identifiable to all kids regardless of location. Many of the items have been chosen, however, to resonate with children from the Philadelphia area. These include: Strawberries-Linvilla Orchards Strawberry Festival Slides-Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide Boats-Spruce Street Harbor Park Fountains-Dilworth Park Fish-Adventure Aquarium Bells-Liberty Bell Monkeys-Philadelphia Zoo Parks-Franklin Square Sesame Street-Sesame Place

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

The Sea Star War; Writers in the Know, September, 2018 Grandma's Scissors; Better Than Starbucks, July, 2018 Come My Love; Edify Fiction, forthcoming Carolina's Treasure; Dime Show Review; August, 2018; also to be published in a forthcoming issue of Oracle To Catch a Leprechaun; Bangalore Review; October, 2018 A Blessing; Torrid Literary Journal; January, 2019; also to be published in a forthcoming issue of Oracle Lighter Days; Writers in the Know; Spring, 2018 And others.

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

18 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Jennifer Buis
Team

Paul, Nice story! It reminds me of everyone sitting around the table at Thanksgiving! Our family has a tradition to always go around the table and tell what we are thankful for each year! Your manuscript is a perfect book for children, parents, grandparents and caregivers!

Jennifer Buis
Author of Buddy Goes To Clark Park in West Philadelphia
( Based on a true story and told through the eyes of Buddy our rescue dog.)

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate your comment.

Spam
Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

Friend keep etching at it, you have a good setting nice mood. Lovely theme.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Thank you for the affirmation. I appreciate it.

Spam
Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

You are welcome

Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

A great way to improve and revise your work is through connecting with others and receiving feedback. Elsa Brink  is another storyteller who is also exploring noble feelings like kindness and gratitude. I encourage you both to provide a couple of lines of feedback to one another’s manuscript submissions through the comments section to support the refinement of your work!
Happy connecting!

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Thank you for the encouragement to contact Elsa Brink. I will do so.

Spam
Photo of Elsa Brink
Team

Lovely idea, so good to develop appreciation within children from a young age! I'm wondering if one could include something more of the Philly setting, especially that of lower income families? Or just consider how these families would get exposure to things like boats/monkeys/swimming and let the illustrations bring this out.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Thank you for your comment. You bring up a valuable point. My hope is to create a text that is accessible and meaningful for all people regardless of socio-economic status so I am especially grateful for your comment.

Spam
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Since it's to be Philly focused, maybe be thankful for a few City specific things? Not a rewrite but additions.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Excellent point. I haven't yet looked at ways to make this text/illustrations city-specific. I have done so with another story I submitted (I Am Thankful).
If you have any ideas for either book I am very interested in hearing. With the other text I found many ideas. I'm excited to do the same with this text.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Dawnbooks, have you submitted a story to the Early Childhood Book Challenge?

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Silly me. I see two of your texts close to mine.
Best of luck.

Spam
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Hahahaha happens to us all. Feel free to comment on mine. Good luck to you too.

Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Paul Rondema  Welcome to the Challenge Community!
Its amazing to see how you're used your manuscript to inculcate such a powerful emotion of gratitude, while also teaching them names of things they see in their day to day.
Since your final readers will be children and their care-givers from Philadelphia, you may want to find some inspiration in the Challenge Persons listed out at the end of the challenge page.
We're extremely excited to see how your manuscript evolves over the next coming weeks.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

Thank you for the suggestion. I welcome any other ideas you or others might have.
I plan on revising my story and my answers to the questions about it in the coming weeks. Keep your eye out for changes that incorporate your (and others') ideas as well as changes that tailor the text to better match the intended audience.
Thank you again for your kind words and for sharing your suggestion.

Spam
Photo of Paul Rondema
Team

I appreciated your earlier suggestion and have taken it to heart.

I took into consideration the information provided on the Challenge Persons page and have made quite a few changes to both the text and the proposal. If/when you have a chance to review the changes and provide feedback I would be grateful.

Thank you,
Paul

Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hey Paul Rondema  so humbled to hear my comments helped.
I went through the manuscript again, and love how its refining and shaping up with each new edit. It still holds true to its foundation of making the child feel eternal gratitude, while making it relatable. Absolutely love it.