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

Little Sister E, Big Brother G, and the Happiest Day at the Block Party

A toddler, her big brother, mom, and dad head out for a day of food, music, and fun with their neighbors at a block party.

Photo of Ravyn Davis
9 3

Written by

Ravyn Davis

250 words

Little Sister E, Big Brother G, and the Happiest Day at the Block Party

In a small, bright kitchen at the end of the street, little eyes watch their mama as she wraps up a treat:

Square chocolate brownies on a big yellow plate! Today’s a block party, no time to be late.

Little E starts to sing. Big G joins along. They’re off to a block party, and this is their song:

We’re going to a party!

Let’s go to a party!

What is at the party?

Our friends are at the party!

Little E grabs her tambourine. Big G holds her hand. They are marching to the party just like a big band!

I think I hear the party!

Can you hear the party?

There’s music at the party.

Let’s dance at the party!

Daddy brought his djembe, Mr. O, his bongo drum. Their fingers fly while making music, and the whole block seems to hum.

Count the rhythms of the block party.

Feel the beats and move your feet!

We’re all dancing at the block party.

It’s almost time to eat!

There’s a long picnic table holding colorful dishes: dumplings, empanadas, and baklava!  Mama scoops food onto plates. It’s time to eat. Little E and Big G shout, “Hoorah!”

Take a bite and taste new foods.

Share a dish with all your friends.

We’re eating at the block party.

We hope the day will never end!

“Say goodnight to our friends, Little E and Big G! Today, did you have fun? We love our happy neighborhood, and now the party’s done!”

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

I wanted to create a book that adults would want to read to their children repeatedly without feeling like each time they read it was the same. The topic is urban, cheerful, and familiar to adults to grew up in Philadelphia or to newcomers who quickly enjoy the "mini-festival" feel of a Philadelphia block party. Block parties are accessible to a broad range of faiths, races, national-origins, and other aspects of identity. They are inclusive of all families and encourage a sense of community.

Share your suggested book title

Little Sister E, Big Brother G, and the Happiest Day at the Block Party

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).

Little Sister E, Big Brother G, and the Happiest Day at the Block Party In a small, bright kitchen at the end of the street, little eyes watch their mama as she wraps up a treat: Square chocolate brownies on a big yellow plate! Today’s a block party, no time to be late. Little E starts to sing. Big G joins along. They’re off to a block party, and this is their song: We’re going to a party! Let’s go to a party! What is at the party? Our friends are at the party! Little E grabs her tambourine. Big G holds her hand. They are marching to the party just like a big band! I think I hear the party! Can you hear the party? There’s music at the party. Let’s dance at the party! Daddy brought his djembe, Mr. O, his bongo drum. Their fingers fly while making music, and the whole block seems to hum. Count the rhythms of the block party. Feel the beats and move your feet! We’re all dancing at the block party. It’s almost time to eat! There’s a long picnic table holding colorful dishes: dumplings, empanadas, and baklava! Mama scoops food onto plates. It’s time to eat. Little E and Big G shout, “Hoorah!” Take a bite and taste new foods. Share a dish with all your friends. We’re eating at the block party. We hope the day will never end! “Say goodnight to our friends, Little E and Big G! Today, did you have fun? We love our happy neighborhood, and now the party’s done!”

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

The resource lists allowed me to select tier one vocabulary with the exception of cultural names for instruments or food. My children are currently 1 and 3 years old, and the category of 0-3 is expansive in the best of ways. I have sections of repetition for chanting or singing as the adult reader sees fit. The words encourage movement mimetic of the dancing at the party, beating of drums, and marching down the street. Anyone familiar with children knows that they instinctively want to move in the most exuberant of ways, even if it means marching to the kitchen and skipping to the bathtub. A reader will not have to work to find a moment of interaction because the narrative imposes it. I wanted to create real characters, something my children respond to because in their favorite books they see the characters as friends, even when the characters don't have names. A one-year-old, for instance, might request to read "E," one of the title character's names.

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

I have been living in the Philadelphia area for nearly ten years, and I have worked in Center City Philadelphia all of those years as a teacher at a community college.

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

I wanted to capture a familiar sight from the summertime in Philadelphia because I think the city does summertime like no other. I've seen very over-the-top block parties in West Philadelphia with fire trucks and bouncing castles, but I chose a more nostalgic view where neighbors play their own music and games and bring lots of food! I wanted the focus to be on enjoying people and celebrating with simple pleasures which is one of my personal values that I try to communicate to my children in ways both subtle and overt. Block parties just draw people off their porches and encourage them to celebrate living where they live, something I think parents and children would be drawn to as a concept.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

Pennsylvania

Location: City

Phoenixville

Tell us more about you / your team

I am mother to two toddlers who served as my focus group, inspiration, and distraction from the writing of this book. Reading is our favorite activity followed closely by singing. I noticed that my son has responded to rhythms and sounds since birth while my daughter is more kinesthetic. When we read, I try to give her the movements and gestures that she craves and work in cadences and singing for my son. On any given day, we may read the same book six times or more. When I am not overthinking motherhood, I teach college reading and writing to the best students I could imagine at a community college in Center City Philadelphia. In my near decade of teaching students in Philadelphia, I have had the pleasure of meeting many parents of young children who, in my mind, would be a target audience for this book. The profiles described in this challenge resonated with my experiences as an educator, and I would be fortunate and honored to offer families a fun way to enjoy reading.

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

I uploaded a colorful Ellis Wilson painting to depict the mood and image that I envision for my book.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

"The Story Taker" in the anthology Haunted Voices, Haunting Places: An Anthology of Writers of the Old and New South edited by Dr. Constantina Michalos (2008) This short story is published under my former name, Ravyn Wilson-Bernard.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Facebook Advertisement

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ann Kelley
Team

Catchy rhythmic story! Very fun! I also appreciated how you showed diversity through the different foods and instruments and the feeling of being part of a community. Good luck to you!

Photo of Ravyn Davis
Team

I'm glad that you picked up on the multicultural community. Thanks for reading!

View all comments