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Missing: One (1) Sleepy Sock

A little girl's night time routine is interrupted by a missing pajama sock.

Photo of nichole smith
5 2

Written by


It’s time for bed.
Pajamas on.
But what is this?
My sleepy sock is gone?
A little Afro-Latina girl in a pajama onesie wearing one colorful  sock. The other foot is bare.  The little girl is shocked to find her sleepy sock missing.

Where can it be?
I must go see.
Little girl is in profile walking to find her sock. Over her shoulder, the reader sees a peek of color that doesn’t match her pajama onesie but the reader can’t quite tell what it is.

“To bed,” mama says.
“Can’t stay awake so long.”
Little girl looking up at her mom who is in hospital scrubs with equally colorful socks visible in her clog shoes.

“I can’t, mama dear.
My sleepy sock is gone.
Where can it be?
I must go see.”
Little girl walking away from mom, searching for her sock. Mom and the reader discover that peek of color is really the missing sock stuck from static cling to the upper back of the little girl’s onesie. Mom is laughing quietly to herself.

“To bed,” grandpa says.
“I’ll sing your goodnight song.”
Little girl looking at her grandpa, who is seated in a big comfy chair looking at some records. An album cover is in Spanish. He is also wearing colorful socks visible inside his slippers.

“But look, abuelito.
My sleepy sock is gone.”
Where can it be?
I must go see.”
Little girl points to her bare foot while walking past grandpa on her search. Grandpa and reader see the missing sock, which has moved down to the lower back of the girl’s PJs. Grandpa slaps his leg laughing but the little girl doesn’t see.

“To bed,” brother says.
“You cannot hide your yawn.”
Little girl yawning in front of her older brother, who is sporting some stellar colorful socks himself.

“Keep a look out, please.
My sleepy sock is gone.”
Where can it be?
I must go see.”
Little girl walking past big brother. Brother and reader see the missing sock is now clinging to the upper thigh of the back of the girl’s PJs. Brother is rolling his eyes but grinning despite himself.

“To bed,” sister says.
“And I will come along.”
Little girl looking down at her little sister, who is rubbing her eyes ready to go to sleep.

“No time, sister mine. My sleepy sock is gone.”
Where can it be?
I must go see.”
The little girl has walked away but we see little sister is now in the arms of dad who is pointing out the missing sock to little sister. The missing sock is now barely hanging on the back of the bottom leg of the little girl’s PJs. Little sister is now fully awake with both hands clamped on her mouth to keep her from laughing out loud and spoiling the fun.

“To bed,” Tia says, “when I wave my  magic wand.
Auntie seated at the kitchen table studying. She pretends to wave a pencil like a wand, pointing it at the little girl’s bare foot but the sock has now fallen to the ground beside the little girl’s foot.

“My sock! I found it!”
Following the trajectory of the wand pointing at her bare foot, the little girl is looking down and sees the missing sleepy sock.

I put my sleepy sock on.
Happy and amazed, the little girl puts the missing sleepy sock on, while the family watches.  They all share secret laugh. The little girl is happily oblivious.

No Dialogue
Last page: the little girl in bed sleeping with her little sister. The little girl has kicked off the blankets so you can see her feet. One sock is on. The other sock is precariously hanging off her foot .

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

My vision is a fun story with lots of visual discussion points (e.g., various family members, different household items, etc.) to promote responsive interactions between the reader and 0-3 year old, as well as entertain both with the anticipation of the ever-descending missing sleepy sock!

Share your suggested book title

Sleepy Sock

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).

Please see full manuscript in the "share draft" manuscript box above. Thanks!

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

This manuscript provides caregivers with ways to support language development with infants and toddlers by telling a story through a familiar motif - a getting-ready-for-bed routine. So, both the child and caregiver can relate to the story as this is something they do themselves each night. Through repetition in story, the caregiver is able to reinforce vocabulary with the child. In addition, there will be lots of people and household items displayed in the illustrations for the caregiver to introduce additional vocabulary (types of family members, household furniture, different clothing, varied ages of the story participants, colors in the house and in the socks, etc.). Last but not least, there is the ongoing adventure of the missing sock where the caregiver can ask the child where the sock has traveled in each turn of the page, and which characters have noticed the sock and more importantly, which have not. :)

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

I have only been to Philadelphia twice. However, as an African-American born and raised in Oakland, California, and now living in Los Angeles via Chicago, I am very familiar with the urban life experience of people of color, even if it is not Philadelphia specific.

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

When I wrote this story, I was very interested in reflecting a multi-generational family of color that may live in a very simple dwelling but the bond of love, support and humor was fully evident.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City

Los Angeles

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a retired business woman who has always had a great love of story. I really wanted to write a story that reflected the magic that can happen in the every day. I thought the missing sock was such a cute and gentle idea that it would make any little child giggle along with the rest of the little girl's family in the book. And I hope the reader/caregiver will laugh too because, honestly, who hasn't lost a sock at some point in their lives. Having reviewed the resource list that IDEO provided, I loved how much developmental learning could also be layered into my story and I thought of different ways to do that while leaving some story threads open-ended so that the caregiver could have some opportunities to ask the child questions about what was happening and what the child was seeing and hearing. I learned a lot in this challenge and am grateful to be able to participate with my story.

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

The mood I am interested in for this book is a multi-cultural, multi-generational family. I thought given the diaspora of Afro-Latinos in Philadelphia, this slice-of-life story would be a great way to celebrate that.

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 Shondra M. Quarles

I really like this story! Great Job :)

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