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My City

A non gender specific story about a child learning about the city they live in with the addition of a playful, educational shopping list.

Photo of Graham Walker

Written by

Look where I live.

It is a big city.

I am learning its name.

It starts with a P.

Mom writes a shopping list.







Grandma is taking me to the supermarket.

It’s cold outside. “Put your coat and gloves on please,” she says.

“And don’t forget my medicine,” says Grandpa.

We walk down the sunny street.

Our breath hangs in the cold air.

In the supermarket, we find everything and pay.

A kind man gives Grandma the shopping.

“Now, can you show me how to cross the street safely?” Grandma asks me.

“Ok,” I say, and press the button to make the cars stop.

We wait for the green man and walk across the street together.

A lady changing a tire waves to me.

In the drugstore we get Grandpa’s medicine.

Going home we see big painted pictures on walls, called murals.

People are speaking and listening to poetry there.

We listen and people know Grandma.

“Tell them your poem Grandma.” I say.

Grandma reads her poem about the Liberty Bell.

The crowd listens and cheers.

I feel proud of Grandma as we near home.

Mom waves at us.

“Did you spot Mom’s ‘city’ clue in the shopping items?” Grandpa asks.

“What clue?” I ask.

Mom lays out the shopping on the table.

Papaya, Hot-dogs, Ice-cream, Lemons, Lentils, Yams.

“Can you sound the first letter of each one?” She asks.

I sound:    P.      H.      I.      L.      L.      Y.      

“Hey, that’s my city!” I laugh.

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

The intended vision is for the child and the carer to bond while reading the story and to feel proud of the city they live in and for them to have a sense of shared history there. Also to take away a sense of fun from word play and surprise and delight in hidden messages.

Share your suggested book title

My City

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

I didn't have any familiarity with Philadelphia prior to researching for this book. I learnt a lot about its history and changing demographic and now feel compelled to visit. So, that's a positive at least.

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

I hope to bring to the child's attention some simple actions and experiences of city life and an awareness of not only black African culture but shared American culture and 'Philly' history. I want the carer to feel proud of their place in the city too. It's a challenge to get this into 250 words and tell a simple story and I also want the carer and child to feel closer having read the book, as the child in the book is very proud of their carer. I wanted it to be educational too in a playful way by devising a shopping list that helped the child learn the name of his/her city.

Location: Country

United Kingdom

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

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

Illustrations should be bold and loose in style. The gender of the child is not defined so that boys or girls can identify with him/her.

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

Attachments (1)

my city.pdf

A rough idea for layout of the story with some guidance for supporting illustrations. Viewed as page spreads.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Robin Wechsler

HI Graham, I like your sweet story. What if the narrator comes up with a short poem too that you include (can even be one line)? About the Liberty Bell or some other Philadelphia landmark.

Photo of Graham Walker

Hi Robin, thanks for the comment. That would be a nice touch yes. As the narrator is the child, it could be the one liner you suggest. I am up to the limit with word count currently, but if there scope to increase this, I will add. Thanks again �� G

Photo of Robin Wechsler

You're welcome and good luck!

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