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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.

Hot-dogs

Papaya

Yams

Lemons

Ice-cream

Lentils

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

London

Location: City

London

Website URL (optional question)

https://www.behance.net/GrahamWalker

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.

20 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Sabina Kariat
Team

The ending is so cute and unexpected!
Maybe some words could be simplified a little? Ie. Supermarket could be shop? Maybe medicine is a bit complex?
I would love to hear Grandma's poem about Liberty bell-that part was very intriguing and specific. Maybe a few lines of the poem could be revealed, and reoccur through the story?

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

Thanks Sabina, some great advice there.

Photo of Niha Rika
Team

I really like how you've included the interaction of multi-generations in the story...and how it connects to Philly by the end! wonderful!

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

Thank you Niha for your kind feedback, it's very appreciated. I think the right illustrations will really help too. �� G

Photo of Robin Wechsler
Team

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
Team

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
Team

You're welcome and good luck!

Photo of Roseanne Frank
Team

Hi Graham, this is an adorable idea, working in the food items to the name of the city. Good interaction. Can you think of other ways for the reader and listener to interact more throughout the story? Maybe more questions and dialogue. Perhaps more dialogue with the community members. Try some serve and return which would work with the food. Something like, "Do we have the papaya?" "Here's the papaya, Grandma!" Something like that. Or maybe have the text ask the reader, did they find the papaya, etc? Interaction is a big component of the evaluation.I hope that helps.

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

Hi Roseanne
Great advice thanks. I understand what you mean and will see if I can weave something in, but within the 250 word limit :)

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

Hi Roseanne, I have edited the story and added some more questions and dialogue. I think it has improved the story and welcome your views. G

Photo of Roseanne Frank
Team

Hi Graham - i see you added more dialogue and it works. I'm not sure you need the Grandpa character but you may have something in mind I'm not aware of. If you do, you can add an art note. Good luck!

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

I agree, he is slightly superfluous, asks child about the clue at the end though. Originally, I had the idea that they left the medicine at the poetry reading location, child realises, remembers where it is and saves the day. A bit of suspense basically. Problem is I need a slightly higher word count.

Photo of Roseanne Frank
Team

I wouldn't worry about the word count. Less is better anyway because this is for 0-3. And the 250 word count is a top word count. So no need to feel pressured to build up your story to reach 250. Mine is only 134 words!

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

�� My problem is keeping within 250 words!

Photo of Roseanne Frank
Team

AH sorry - misread that!

Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi @Graham Walker Welcome to the Challenge Community !
Very pleasant and happy story about the city and the child's way of learning about it one step at a time.
How might you evolve your manuscript to introduce new nudges of engagement and interaction for caregivers, to help them with their child’s learning development as they narrate the story? You can find some inspiration in the Final Toolkit and Challenge Resources listed on the challenge Page.

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

Well crafted story line. The unraveling plot which peaks not until the items on the shopping list are at home. Hmm, amazing.

Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Interesting.
Did you consider writing the shopping list in the order that would list
P
H
I
L
L
Y

Photo of Graham Walker
Team

Hello, yes I did. However I chose to reveal at the end to maintain a surprise element. The child's mom arranges the items in the correct order at the end, having planned the whole thing to help her child learn the short name of their city. Thanks for your comment

Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Great.
It worked. I didn't spot it till the end. I did a double take then had to go back to read the piece again.

Nicely hidden.
Nicely done.