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One-Sided Story Challenge

Readers are invited to rescue a lonely, one-sided story.

Photo of Kai Issa
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Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

The One-Sided Story invites young readers to bring their own imaginations, languages and cultural backgrounds to the telling of a story. It unfolds in the urban setting of a large apartment building. In a fun, interactive way, the story aims to introduce children to a few important elements of story and build an appreciation of themselves as storytellers.

Share your suggested book title

One-Sided Story Challenge

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).

This is a one-sided story. Here it stands on the tippy-top floor above floor after floor of interesting, many-sided stories-- humming the same tired song, stuck in a rut, staring at one teeny-tiny slice of the great big, beautiful city below. Most days it stands by itself-- Neighbors hardly come to visit. The one-sided story is a lonely story. Can you help? A new song always helps. Bring in some noise! Give it your best Lah-Dee-Dah! Sing your favorite song. Can you sing in another language? Let's hear some instruments! Look! The one-sided story is humming along, but there's something missing. With its plain, one-line style, the one-sided story doesn't look very interesting. This story needs style! Pizzaz! Color and flavor will make this story POP! Shout out your favorite wild colors! Splash on more, ceiling to floor! Pour on some flavor! Spicy hot, crunchy sweet. Shout out some tasty snacks! Favorite dishes from home! Yum! Look at the one-sided story now. Cooking and good looking. Ready to shake, rattle and roll. Wait! It can't move, not one tiny muscle. The story is stuck in a rut. Time to bust out your best dance moves. Shake, shake, shake it! Bip, bam, bop it. Sugar snap, clap it! Break it down! You go! Amazing! You have turned this one-sided story into one party animal dance machine! Now our story is ready to take this city by storm, but where to? It knew only one teeny-tiny slice of our great big beautiful city. Bring in some sounds of your city. More! Shout out your block. Name some streets! Parks! Fun places! What do you take to get. Yay! That was fun! Our one-sided story has painted this town and is back home. As you can see, it’s no longer one-sided at all. It is an interesting story with plenty of sides, room to spare, and it has you, you, you written all over it. What's that? Neighbors at the door! Our story is not lonely anymore!

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

This is an interactive story that encourages fun wordplay between adults and children. The language in the book is accessible to caregivers at many reading levels. It encourages children to participate and adults to join in the fun. It also includes repetitive words and concepts. Teachers could easily read the book to their classes because many children can participate and add their own "sides" to the story.

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

The story unfolds in the urban setting of a city apartment building. It invites young readers to bring elements of their own lives-- food, music, dance, sights and sounds of their city-- into the making of a story.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a published children's book author. My 2008 children's book, Howard Thurman's Great Hope (Lee and Low Books), tells the story of one of the nation's most important civil rights leaders. I'm thrilled and honored that the book is still in print. In fact, it was Hannah Elrich, my editor at Lee and Low, who suggested that I participate in the IDEO Early Childhood Book Challenge. I enjoy travelling around the country sharing Howard Thurman's legacy of peace and hope to children. I have an appreciation for Children's literature as an incredibly challenging genre. It is the hardest genre in my opinion because it demands that the writer deliver all the complex elements of a powerful story in as few words as possible.

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

From my previous experience, I learned to appreciate the importance of the illustrator's distinctive vision and interpretation of the story. Personally, I love the realism and texture of collage, but I'm open!

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Howard Thurman's Great Hope, Lee and Low Books, 2008.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Direct email invitation

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

This gives the reader opportunities to get the kids involved in the story.
They may even make up a story.