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

Panda Cub Meets Lili: Out of Storyland and into the City (Version 3)

A young girl named Lili (and her family) immigrates to a brand-new city ... and dreams into life a new (fuzzy, black-and-white) friend!

Photo of Linda Yi

Written by

*Note: I've finally cut it down to 250 words (from 378)! Most of the action/dialogue will need to be communicated through word/image interaction 

***

There was once a toy Panda who slept on a shelf… until the night a Star arrived!



"Hi!", says Panda, blinking sleepy eyes. 

"Follow me", says Star, twinkling bright 

 

“To where?”

“To storyland! Come, let’s fly!”

 

So off they flew past blue sparkling seas, 

over purple mountains, a rainbow, and into green leafy trees, 

with branches full of…

 

“Books! Full of stories, old and new!”

“And here, a special one, just for you!” 

 

“Who is that?” Panda points

at the girl on the page, 

“Lili”, replies Star, “Now look - ”

 

“Lili and Mama fly to a faraway place, 

to a brand-new city where Baba waits, 

They ride a big plane over white fluffy clouds, 

Then an orange bus past a cracked Liberty bell,

“Your new school!” Baba says and he points 

to a brick red building with lemon yellow stairs

Lili feels nervous... and a little bit scared.

 

That night Lili draws herself all ready for school

“I wish”, she says “I had a friend who could come too!” 

“…if I did, she’d look something like this:

 black fuzzy ears… and black fuzzy feet

 

 “Hey!" 

(Panda says)

"That’s me!”

 

Panda sees Lili being tucked into bed...

“What now?" Panda asks, "did the story end?”

“Now”, says Star, “you go find your friend!”

 

A door appears in a blink of an eye,

Panda crawls through and to her surprise

there sleeps Lili snuggled up tight!

 

Panda yawns as she snuggles close, 

Tomorrow’s a big day – the first day of school!


*****

Story Vocabulary: 

BASIC COLORS: 

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Purple

Black

White

 

Manuscript is 97% TIER 1 WORDS with the following (8) exceptions:

Panda (character name)

Lili  (character name)

Storyland (fictional place)

Let’s (contraction)

Sparkling

Baba (Chinese word for Papa/Father)

Fuzzy

Tucked


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

This is meant to be an origin story - the first in a universe of Panda Cub and Lili books - a stories of magic, immigration, and exploration. Through the eyes of Lili (a young girl whose family has just immigrated to Philly), and her Panda Cub (a magical inhabitant of story-land), they tackle adventures big and small - from first days of school, to navigating new friendships, to diving into other stories (old and new!).

Share your suggested book title

Panda Cub Meets Lili: Out of Storyland and into the City (working title)

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).

There was once a toy Panda who slept on a shelf… until the night a Star arrived! "Hi!", says Panda, blinking sleepy eyes. "Follow me", says Star, twinkling bright “To where?” “To storyland! Come, let’s fly!” So off they flew past blue sparkling seas, over purple mountains, a rainbow, and into greenleafy trees, with branches full of… “Books! Full of stories, old and new!” “And here, a special one just for you!” “Who is that?” Panda points at the girl on the page, “Lili”, replies Star, “Now look - ” “Lili and Mama fly to a faraway place, to a brand-new city where Baba waits, They ride a big plane over white fluffy clouds, Then an orange bus past a cracked Liberty bell, “Your new school!” Baba says and he points to a brick red building with lemon yellow stairs Lili feels nervous... and a little bit scared. That night Lili draws herself all ready for school “I wish”, she says “I had a friend who could come too!” “…if I did, she’d look something like this: black fuzzy ears… and black fuzzy feet “Hey!" (Panda says) "That’s me!” Panda sees Lili being tucked into bed... “What now?" Panda asks, "did the story end?” “Now”, says Star, “you go find your friend!” A door appears in a blink of an eye, Panda crawls through and to her surprise there sleeps Lili snuggled up tight! Panda yawns as she snuggles close, Tomorrow’s a big day – the first day of school!

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

TIER 1 VOCABUARLY/ACQUISITION: 97% of this manuscript are from the Tier-1 Vocabulary list, and special care has been taken to integrate all the basic colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Black, and White) into the storyline. TALKING/INTERACTING WITH CHILDREN DURING THE READING PROCESS - Dr. Lisa Dwyer underscored during the webinar that "talking as you're reading" to children (i.e. texts that create space for care-givers to engage with their children) is very important. This text creates space for this dialogue, and mirrors it in two ways: 1) the conversations (Q&A) happening between the Star and Panda Cub (images will depict scenes Panda pointing at items on a page, and Star answering questions) and 2) Baba pointing out and and saying "your new school" to Lili, during their city bus ride. CUTE/CUDDLY PROTAGONIST + RHYTHM BASED STORYTELLING - This story plays to the central fantasy of "favorite toy coming to life", and incorporates rhyme and slant rhymes to engage kids!

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

I have a few college friends from Philly, but have never lived there myself. I've done some basic research, and have plotted the path Lili and her family takes from the airport - past the Liberty Bell - and into Fishtown (where Lili's school will be, and where her family now lives)

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

1) children and caregivers will identify with a common situation facing all children approaching age 3: nerves about attending school for the first time 2) Introducing/representing an immigrant story - which are plentiful in an urban contexts. This may reflect the experience of an immigrant child/family themselves, or this may prompt a conversation between (increasingly) verbal child and their caregivers about immigration (why was Lili and Mama apart from Baba? Why is it "Baba" and not Papa/Father? Etc). Representations/affirmation of immigrant experiences helps prevent discrimination against children of immigrants. 3) Illustrations build upon Urban scenes (taking buses, city murals etc).

Location: Country

United States of America

Location: State or Department

North Carolina

Location: City

Durham

Website URL (optional question)

www.pandacubstories.com

Tell us more about you / your team

My name is Linda - I am a Chinese American who grew up in the bible belt of the south, and the Chinese tales of my childhood grounded me to my culture. I believe that good stories ignite a love for learning -- of language and culture. My passions lie in the intersecting spheres of the arts and education - which is what drew me to this call by OpenIdeo/the William Penn Foundation. As an educator and artist, I hope to create engaging and story-based curricula, to help children learn – and learn to love – the language and cultures! My Education/Professional Background: I'm currently the lead Mandarin instructor at Dream Academy Language & Enrichment Program, and a lead teacher at Little Panda Mandarin Preschool. I also have a blog, pandacubstories.com, where I make creates Children's Literature in Mandarin Chinese and English. I hold a BA in Visual Arts from Duke University and a MPhil (Masters) in Education and Children’s Literature from the University of Cambridge.

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

I painted these two concept images of the Panda Cub (the part where she is awakened by the star). At the moment, I'm imagining an Aaron Becker/Journey style... but with brighter colors and incorporating bright scenes from Philly (like the attached Fishtown mural)

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

1) Ebook/Chinese Characters: https://www.pandacubstories.com/new-products/make100-chinese-characters-4-book-bundle 2) YouTube/Chinese Myths: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3YAKMIQN_-Xx8PzKygFaMvsV1X45X-wy

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists
  • I'm also a preschool teacher

11 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Linda Yi  welcome to the Challenge Community!
Lovely fantasy, very engaging and imaginative story and elements all through.
Like you asked, to make the story shorter : you can look at saying only the most critical things about each step of the story in a visually descriptive but articulate way. Right now there are redundancies in the information the story gives about each step.
Also to ensure this book helps with literacy development, how might you evolve the story to introduce elements of vocabulary, numbers, colors and alphabets in the narrative ?

Photo of Linda Yi
Team

Dear Itika Gupta  ,

Thank you so much for the detailed feedback! I'm thinking of perhaps having the speech that is in quotation marks be in speech bubbles, and cutting out the text for "said the panda...", "said the star..." etc. I'll work on trimming down the redundancies as well. Will try and post another draft tomorrow, and think about ways to include vocabulary (one yellow star.. two fuzzy ears... etc).

View all comments