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Precious City Child OR Precious Philly Child

An "I love you as much as" book, in a call and response style, using vocal sounds and city-specific imagery.

Photo of Anne-Marie Akin
6 1

Written by


I love you as loud as a siren can wail.

Weeooo Weeooo Weeeeeee

I love you as happy as a puppy dog’s tail.

Wag wag wag wag wag

I love you as free as the cold wind blows.


I love you as warm as the socks for your toes.


I love you as much as the wave loves the shore.


I love you as high as the 63rd floor.

Boop Boop Boop Boop Boop Boop (Image: elevator buttons)

I love you as sweet as the ice cream truck’s song.


I love you longer than the train is long.


I love you sleepy,

and I love you wild

I love you, precious city child.

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

Book design: one page (or double page) with the story text, followed by a page with the sounds, to encourage the adult to really read the vocal sound portion also. Once the child is familiar with the book, they will anticipate the sounds and add them. A lovely ending section could be two or three blank pages where the parent can write/add “how much” they love their child.

Share your suggested book title


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

This book is informed by my twenty years of experience working with children age 0-3, their parents, and caregivers. My goal is that the book will: 1) Be a pleasure to read aloud, and remind the parent/caregiver of their loving and affectionate feelings toward the child. I lead parent workshops on literacy, and an activity they always enjoy the most is one that allows them to express their love for their child in concrete language, so this text grew from that. 2) Encourage playful interaction (vocal sounds, counting ten toes, elevator buttons) 3) Allow for a call and response with children old enough to predict or recall the sound that comes next. 4) Include sounds and imagery that are a part of an urban child's soundscape: elevators, sirens, ice cream trucks. I have considered changing the "train" to "subway." 5) Be strongly rhythmic, so important for soothing a tired or anxious child. (or parent!)

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

I live in Chicago, and so I have familiarity with certain aspects of urban life that are common across cities. I am familiar with Philadelphia only through trying to research it online working on this project.

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

I want the book to reflect the kinds of images and sounds young children in an urban setting are familiar with. I work on the South Side of Chicago, providing literature and music experiences to families who deal with many stressors, including income instability and violence. Many of the parents are not confident in their own abilities to read to their child. I would love to create an entire series of board books that imparted confidence to the grownups reading them that their world, their words, their stories, and their experiences matter. Some of that is in this text. I would love to see the book end with an open-ended blank page section for the parents to add their own words.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I am a musician and writer who works primarily with very young children growing up in low-income families. My goal at this stage in my career is to share with parents and caregivers the power and pleasure of words; to reinvigorate in them a confidence in the power of their own voices. My belief is that the "word gap" can only be addressed if we also support expressive language in the parents of young children in poverty. I refer to myself as a "baby-whisperer" because I have an innate understanding of babies and toddlers. I have twenty years of experience working in Head Start, Early Head Start and early childhood music programs. I was named a 2017-18 Jubilation Foundation Fellow for my life's work with young children. I consult for The Ounce of Prevention Fund Educare Center of Chicago, teach at the Old Town School of Folk Music and, work with teen mothers as a teaching artist with the National Lullaby Project (Weill Music Institute/Carnegie Hall.)

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

I'm still looking for the right images.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

“Winter Always Turns.” Pass it On: The Journal of the Children’s Music Network. Summer 2012. Print and online. “Southlandia.” They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing. Black Lawrence Press, 2018. Print. “The Butterfly Effect.” Mothers Always Write. July 2016. Web. “Faustus on the Delta.” About Place. May 1, 2017. Web. “Maybe, Baby.” The Buddha Next Door. Santa Monica: Middleway Press, 2007.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Email from my MFA program alumni network

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


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Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott

Just had a run through this nice piece again.

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