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Seeds of Hope

Two young sisters plant seeds their grandma gave to them, and make wishes.

Photo of Hanna Melnyczuk
2 1

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The little white house stands alone in Strawberry Mansion.

It is surrounded by large, empty lots.

In front of the house, on a tiny bit of bright green grass,

two girls hunch over digging, digging, digging.

Sun warms their backs.

The breeze is soft and sweet.

Hair tickles their faces.

Two sisters planting seeds.

Grandma told them to plant the seeds in Spring time.

Grandma said, "You can make wishes when you plant them."

Digging, digging, digging,

soft moist soil.

The sisters gently place the seeds in the moist dirt.

One by one

They count one, two, three, four, five, six.

Grandma said six is a good number,

Grandma had six children.

The sisters make six wishes

They close their eyes:

They wish for a happy life.

They wish for acceptance, and understanding.

They wish for kindness in the world.

They wish to always see the beauty in the world.

They wish for more love in the world.

The sisters move the soft soil over the seeds,

Pat, pat, pat with small brown hands

They sprinkle water gently to make the seeds grow.

“Grow, grow, grow!” The sisters say.

Their perfect oval heads look up to the sun.

The girls know that wishes are just wishes.

The girls know that they need to work hard like grandma did

To make the wishes come true.

They look up at the sky.

The sun shines down on them.

They kiss the blue, blue sky.

“Thank you grandma, for the seeds of hope.”

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

It is important to have wishes and dreams, and to understand that one must work hard to make them happen.

Share your suggested book title

Seeds of Hope

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).

The little white house stands alone in Strawberry Mansion. It is surrounded by large, empty lots. In front of the house, on a tiny bit of bright green grass, two girls hunch over digging, digging, digging. Sun warms their backs. The breeze is soft and sweet. Hair tickles their faces. Two sisters planting seeds. Grandma told them to plant the seeds in Spring time. Grandma said, "You can make wishes when you plant them." Digging, digging, digging, soft moist soil. The sisters gently place the seeds in the moist dirt. One by one. They count one, two, three, four, five, six. Grandma said six is a good number. Grandma had six children. The sisters make six wishes. They close their eyes: they wish for a happy life. They wish for acceptance, and understanding. They wish for kindness in the world. They wish to always see the beauty in the world. They wish for more love in the world. The sisters move the soft soil over the seeds, pat, pat, pat with small brown hands. They sprinkle water gently to make the seeds grow. "Grow, grow, grow!” the sisters say. Their perfect oval heads look up to the sun. The girls know that wishes are just wishes. The girls know that they need to work hard like grandma did to make the wishes come true. They look up at the sky. The sun shines down on them. They kiss the blue, blue sky. “Thank you grandma, for the seeds of hope.”

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

The story has some repetition. The words are mostly tier 1 words. There are some more complex words. The story creates a quiet mood and is a story of inspiration. There are opportunities for caregivers to ask questions like. "what do you wish for? " There are some universal concepts here and the caregiver can talk to the baby or child about. The caregiver can ask an older child a number of questions. Why do the girls kiss the blue sky? Why does Grandma tell the girls to plant the seeds in the Spring? There is also an opportunity for the caregiver and child to plant seeds together and make wishes. Listening to Pam Leo's podcast, one realises that the reading voice can be very soothing and that an infant will enjoy just listening to your voice. The connection between caregivers and children through reading and cuddling is so much the emphasis in the research. The talk by Alison Gopnik discusses the complexity of a child's brain and how the child's brain is made for learning.

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

I remember as a child going to Philadelphia. I may have been six or seven. I remember years ago seeing the poverty in one of the neighborhoods we drove through before we reached the city center. My family left Ukraine in the 1950's as refugees. My grandfather and uncle lived in Philadelphia for a while. Grandfather had been a high school teacher in Ukraine but in Philadelphia he worked at Wanamaker's Retail store. People did what they needed to do in order to have a better life and they bring their resources and energy to their new country.

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

This story is set in Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in Philadelphia. I looked up the demographics and neighborhoods of Phily. Strawberry Mansion was of course a lovely name so I looked into the history of the neighborhood and read the following article. (http://planphilly.com/articles/2018/03/14/we-want-to-see-growth-too-why-tonetta-graham-isn-t-worried-about-philly-hipsters-moving-into-her-neighborhood) I think this can inspire care givers to view a map and show the children the different neighborhoods of Philadelphia and point out Strawberry Mansion and show the children where the story takes place. Viewing the map can also start a conversation about different parts of the city

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

MASSACHUSETTS

Location: City

Groton

Website URL (optional question)

http://hannamelnyczuk.crevado.com

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a visual artist. I teach Art Integration to young children K-6 in Massachusetts. I also teach older students at University of Massachusetts Lowell. I am currently working on two books for children. This field is somewhat new to me but, to prepare myself for this career, I have been taking online classes, and have arranged to attend the SCIW conference. I plan to both write and illustrate a number of children's book in the years to come. I feel like this is my calling...finding it at this latter part of my life has truly been a gift.

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

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)

  • UMass Boston Professor Askold Melnyczuk sent me the link.

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

2 comments

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Comment
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Yes... It is important to have dreams.
Nicely done.
Good luck to us all.

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