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Talk with Me!

Sign language exposure promotes empathy for speech and hearing-challenged children and their caregivers on the part of their community.

Photo of Virginia Brackett
9 3

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Illustrations depict a picnic scene in Rittenhouse Square Park or perhaps West Fairmount Park with its iconic columns and statues in the background; many diverse people are enjoying the park. Some are in groups practicing yoga; other activities match resources in whichever of the many Philadelphia parks an illustrator will help select. The caregiver demonstrates the “signs” that are described to a group of three special needs hearing-challenged children. The signed word is repeated three times. Turn the page for another illustration depicting each child signing the given word with the repetitions.

Words that are signed will be italicized.

Art note: Caregiver stands, facing two special-needs children standing and one in a wheel chair. A picnic basket sits on a blanket. 

At the park, we’re here to eat.

I will sign the name of treats,

and of other words – you’ll see!

Please, please, talk with me!

Circle your hand over your heart.

We begin with please to start.

Art note: depicts each child signing.

Please!

Art note: two children sit beside the wheel chair; individuals in the background observe the picnic group; the caregiver opens the basket and food can be seen inside.

We’ll have a picnic as we meet.

To let me know you want to eat,

All four fingers touch your thumb

And then your lips. That’s eat! You’re done!

See,

You can talk with me!

Add the sign we learned for Please.

 

Art note: depicts each child signing.

Eat!

Please!

Art note: background individuals, including other children with caregivers, move closer to observe; the caregiver has pulled a package of crackers from the basket, and they are sitting on the blanket

We love crackers ‘cause they crunch

Crackers are a must for lunch!

Crackers are on all our lists,

Tap your elbow with your fist.

See,

You can talk with me!

Add the signs for eat and please.

Art note: depicts each child signing.

Crackers!

 Eat!

 Please!

Art note: individuals previously in the background now form a semi-circle around the signing group and are joining in to sign; the caregiver has pulled a wedge of cheese from the basket, and it sits on the blanket

Cheese is next on our menu,

It tastes great with crackers, too.

With crackers cheese is often found.

Palms touch, rub round and round.

 See,

You can talk with me!

Add signs for crackers, eat and please.

Art note: depicts each child signing.

Cheese!

Crackers!

Eat!

Please!

Art note: individuals previously in the background now form a semi-circle around the signing group and are joining in to sign; the caregiver has pulled a bottle of water from the picnic basket along with some cups, which sit on the blanket 

Our friends have joined us! Next, I think,

We all need to take a drink.

Pretend to drink; place thumb on lips,

Fingers up, now drink a sip!

See,

You can talk with me!

Add signs for cheese, crackers, eat,

 and please.

Art note: depicts each child signing.

Drink!

Cheese!

Crackers!

Eat!

Please!

Art note: Stand-alone illustration: all individuals are sitting on blankets eating and drinking from their own baskets with a broad view of the park and groups behind them

Next Page Art note: individuals in the background now form a semi-circle around the signing group and are joining in to sign; the caregiver offers the final sign

Our picnic ended, now let’s say

Thank you to our friends today.

Palm toward you, touch your chin,

Drop your hand, palm up, toward them!

See,

You can talk with me!

Art note: All participants sign thank you to one another, with the new participants blending in with the original three signing children

Thank you! Thank you!

Art note: All participants wave good-bye.

And good-bye!

A paragraph on the next page explains Philadelphia's strong inclusion initiatives in support of special needs children and supplies resource information. Other cities might use Philadelphia's program as a model.

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

Communication is not restricted to speech; sign language opens a door to understanding for speech and hearing-challenged children, their caregivers, other family members and the general public. The manuscript shows that children's curiosity about special needs children is healthy, normal, leads to understanding and, thus, should be satisfied, rather than discouraged.

Share your suggested book title

Talk with Me!

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).

Talk with Me At the park, we’re here to eat. I will sign the name of treats, and of other words – you’ll see! Please, please, talk with me! Circle your hand over your heart. We begin with please to start. Please! We’ll have a picnic as we meet. To let me know you want to eat, All four fingers touch your thumb And then your lips. That’s eat! You’re done! See, You can talk with me! Add the sign we learned for Please. Eat! Please! We love crackers ‘cause they crunch Crackers are a must for lunch! Crackers are on all our lists, Tap your elbow with your fist. See, You can talk with me! Add the signs for eat and please. Crackers! Eat! Please! Cheese is next on our menu, It tastes great with crackers, too. With crackers cheese is often found. Palms touch, rub round and round. See, You can talk with me! Add signs for cheese, crackers, eat and please. Cheese! Crackers! Eat! Please! Our friends have joined us! Next, I think, We all need to take a drink. Pretend to drink; place thumb on lips, Fingers up, now drink a sip! See, You can talk with me! Add signs for drink, cheese, crackers, eat, and please. Drink! Cheese! Crackers! Eat! Please! Our picnic ended, now let’s say Thank you to our friends today. Palm toward you, touch your chin, Drop your hand, palm up, toward them! See, You can talk with me! Thank you! Thank you! And good-bye!

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

This manuscript uses Tier I terms in rhyme, repetition and an ordered sequence dialogue with a caregiver. Characters represent diverse cultures and means of communication, some due to physical challenges. Readers learn words produced as signs. It also exposes those who communicate through speech to signing, satisfying their curiosity and piquing their interest in that form. My experience learning sign language to “talk” with my grandson who has Down syndrome informs my work, as does my author experience. Research holds that visible language is accessible and not inferior to speech in its ability to promote language acquisition and learning among the young. "Children with special needs learn more and develop greater language, social communication, and social interaction skills in inclusive settings"(NPDCI, 2011). See Patty Shukla's upbeat youtube videos for toddlers. Resource:http://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/pluginfile.php/50585/mod_oucontent/oucontent/548/none/none/d25.

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

I visited Philadelphia as a child with my family and am familiar with its more popular landmarks. My residency in Chicago and Kansas City provides empathy and identity with residents in an urban environment, like that of Philadelphia. Philadelphia works toward inclusion and nurture for special needs children, a fact that is essential to this manuscript. Family engagement and collaboration are stressed, as is the critical nature of a welcoming community. A group learning sign language on the spur-of-the-moment illustrates Philadelphia's formal, stated focus on support for special needs individuals at all locations.

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

Urban communities are built on shared values, particularly that of individual dignity. Language and voice afford such dignity. Signing emphasizes the value of self-expression, as well as provides a means for practical exchange between people of all ages and verbal abilities. It offers readers a chance to share knowledge of others and to mitigate against fear or mistrust of those who are "different," and must sign, which urban dwellers may see in many public spaces. A public park represents an urban space commonly shared. Illustrations will reflect a number of activities engaged in by those who use such space. Why not pull those already engaging the space into a new and fun shared activity?

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

Missouri

Location: City

Kansas City

Website URL (optional question)

https://virginiabrackett.com

Tell us more about you / your team

I value creativity and communication in support of children, a value that connects me to the partners and communities the provide focus for this Challenge, as well as to the community of authors and illustrators that hope to meet the Challenge.

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)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

200 articles and stories, including Junior Trails, Single Parent, Today’s Family, and Once Upon a Time 15 books, including Restless Genius: The Story of Virginia Woolf, A Home in the Heart: The Story of Sandra Cisneros – both PSLA and Tri-State Awarded- What Is My Name (picture book), The Contingent Self: One Reading Life – Sunbury Press will publish my memoir in the fall, second place in the winter Owl Canyon Press Hackathon fiction contest

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Author newsletter from Sunbury Press

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

9 comments

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Photo of Perlina Murray
Team

For this story, you should just put illustration in brackets. The words are already saying what is happening.

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