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The Gadget by Krystin Dean and Bill Valladares

Little Paige Turner is all alone in a city full of people and needs what everybody else has to be happy—or does she?

Photo of Bill Valladares
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Little Paige Turner had a lot to say but didn’t say a lot.

That’s because nobody talked to each other. All their words went into their gadgets.

Nobody listened to each other, either, because something was stuck in their ears.
[Show people on phones and tablets with earbuds, headphones, and bluetooth—faces glowing blue from the screens, oblivious to each other—zombie-like. Funny words jumping off the screens—Pshhh! Boo-woop! Wa-pop!]

TAP TAP TAP

SWISH SWISH SWISH

“Hi!”

“What are you looking at?”

“Can I play?”

“HEY!”

“Am I invisible?”
[She makes a face at a pigeon and scares it away—a close-up shot.]

“No, I’m definitely here.”
[Paige walks away, head down, with her dad. We can see only his legs and hands holding a device.]

One more thing about Paige Turner: lights fascinated her…
[Series of visuals: Paige watching from a distance the flickering lights in the Center City skyline. Looking up at the twinkling light bulb canopies over a street festival.]

...especially glowing gadgets.

Whenever she got close to the glow, Paige felt like a moth drawn to a porch light.

Because people flicked her away like a bug.

One day, Paige spotted a thin, flat rectangle poking out of a recycling bin by the curb.

“Is that what I think it is? A gadget to play with like everybody else?”
[Paige plucks the gadget out of the trash and runs up the stairs to her building past her dad, who’s on his device.]

[Once inside her apartment she examines the gadget.]

Strange. There was a picture, but no glow.

She tried to wake it up.

tap tap tap
swish swish swish

TAP TAP TAP
SWISH SWISH SWISH

RUB RUB RUB
SLAP SLAP SLAP

Maybe the light was broken.

[Series of illustration showing her trying out different “lights.”]

[Ties a strand of Christmas lights around it.]
No.

[Puts it under the light inside her lizard aquarium. The pet looks nonplussed.]
No.

[Puts her light-up pink wire cat ears headband on the book.]
No.

[Scotch tapes a firefly to the cover; firefly looks annoyed sitting on a loop of tape, legs and arms crossed.]
Definitely not.

“Maybe I need to talk to it.”
[She picks up the book.]

“Hello. Hello! HELLO!”
[She’s angry.]

The gadget slipped through her fingers.

THUD!
[Show book faced down lying open.]

[Paige from behind bending over book, distraught, hands are on her head. She speaks in a whisper.]
“I cracked it.”

[Series of visuals: Paige sobs as dad’s hand reaches for the book and takes her hand. Dad wipes her tears. He sits her down on his lap. They open the book together.]

Paige discovered that this gadget only worked when it was open. And the sound—the sweetest sound she ever heard—came from her dad.

“Once upon a time…”

And so, little Paige Turner finally got her glow—and a friend.
[Homemade sheet tent with dad’s feet sticking out. Silhouette of Paige hanging on her dad’s shoulders, holding a flashlight as he reads from an open book. Outside the tent, a pile of books, her dad's tablet, and the firefly hovering.]

Share your suggested book title

The Gadget

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).

Little Paige Turner had a lot to say but didn’t say a lot. That’s because nobody talked to each other. All their words went into their gadgets. Nobody listened to each other, either, because something was stuck in their ears. Pshhh! Boo-woop! Wa-pop! TAP TAP TAP SWISH SWISH SWISH “Hi!” “What are you looking at?” “Can I play?” “HEY!” “Am I invisible?” “No, I’m definitely here.” One more thing about Paige Turner: lights fascinated her… ...especially glowing gadgets. Whenever she got close to the glow, Paige felt like a moth drawn to a porch light. Because people flicked her away like a bug. One day, Paige spotted a thin, flat rectangle poking out of a recycling bin by the curb. “Is that what I think it is? A gadget to play with like everybody else?” Strange. There was a picture, but no glow. She tried to wake it up. tap tap tap swish swish swish TAP TAP TAP SWISH SWISH SWISH RUB RUB RUB SLAP SLAP SLAP Maybe the light was broken. No. No. No. Definitely not. “Maybe I need to talk to it.” “Hello. Hello! HELLO!” The gadget slipped through her fingers. THUD! “I cracked it.” Paige discovered that this gadget only worked when it was open. And the sound—the sweetest sound she ever heard—came from her dad. “Once upon a time…” And so, little Paige Turner finally got her glow—and a friend.

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

Quantity and quality of language are as critical to brain development as healthy food is to physical growth. (http://getgeorgiareading.org/four-pillar-framework/language-nutrition/) Conversational duets—repeated serve and return interactions between caregivers and young children—are the most critical component of the language environment. Toddlers who engage in more conversational duets with their caretakers fare better in language measures down the road, regardless of their families’ income level. (http://www.talkwithmebaby.org/why_it_matters) “Once upon a time” may be better read on paper than on a screen, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Toddlers interact more with their parents when they read print books compared to electronic versions. “Parents know their children well and have to make it come alive for their child to create that magic,” said Dr. Munzer. (https://abcnews.go.com/Health/toddlers-engage-print-books-tablets/story?id=61935415)

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

Grew up in New Jersey and spent time in Philadelphia on several class trips. Also spent time visiting Philadelphia after graduating from college on business and to attend conferences.

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

We place the action of this story in one of the diverse, low-income neighborhoods across the Schuylkill River, where the Center City skyline and opportunities are so close, but often out of reach. The close-knit communities where neighbors rich in diversity often lean on each other, have the ability to become productive citizens—helping each other reach their potential by empowering their children and strengthening families.

Location: Country

Atlanta, GA, USA

Location: State or Department

Georgia

Location: City

Atlanta

Tell us more about you / your team

Krystin Dean and Bill Valladares lead communications for Georgia Family Connection Partnership, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that brings together more than 3,000 partners in all of Georgia’s 159 counties working toward better outcomes for children, families, and communities. Our work also is focused on the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, which aims to ensure that all children in Georgia become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

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

Oliver Jeffers' style of humor and heart are what make for those priceless moments between the adult and child reading together.

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)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • communications team for the Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Levle Reading

6 comments

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Comment
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

A talking book from Dad .
Cute story.
Good luck to us all.

Photo of Bill Valladares
Team

Thank you so much. Best of luck to you.

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