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There’s only one person, just like me!

A lesson in compassion, Daya sees herself in others through what they share but also recognizes her uniqueness. Both bring her great joy!

Photo of Drew Cohen
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Daya’s on her way to school. As she walks she sings, “Singidy singidy singidy song,” snapping her fingers to the tune. A woman waiting for the bus starts to sing along, “Singidy singidy singidy song.” Daya tells her, “You sing, just like me.”

She passes the bodega and smiles at the man stacking apples. He smiles back and Daya says, “You smile, just like me.” 

Crossing the street a baby in her mother’s arms drops a pacifier, and her brother picks it up. Daya calls out, “You help, just like me.”

Daya climbs the hill to her school, and a buzzing bee lands on her nose. She screams and the bee buzzes away. Daya laughs and says, “You get scared, just like me.”

Arriving at school, Daya sees her friend hugging his dad. “You’re loved, just like me,” Daya says as he approaches. 

Together they push open the big glass door to school, and giggle at their reflections. Daya sees her pumpkin-orange glasses, the bell-shaped birthmark on her cheek, and the daisy dress her grandma made especially for her. “No one looks just like me!” Daya announces proudly.

Daya thinks about the others she saw on her walk, and the things they have in common: singing, smiling, helping, getting scared and being loved. 

She likes not only the things they share, but also the things that make them different! Skipping down the hall she can’t help but twirl and shout, “There’s only one person, just like me!” 

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

My intention was to write a story that demonstrated our connection to others, but also our uniqueness. I was influenced by both a course I took on compassion as an adult and from watching Mr. Rogers as a child. The teaching of shared common humanity resonated with me and inspired me to write a book sharing this message with children.

Share your suggested book title

Just Like Me

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

I reviewed the research and criteria provided for the challenge and incorporated those learnings. Things like repetition, including song, and words that are also sounds.

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

My dad was born and raised in Philadelphia. Although I only visited as a very young child, he helped inform some characteristics of the city which were used for inspiration in my book.

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

I chose the setting of an urban city to highlight sites that are only common in cities. I selected the name Daya, which means compassion in Hindu, to not only represent the message of the book but also immigrant population of cities.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City

San Francisco

Tell us more about you / your team

Last year I took an 8-week course on Compassion Cultivation Training. After completing the course I felt empowered but also disappointed that I had discovered the power of compassion 30 years into my life. I thought about what different choices I would have made at a young age with this knowledge. I contemplated how the world could be a better place if children were taught compassion as commonly as reading and writing. These questions inspired me to do something and culminated in this book. This is my first book and it's been a rewarding journey! I hope my book can teach children to love the differences in others and themselves, and be a small step in making our world a more accepting and loving place. I authored the manuscript and worked with my mother on editing and refining the story. It was special to share this with her and I'm grateful for her support and input.

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)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marty lapointe-malchik

Uplifting message in your submission. I loved what you chose to have Daya notice around her. I love her sense of belonging as well as her sense of individuality. Fun singidy, singidy, singidy song repetition! Good luck moving forward.

Photo of LucyP Liu

Thank you for beautiful thoughts of uniqueness!
We feel we are human beings and look like the same
In fact, each of us has something in common in surface,
but neither of us has the same fingerprints.

Photo of Nancy Colas-Gaillard

Sweet story !! Best wishes !

Photo of Ipek Uzpeder

We are all somehow connected. I liked the way you came up with the story. Good luck!

Photo of Melissa Dodd

Very sweet! Good luck!

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

Good luck to us all.