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Thesaurus Can't Find the Words!

The story shows kids how to articulate deep affection in different ways, and employs hide-and-seek play (hidden "I love you" text)

Photo of Jake Perez
7 2

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This is Thesaurus,

A good, not-scary dinosaur.

He knows many ways to say many words…

But he always likes to start with “Hello!” 

or “Greetings!”

or “Hiya!”

and maybe “How do you do?”

Right now, he's waving a big howdy-do — to you!

Thesaurus knows how to say hello other ways, too - like hola, bonjour, and ni hao - whether he's in the park, sitting pretty

Or exploring the big city.

But today, Thesaurus needs your help.

He's looking for some words he lost.

They're usually on the tip of his tongue.

But they escaped while he flossed!

Have you seen them?

He’s looking for a phrase people (and dinosaurs) use when they care —

When someone misses a friend, because he or she's not there.

Do you know the words?

It's something you show when you do something kind

Like sharing a toy

Or returning something you find

Have you seen the words?

The words are like a hug

Something your mom or dad whispers when you're snuggled like a bug

Have you felt the words?

It's the feeling you get when someone takes the time

To tuck you in — 

Reading this book

From beginning to end.

Have you figured it out?

By now, you should have no doubt.

Cozy up to the special someone beside you

And let them know…


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

The book's main character is Thesaurus, a word-obsessed dinosaur who helps young readers begin to identify and articulate deep, heartfelt emotions. I envision a Thesaurus series that helps readers increase their spoken vocabulary while amplifying their emotional IQs.

Share your suggested book title

Thesaurus Can't Find the Words!

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

Thesaurus was inspired primarily by early literacy articles & videos from Zero to Three ("How to Introduce Toddlers and Babies to Books," "Learning to Read the World," "How to Promote Early Language and Literacy"). I've had the idea for Thesaurus bouncing around in my head for a few months now, and figured the OpenIDEO Challenge would be a good way to get a clean draft finished.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

Hi! I am a veteran TV journalist (CNN writer-producer), published children's book author, and podcast developer. I started writing kids' books after co-founding Wink, a literacy initiative for urban middle schoolers in downtown Atlanta. I was inspired to actually publish the books once I became an uncle (the 1st book is dedicated to my nieces). On a personal note: I'm gay, Latino, and live with mild cerebral palsy. Through my writing, I hope to encourage empathy, emotional intelligence, and a sense of inclusiveness/community.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Sweet Coco: Chocolate Maker's Apprentice Sweet Coco: Dessert With Dad

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ipek Uzpeder

Creative way of saying "I love you". Good luck.

Photo of Jake Perez

Thank you, Ipek :)

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