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We Are What We Eat

This contribution is intended to share the diverse cultures and traditional foods of families who live in urban communities.

Photo of Sandra Jacobo
9 5

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In a great big city, lives a colorless bird. 

Where are her colors?


In the city below, she sees a rainbow of colors.

The bird follows the rainbow.

What will she find?


At home, a Chinese family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the huoguo. (Yum!)


At home, a Mexican family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the tamal. (Yum!)


At home, a Vietnamese family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the phở. (Yum!)


At home, a Dominican family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the mangú. (Yum!)


At home, an Indian family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the biryani. (Yum!)


At home, a Haitian family eats dinner.

"May you share your colors?" asks the bird.

"Come eat with us!" says the family.

So she eats the griot. (Yum!)


The colorless bird is now bright and colorful!


The colors of each culture make her full of happiness.

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

The book is intended to share the diverse cultures and traditional foods of families who live in urban communities through food terminology and vivid imagery that brings the story to life in the reader’s head. The use of colors and onomatopoeic words engages a child’s sense of sound and phonemic awareness as well as enabling parents to promote learning in fun and innovative ways.

Share your suggested book title

We Are What We Eat

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).

In a great big city, lives a colorless bird. Where are her colors? In the city below, she sees a rainbow of colors. The bird follows the rainbow. What will she find? At home, a Chinese family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the huoguo. (Yum!) At home, a Mexican family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the tamal. (Yum!) At home, a Vietnamese family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the phở. (Yum!) At home, a Dominican family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the mangú. (Yum!) At home, an Indian family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the biryani. (Yum!) At home, a Haitian family eats dinner. "May you share your colors?" asks the bird. "Come eat with us!" says the family. So she eats the griot. (Yum!) The colorless bird is now bright and colorful! The colors of each culture make her full of happiness.

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

This book has been analyzed with Lexile levels (200L-300L) and meets the requirements for early childhood development. The book’s literacy framework is evidence-based, supports multi-modal ways of learning, and guides parents in providing early literacy experiences at home. There is a growing body of literature that suggests a child's experience with the world will significantly influence their ability to comprehend what they read. Therefore, the book explores a bit of everyone’s culture and experiences in an urban context so that the child can use their background knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of what is read. We have also leveraged the resources found in IDEO’s Early Childhood Book Challenge Resources.

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

We aren't familiar with Philadelphia other than what we read online or heard from our friends. However, this book is inspired by our own lived experiences of growing up in the urban neighborhoods of Los Angeles and San Francisco where the variety of cultures intermixed and formed a beautifully diverse community.

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

Growing up in an urban city can be tough - especially in a new city far from home. Cooking and eating traditional foods is a wonderful way for foreign-born members of a community to preserve their cultural identity and feel less alone when resettling in a new place. It also brings families from various generations who may not speak the same language, closer together. A belly full of food is always a happy and colorful one. As people continue to learn more about their culture and eat the foods from their country, they become more bountiful in expression, experiences, and perspectives. Diverse people, culture, and food create a beautiful melting pot of colors in a multicultural world.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

California

Location: City

San Francisco

Tell us more about you / your team

Jennifer Pham is a creative writer. She has experience crafting storybooks and videos for children from the ages of 4 to 11 years. Sandra Jacobo is a Ph.D. Student studying early childhood education at UC Berkeley. She is interested in the ways that technology can be used to enhance the learning experiences of dual language learners.

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)

  • social media

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

Attachments (1)

We Are What We Eat - Manuscript.pdf

Attached is the full manuscript, which includes illustration descriptions, text, and context for each page. Additionally, we'd like to include a glossary of food terms that children and caregivers can use the next time they are at a restaurant and want to try new dishes.

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Photo of Shondra M. Quarles
Team

I love the introduction of the different cultures and learning about the multicultural foods they eat. Awesome!

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