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Where Are You, Silly Bird?

Through rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, a caregiver interacts with a child while developing language and literacy skills.

Photo of Therese Louie
9 0

Written by

(There are 34 words on each spread. If necessary, two spreads could be cut to make the word count under 250)

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See list of 137 possible words (mostly Tier 1) in attachment for labels to encourage the caregiver to use them to talk about the illustrations

Nouns that could be used in text in one color or font (e.g. black)

Verbs in another color or font (e.g. red)

Counting words in another color or font (e.g. green)

Prepositions in another color or font (e.g. pink)

etc.

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Please note that the nouns that the caregiver uses in place of the rhyming nouns in the text do not have to rhyme and can be in another language. For example, the caregiver could say, "Do I see you on the table/mesa?//Do I see you on the cup/vaso?//Hello table/mesa//Hello cup/vaso."


The caregiver could also use different prepositions, e.g. "Do I see you in/behind/under/above the xxxx?"


The caregiver could use a different language throughout (one page at the beginning of the book could provide translations of the patterned text in different languages), either alone or interspersed with English.

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I would expect the illustrations to enrich the conversations between caregiver and child as the child grows. For example, in addition to where questions, the caregiver could converse with the child about who, what, when, why, and how, eventually applying the same conversational skills to talk about the world around them.

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The back cover or last spread of the book could have 6-10 drawings of the bird character. The birds could have different accessories (glasses, a blue sunhat, a brown baseball cap, etc.). They could be in, on, under, between, etc. familiar objects. They could express different feelings. They could demonstrate different actions (reading, running, jumping, flying). The caregiver could model counting the birds, comparing the birds, etc. ("Look, this one has a blue hat, but this one has a brown hat. They have different hats. This one is in the box, but that one is behind the tree. Let's count the birds together. 1...2...3... This bird is happy, and that bird is happy, too, They both feel happy. Are these two birds the same color? Yes, they are the same color. They are both red.")

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(Setting for spreads 1-3 - street scene outside child’s rowhouse or apartment building)

1

Where are you, silly bird? (one hand with palm up, looking around - same throughout text)

(Can repeat line and gesture above to model for child - same throughout  text)


Do I see you on a cat? (point to object with furrowed brow - same gesture throughout text)

No no (shake head with serious expression - same gesture throughout text)

Not on a cat

 

Do I see you on a hat? (point to object with furrowed brow - same gesture throughout text)

Yes yes (nod head and smile - same gesture throughout text)

On a hat

 

Hello cat (wave - same gesture throughout text)

(Can repeat line and gesture above to model for child - same throughout  text)


Hello hat (wave - same gesture throughout text)

(Can repeat line above to model for child - same throughout  text)


2

Where are you, silly bird?

 

Do I see you on a rock?

No no 

Not on a rock

 

Do I see you on a sock?

Yes yes 

On a sock

 

Hello rock

 

Hello sock

 

Where are you, silly bird?

 

Do I see you on an ant?

No no 

Not on an ant

 

Do I see you on a plant?

Yes yes 

On a plant

 

Hello ant

 

Hello plant 


(Setting for spread 4-6 - various places in the community, such as a store, laundromat, school playground)

4

Where are you, silly bird?

 

Do I see you on a knee?

No no 

Not on a knee

 

Do I see you on a tree?

Yes yes 

On a tree

 

Hello knee

 

Hello tree

 

5

Where are you, silly bird?

 

Do I see you on a plane?

No no 

Not on a plane

 

Do I see you on a train?

Yes yes 

On a train

 

Hello plane

 

Hello train

  

6

Where are you, silly bird?

 

Do I see you on a door?

No no 

Not on a door

 

Do I see you in a store?

Yes yes 

In a store

 

Hello door

 

Hello store


(Setting for spreads 7-9 - inside row house or apartment - living room, bedroom)

7

Where are you, sleepy bird?

 

Do I see you on the chair?

No no 

Not on the chair

 

Do I see you on the bear?

Yes yes 

On the bear

 

Goodnight chair

 

Goodnight bear

 

 

8

Where are you, sleepy bird?

 

Do I see you on the wall?

No no 

Not on the wall

 

Do I see you on the ball?

Yes yes 

On the ball

 

Goodnight wall

 

Goodnight ball

 

9

Shh shh, sleepy bird

 

Do I see you in your nest?

Yes yes

In your nest

 

Goodnight nest 

Time to rest

 

Goodnight bird

 

Goodnight bird



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

I envision this book to initially show a caregiver how he/she can interact with a child while fulfilling daily responsibilities. Eventually the book would be unnecessary, as the caregiver will have internalized the patterned text and could adapt its use to a variety of settings in order to introduce the child to his/her world and initiate conversations, and the caregiver could also follow a similar pattern of interaction solely in his/her first language or interspersed with English.

Share your suggested book title

Where Are You, Silly Bird?

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).

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

Practice through repetition - The caregiver says Line 1 (Where are you, silly bird?) and can repeat Line 1 to model repetition for the child until the child can repeat an approximation of the question independently. The same applies to the "Hello xxxx" lines./// The caregiver can follow the child's lead, e.g. if a child points to a dog, the caregiver can use the word dog (Do I see you on a dog?). This also increases eye contact and facial expressions between them. Articles "Parenting is a Process" and "Social and Emotional Development Research Background"/// Text/illustrations are culturally relevant - Using the English text as a model, the caregiver can use another language instead of English, or use both. Article "Culture Matters - Strategies to Support Your Young Child's Social and Cultural Development," Pew research report/// Great books for babies and toddlers -- fun through rhyme, repetition, conversation, and silliness - ECBC webinar

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

I have visited Philadelphia in the past, but only the touristy highlights. However, I read the Pew research report provided, read a listserv on the city-data site about West Philly, and viewed some of the articles on the website westphillylocal.com to get a sense of the city. I also googled for information, such as finding out about SEPTA, the public transportation authority in Philadelphia.

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

The child is an unseen participant in the story, so he/she could be the ethnicity or gender of the reader. The setting is urban -- a street scene near the home; the surrounding neighborhood; a small rowhouse or apartment. I would expect the characters in the story to reflect different ethnicities, professions, and socioeconomic statuses. The illustrations and objects reflect an urban context, e.g. public transportation, small family-owned businesses, a wide variety of people. My hope is that the child and caregiver will see and feel a sense of familiarity with the book's vibrant urban setting, which would be empowering and engaging for both.

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

Maryland

Location: City

Bethesda

Website URL (optional question)

none right now

Tell us more about you / your team

I have been an ESL teacher in a public elementary school in the DC metro area for over twenty years, and was previously a classroom teacher. I am the daughter of a first-generation immigrant. Before obtaining my M.Ed in elementary education from Teacher's College Columbia University, I worked for a children's book publisher in NYC. My ESL students (K-5th grade) come from different parts of the world -- Mexico, Greece, Zimbabwe, Russia, Taiwan, Venezuela, China, El Salvador, Egypt, etc. Many were born in the US. Their levels of literacy and English vary. I value communication, respect, and empathy when working with students, parents, and staff. Children need to see their lives reflected in the books that they read; my previous picture book was about an Asian American boy with a single mother in a city. If children do not see themselves in the books they read, this can negatively affect their social-emotional development and the way that they view their world.

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

I envision the colors changing in two phases throughout the book to match the change in the bird's description (silly, sleepy), so bright colors for silly, more muted colors for sleepy.

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

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Breathe Thinly, Sleep Light (poem for adults), Asian Pacific American Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, 2003 Raymond's Perfect Present (New Voices Award Honor), Lee and Low Books, 2002

Do you have an agent?

  • No

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

  • mass email from Lee and Low books

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am an ESL teacher in a public elementary school and a writer.

Attachments (1)

list of possible words for labels v2 4.9.19.docx

Here is a list of possible words (mostly Tier 1) for labels to encourage the caregiver to use them to talk about the illustrations Nouns that could be used in text in one color or font (e.g. black) Verbs in another color or font (e.g. red) Counting words in another color or font (e.g. green) Prepositions in another color or font (e.g. pink) etc.

9 comments

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Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Therese Louie  Welcome to the Challenge Community!
Very fun and interactive story of looking around for the bird and finding so many new things to learn on the way.
How might you evolve your manuscript to introduce new nudges of engagement and interaction for caregivers, to help them with their child’s learning development as they narrate the story? You can find some inspiration in the Final Toolkit and Challenge Resources listed on the challenge page

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