OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Where to Mama?

A young boy and his mom enjoy a walk to the park with a dialogue of "Where to now?" while enjoying the sights in the neighborhood.

Photo of Laura Hancock

Written by

Jamal, are you ready for our walk to the park?  

I’m ready, Mama.


Where to first, Jamal?

Out the door and 

down the steps.


Where to Mama? 

To the right and up the street.


Look, Jamal, look, what do you see? [Art note: a mural on a wall]

I see purple, blue, pink, brown and green.

Where to Mama?


Around the corner and past the market.

Look, Jamal, look, what do you see?


I see yellow bananas, green apples, 

orange carrots, and red tomatoes.

Where to Mama?


Cross the street and behind the bench. 

Listen, Jamal, listen, what do you hear?


Clackity-Clang, Rumble-Trumble! 

Puh-lump! Dump!

I hear the garbage truck. 

Where to Mama?


Over the hill and under the tree.

Listen, Jamal, listen, what do you hear?


Chirp, cheep, tweet, peep!

Coo, Coo!

BIRDS! Baby birds!

Where to Mama?


Along the path and through the gate.

Look, Jamal, look, what do you see?


I see lots of kids playing JUST LIKE ME!

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

To encourage dialogue with children and caregivers in simple endeavors such as a walk. The text also focuses on prepositional phrases which support early language learning for first and second English learners.

Share your suggested book title

Where to Mama?

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).

Jamal, are you ready for our walk to the park? I’m ready, Mama. Where to first, Jamal? Out the door and down the steps. Where to Mama? To the right and up the street. Look, Jamal, look, what do you see? [Art note: a mural on a wall] I see purple, blue, pink, brown and green. Where to Mama? Around the corner and past the market. Look, Jamal, look, what do you see? I see yellow bananas, green apples, orange carrots, and red tomatoes. Where to Mama? Cross the street and behind the bench. Listen, Jamal, listen, what do you hear? Clackity-Clang, Rumble-Trumble! Puh-lump! Dump! I hear the garbage truck. Where to Mama? Over the hill and under the tree. Listen, Jamal, listen, what do you hear? Chirp, cheep, tweet, peep! Coo, Coo! BIRDS! Baby birds! Where to Mama? Along the path and through the gate. Look, Jamal, look, what do you see? I see lots of kids playing JUST LIKE ME!

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

"Every time a parent speaks to a young child, it sparks something in the child; it’s stimulation to the child. It forms brain connections." (Britto, P.R. UNICEF). This text builds on that concept to build those brain connections with dialogue, prepositional phrases and observing things in a neighborhood. It also encourages caregivers to take children to parks for play and exercise. Additionally, it demonstrates the calmness and by of the caregiver when the child continually asks questions, as it is age-appropriate behavior.

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

Only what I learned in school and recently google to get a feel for Philadelphia. I did live in Pittsburgh as a child.

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

Jamal and his mom go on a walk through their neighborhood, so photos or illustrations would greatly enhance the urban context. The word, market, in the story also indicates an urban setting.

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

FL

Location: City

Orlando

Website URL (optional question)

https://www.literacyjunkie.com/

Tell us more about you / your team

Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor of Education at The University of The Bahamas. Previous to this position, I was a Reading Invention teacher and coordinator in urban and suburban K-12 schools, as well as a 1st, 2nd and 3rd-grade teacher in an urban area in San Diego, California. My husband and I live in Orlando, FL with our Border Collie Jack, our rescued Tabby cat Betty, and Bam Bam, a little Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix.

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)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Literacy curriculum materials

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 a formal part of a University or Research Institution

29 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Great narration and sounds Laura. Reminds me of stroller walks with my kids!

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks Cathy.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Laura, this really captures the way a young child asks questions. It's a lovely idea :o)

Could you say along the street rather than down the street? Down the steps and down the street are different actions and I wonder if it may be better to use two different words?

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks, that's helpful. I'm continually revising so I'll look again.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Have fun revising Laura. Good luck with your submission :o)

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks, you too!

Photo of Hannah Holt
Team

Hi Laura Hancock ,

I enjoyed reading Where to Mama? (Version 2) very much! It's such an engaging story. I love the questions you pose and the opportunity to teach out elements of a neighborhood, colors, and more!
The only suggestion I have might be to introduce a desired destination at the beginning of the story. I like your reveal of the kids playing at the end. However, giving the reader a clue about where the child wants to be at the beginning will help draw the reader through the story by adding just a pinch of tension. The reader will turn the pages wondering: are we there yet?
Something like that could turn this story from a beautiful although somewhat episodic walk into a more plot driven story.
However, it's already really lovely, so if this suggestion doesn't resonate with you...please keep it the way it is. :)

All best,
Hannah

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Hi Hannah,
That is really good feedback and makes more sense for the plot rather than episodic.
I'll keep revising.
Thanks again,
Laura

Photo of Hannah Holt
Team

Glad it was helpful! Best of luck again!

Photo of Shondra M. Quarles
Team

So many prepositions! I love it. We teach our kiddos prepositions. Kudos!!

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks Shondra.

Photo of Bonnie  Averbuch
Team

Hi Laura,
Really cute story. Is the idea that mama is leading Jamal to the playground the whole time? Or are they running errands along the way? If it's to the park the whole time, maybe at the beginning you say something like "Where to mama? You will see" and then you take them along the route and at the end, instead of asking Jamal where he wants to go, mama says something like "We're here, Jamal"...
Otherwise, if they're running errands you could include something about the stops along the way and at the end the mom then gives Jamal a choice of where to go and he chooses the park.

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for the feedback it's much appreciated. I'm continuing to revise the story and like the beginning you mentioned. Yes, the idea that mama is leading Jamal to the playground with talking points about they see and hear along the way.

Thanks again,
Laura

Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Laura Hancock  Welcome to the Challenge Community once again!
Love how your story has questions as a part of the narrative itself as the child and caregivers go around the city.
How might you evolve your manuscript to create some specific nudges of engagement for caregivers, to help them with their child’s learning development as they narrate the story ? You can find some inspiration in the Challenge Resources listed at the end of the Challenge Page to understand more nuances about writing for learning development of 0-3yr olds.

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks Itika, I'll look at those resources and keep drafting the story.

Photo of Estela Kennen
Team

Hi Laura, I had been thinking of doing something with prepositions, too, so I did a bit of research into it and prepositions are tricky for 0 to 3. Like, 2 year olds have a pretty good handle of up and down, but not in the abstract sense of "up the street" and "down the street". More like up the ladder and down the slide kind of thing: up and down are relative vertical spaces. "In" and "on" are another pair they understand well, so you might want to trade that out for some of the more abstract prepositions like past or around or through. Hope that helps!

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Hi Estela,
Thanks, that’s helpful. I’ve been playing around with a few drafts and adding more content into the playground.

Laura

Photo of Perlina Murray
Team

The ending is not captivsting. Add acstory line. Structure it properly. After each where to mama pause and give details that are fun and engaging.

Photo of Perlina Murray
Team

There are puntuation errors from the start. Try to look at itccarefully.

Photo of Virginia Brackett
Team

Laura, what a fun and instructive tale. It makes me want to take a walk myself and pay attention to all of those prepositional phrases that we've simply tucked away over time.

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks, Virginia. I went back to my primary school urban teaching days. I had seven different languages in my classroom, and prepositions were difficult to understand. Do you remember or familiar with the book Rosie's Walk? That was my inspiration.

Photo of Virginia Brackett
Team

I don't recall Rosie's Walk - I'm quite a bit older than you! I must track it down.

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

Good story line. Nice. Don't know what you think of some rhymes and a little rhythm to make it more catchy.

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Thanks Ashanti. Good rhyme does really work this age, therein lies the problem. GOOD! It has to be good. I will take keep working on this and the other one. I have a few drafts but not loving anything yet. Thanks for the feedback.

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

Once you keep at it, the inspiration will come.

Photo of Roseanne Frank
Team

HI Laura - Adorable! And so age appropriate! I just submitted mine within hours of yours that has the same theme, although we have two totally different treatments. Good luck!

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Hi Roseanne, Thanks. I just read yours too, and your right you have more of a day out in the city and mine is a neighborhood walk. Also, you tackled rhyme, which is difficult with short books. Well done!

Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Ahhhh the need to repeat themselves is captured here with >>Where to Mama?<< as if Mama didn't hear the first time!!! LOL!!!

Did you consider Philly landmarks for the walk?
Just a thought.

Photo of Laura Hancock
Team

Hi. I did leave them out as this is a simple neighborhood walk and putting in the landmarks might make it more or a whole day walk. Also, I'm not familiar where all the landmarks are located, even from looking on Google maps. ;-)