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Authors to write and submit a manuscript for an early childhood book that:
The winning author(s) of one Top Manuscript will receive:
This is an open call to new and established authors to write a manuscript for a children’s book that inspires children and their caregivers to read together. Manuscripts should engage children (from birth to age 3) and provide adults with ways to support early language development. In the end, one winning author will be given the opportunity to have their book published and distributed around Philadelphia, and potentially beyond.
In addition to our Evaluation Criteria, we are looking for authors to write and submit a manuscript for an early childhood book that:
If you have questions around the submission process, or the Challenge in general, you can contact email@example.com for more information.
1. Open Submission
Feb 20, 2019
Apr 12, 2019
2. Shortlist Selection
Apr 12, 2019
May 6, 2019
3. Shortlist Refinement
May 6, 2019
May 24, 2019
4. Final Selection
May 24, 2019
Jun 20, 2019
5. Winner Announcement
Jun 20, 2019
Jun 20, 2021
Congratulations to all who submitted a manuscript to the Early Childhood Book Challenge! The submission phase is now closed.
The Open Submission Phase was an opportunity to write and share a vision and manuscript for an early childhood book that inspires children and their caregivers to read together.
All submissions remain publicly viewable, so participants are encouraged to still connect with one another, share feedback, and even form partnerships.
Submissions will remain on the platform, unless they are removed by the submitter.
The submission phase is now closed. Submissions will remain on the platform, unless they are removed by the submitter.
All submissions remain publicly viewable, so participants are encouraged to still connect and share feedback. Sign up to receive email updates.
Started on Feb 20, 2019, and submissions were due April 12, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
A dedicated cohort of early childhood editors and experts is reviewing submissions to check for alignment with the Challenge Evaluation Criteria. We appreciate your patience as we review all submissions.
No further submissions or changes will be possible, though we encourage you to continue to connect with others on the platform.
On May 6, we will contact all those who submitted a manuscript to share whether they are shortlisted. We will not be publicly announcing the shortlist at this time.
All eligible submitted manuscripts are reviewed.
Share your feedback on submitted manuscripts.
On May 6, we will contact all those who submitted a manuscript individually to let them know whether they are chosen for the shortlist.
During the Refinement Phase, up to 10 shortlisted authors will be invited to develop their manuscripts.
Shortlisted authors will be given the opportunity to work with illustrators to create concept sketches for key parts of their manuscripts, and editors to refine their work. See more information about working with Illustrators during this phase below.
Those who are not selected for the shortlist are still welcome to connect with one another on the Challenge platform.
Shortlisted authors receive additional resources to improve their manuscripts, including working with an illustrator and editor.
Refinement materials are due from shortlisted authors by May 24, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PST.
Shortlisted manuscripts are reviewed again by the selection committee to select the Top Manuscript. The selection committee will use the Evaluation Criteria as a guide for selecting a Top Manuscript.
Stay tuned while the selection committee evaluates shortlisted manuscripts.
Final selection begins after shortlist submission deadline on May 24. Top Manuscript and shortlist announced by June 21, 2019.
Check out the Top Manuscript and Shortlist.
Top Manuscript and Shortlist announced on June 20, 2019.
Read The Full Brief
We are calling on storytellers to write manuscripts for a children’s book that engages children (from birth to age 3) and provides adults with ways to support early language development.
From day one, meaningful interactions with adults are fundamental to young children’s development. During a child’s first three years of life, more than a million new neural connections are formed every second – more than at any other period. Reading, talking, singing, and playing are all critical tools to help a child learn and make these invaluable connections.
Early literacy is one of the most important predictors of later success. According to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Yet, every year, more than 80 percent of children in low-income families miss this crucial milestone. The earlier children begin their reading and learning journey, the better they will be prepared for the future.
Interested? Jump in here to get started with your submission today!
The audience for the book includes:
For a more in-depth window into the end-users (in this case, the end-readers), for whom you are creating this manuscript, check out our Challenge Personas.
Through this Challenge, we are seeking to solve for a few key needs:
Caregivers want to help their child learn, but often aren’t aware of the significant impact they can have on their child’s learning.
Caregivers want to help their child learn, but too often, they aren’t aware of:
Caregivers need to be equipped with the tools, resources and confidence to support their child’s development.
What if all parents received the information they needed to support their child’s literacy from day 1 of their child’s life?
The more that children and caregivers love their books, the more likely they are to read together.
Interaction between children and caregivers during reading is where the real magic happens. It’s never too early to start talking, reading, and singing with babies. It can make a big difference in how a child learns and grows. How? Learning language helps babies learn lots of other important skills, like reading, building relationships with others, and mastering other subjects.
What if young children had a book they loved to read over and over again, that demonstrated for their caregivers how to best read and engage with them?
Many children’s books don’t reflect historically underrepresented characters, settings, and narratives.
There is a lack of children’s literature that features narratives like the lived experience of families in urban areas, communities of color, people of color, and low-income communities. Because of this, many families don’t see themselves in the books they read. Parents want books that reflect their families and communities.
With this Challenge, we’re looking for manuscripts that reflect the lived experience of families in urban contexts in the U.S., in cities like Philadelphia.
How might underrepresented communities see their lived experience in the books they read?
We hope that by identifying these problem areas, we can uncover new opportunities to address each, through a new kind of early childhood book.
Winning Submissions Must Adhere to the Following Evaluation Criteria:
Manuscripts must be enjoyable and engaging for children from birth to age 3, while inspiring caregivers and children alike to read it again and again.
Manuscripts must be informed by early childhood research and subtly teach caregivers ways to support early language development with infants and toddlers. Leverage the resources in the "Early Childhood Research" section here.
Expands the Conversation
Manuscripts must be additive to the children’s book space. We're eager to think beyond current narratives with stories that elevate nontraditional spaces, identities, cultural experiences, ethnic perspectives, racial backgrounds, and community experiences
Manuscripts must reflect an urban setting and demonstrate a community-rooted perspective that resonates with residents in urban U.S. cities like Philadelphia.
Manuscripts must use vocabulary and concepts that are supportive of developing early literacy for children from birth to age 3. Manuscripts with majority Tier 1 vocabulary words and select Tier 2 vocabulary words strongly preferred.
Previously Unpublished Work
Manuscripts must be unpublished. Work that has been published in any format, including online or self-published, is not eligible.
Manuscripts must not exceed 250 words
Are you a storyteller? An author? A writer? A visionary? Passionate about trying something new?
We need the expertise, creativity, and perspectives of a wide variety of storytellers who are willing to share their vision for an early childhood book If you have an idea for a children’s book that could help inspire caregivers and children to read together, this Challenge is for you.
We welcome new and established authors to participate, as well as agented and unagented authors. No preference will be given to authors based on publishing status or agent representation. Only previously unpublished work will be accepted for submission.
Submissions are welcome from a single author or a team of authors. Authors can be located anywhere in the world, but the book should be relatable to children and caregivers in U.S. cities.
All participants should be serious about their commitment to turn their manuscript into a book—by going through the editing process with a publisher.
Interested? Begin your submission now!
This Challenge is only requiring manuscripts from authors to be submitted. However, we plan to have illustrators involved during the Refinement phase.
During the Refinement Phase, selected authors will work with an illustrator to create concept sketches for key parts of the book. Authors in the Refinement phase will have a few options for the illustrator with whom they work: they may choose to be paired with an illustrator through OpenIDEO’s network, choose their own illustrator, or even illustrate their book themselves.
For the award-winning Top Manuscript, a final illustrator will be identified in collaboration with OpenIDEO and the publisher. The final selected illustrator will work with the winning author and be given a contract to produce the full illustrations for the book. Like the author, the selected illustrator will be awarded $20,000. The chosen illustrator will be required to agree to all contracting terms from the publisher, OpenIDEO, and William Penn Foundation in order to receive their award.
Interested in being considered as an Illustrator? Sign up here!
Visit the standard OpenIDEO FAQ page for answers to common open innovation Challenge questions.
If you have questions around the submission process or the Challenge in general, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Following the Early Childhood Book Challenge, OpenIDEO and William Penn will announce a Top Manuscript.
The winning author(s) will receive:
In order to claim the awards, the winning author will need to agree to all contracting requirements from the publisher, OpenIDEO, and the William Penn Foundation.
Once selected, the author(s) will be provided the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to be recognized at a winner announcement event alongside the William Penn Foundation. Once all contracts are agreed to, the Winning Author(s) and Illustrator will be granted a contract to move into publishing the book. Once the contract is confirmed, they will be eligible for the winning prize offerings, including the $20,000. The Winning Author and Illustrator will work with a previously chosen publisher (or publisher equivalent) to create the final version for print. The book will be printed in 10,000+ copies and distributed for free in Philadelphia. We’ll share more about the precise opportunity and requirements with the winner once selected.
The manuscript can be produced by a single author or a team of authors. We welcome new and established authors to participate as well as agented and unagented authors. No preference will be given to authors based on publishing status or agent representation. Only previously unpublished work will be accepted for submission.
This prize is funded by the William Penn Foundation. Founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, William Penn Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region.