Early Childhood Book Challenge Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most successful and innovative solutions to global problems once started with a group of people sitting in a circle, quickly throwing out ideas. Wondering about ways to brainstorm with your team in a more effective and inclusive way? Read on.

Are all submissions public?

At OpenIDEO, we believe in the power of collaboration and iteration. All submissions will be publicly viewable, so participants are encouraged to connect with one another, and share feedback and resources to support the development of one another’s manuscripts.

How do I submit my manuscript?

We've created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of creating your OpenIDEO profile, and submitting to the Challenge. Check out that resource here.

Can I submit my manuscript through a closed link instead?

For this Challenge, we are exclusively accepting submissions through the OpenIDEO platform. Share your manuscript with us here.

Can I submit a self-published or newly established book?

All manuscripts submitted to the Challenge must be unpublished. Work that has been published in any format, including online or self-published, is not eligible.

Are you looking for only a manuscript or do you need illustrations as well?

This Challenge is only requiring manuscripts from authors to be submitted. However, we encourage all submissions to include imagery to provide an initial “look and feel” that the author might envision for the book. Think of these images as a virtual collage or mood board. This collage could include images or illustrations from other books, new images or illustrations, textures, colors, or styles that might apply to your book.

We plan to have illustrators involved during the Refinement Phase, when 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 Top Manuscript, a final illustrator will be identified in collaboration with OpenIDEO and the publisher.

Where should I upload my manuscript text and where can I add more details about the illustrations?

We accept all components through the Challenge platform. After creating your OpenIDEO Profile, please input your manuscript into the challenge question itself. There is a section of the platform where you can upload images or illustrations. Utilizing the captions feature, you can add more details about each of the illustrations. Additionally, in the "attachments" section of submission, you can attach a document with the illustrations for the readers to refer to. Since the primary criteria of the challenge is the manuscript itself, it's valuable to list out the story in the manuscript section of the challenge questions. It will make it easier for the community to quickly visit your submission, read the story and provide feedback to support the development of your manuscript.

How does the scorecard or collaboration points affect the Challenge?

For this Challenge, the "scores" in your DQ profile do not influence the evaluation process for your manuscript, so no need to worry about the score. While the amount of comments or feedback you provide will not affect whether your manuscript is selected, we do still encourage you to connect with others and share feedback, to support this community of authors.

I’m not in the United States or Philadelphia. Can I still apply?

Authors can be located anywhere in the world, but the book should be relatable to children and caregivers in U.S. cities, like Philadelphia.

How can I increase the potential for my manuscript to align with the focus of the Challenge?

We encourage you to read the Challenge Brief thoroughly, including the Evaluation Criteria, and Challenge Personas ensure your manuscript resonates with U.S. audiences in cities, like Philadelphia.

Additionally, the process of feedback is very important in your process to understand the context and community of readers you are developing this manuscript for. For example, we suggest getting feedback from: other children’s book authors and editors, and children 0-3 and their caregivers, particularly those living in urban U.S. cities like Philadelphia.

I was asked to join a team. What does that mean and what are the responsibilities and obligations?

Some authors may choose to submit as a team instead of an individual author. You will have to decide on the structure of your team and how you will share the responsibilities of creating the content. We also recommend you define what roles you would take on should your manuscript be selected as a winner. Joining a “team” indicates that you are actively contributing to the manuscript.

Have you selected a publisher? Who are they?

We are in the process of selecting our publisher partner and will be sharing that information publicly as soon as we are able. 

For the winning author, what are the conditions of the publishing contract?

Once we select the publisher and author, we will connect them to agree upon a publishing contract together. 

What will happen to the manuscripts that are not selected to move forward?

OpenIDEO and William Penn do not intend to work with authors beyond those who submit the winning manuscript. If a manuscript is not selected to move forward, the author can remove it from the site after the Challenge closes, or keep it up to be publicly viewable.

The manuscripts that are not selected to move forward will still be available for others to access on the platform. For those whose manuscripts are not selected, we will offer the opportunity to continue following Challenge updates and to engage with the Challenge community on the Challenge website on OpenIDEO.com.

If a manuscript is not selected to move forward, can the author remove it from the IDEO site?

If a manuscript is not selected to move forward, the author can remove it from the site after the Challenge closes.

Are there additional resources I can reference to support my submission?

Of course! We want to make sure you’re set up for success. To learn more about the Challenge process and eligibility, check out our Resource Archive including this deck from a webinar we hosted. If you have any questions, please email ecbook@ideo.com.