Calling All Storytellers: Can you Inspire Caregivers Through a Children’s Book?


Calling All Storytellers: Can you Inspire Caregivers Through a Children’s Book?

One of the greatest joys of parenthood is to watch children grow during the earliest years of their lives. They make one discovery after the next – words, tastes, physical skills – and, as caregivers, we constantly hope we’re giving them everything they need to grow up to be smart, healthy, and capable. 

Reading to children is one of the most important ways that caregivers can support their child’s growth and development, and there are proven techniques they can use to make the reading experience even more productive for their child’s early learning. Other language-based activities, such as responding to a baby’s babbling, are also important brain-building interactions for a child. Talking, singing, and reading to children, even when it seems like they’re too young to understand, are the catalysts of a child’s language and literacy development. 

While the importance of reading to children is a universal message, many families need access to high-quality, age-appropriate books that reflect their culture, language, and lived experience. Many caregivers also want more information about the best ways they can support early learning and language.

William Penn Foundation funds programs, research, and new initiatives that focus on ways to support caregivers in developing their children’s language and early literacy skills. We want caregivers to have the information they need and to be confident in their abilities to help their children learn. We are always looking for new ideas to engage families in children’s learning.

That’s why we’re excited to be supporting a national challenge launched this week by OpenIDEO, a firm that specializes in changing the way the world addresses tough societal issues, enabling people everywhere to drive innovation where it’s needed most. The Early Childhood Book Challenge asks,

The challenge calls for storytellers to write manuscripts for a book that engages children (ages 0 to 3) and provides adults with ways to support early language development. The challenge is open to published authors and new voices alike.

The submitted manuscripts should:

  1. Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together
  2. Engage young children in their earliest years to support early language development
  3. Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia

One top manuscript will receive:

  • $20,000 in award money to make the manuscript publisher-ready
  • Recognition as winner of the Early Childhood Book Challenge
  • Connections to a publisher to turn the manuscript into a book
  • The potential for 10,000+ books to be published and distributed in Philadelphia, with wider distribution possible


April 12 is the deadline to submit. Check out more details about how to enter the challenge here, and please share with the writers, teachers, and caregivers in your life!


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