PhD Student Co-Authors Children’s Book on Positive Self-Image

Posted on 11/6/2018 10:45:24 AM

Jeremy McCool believes changing the world starts with changing the life of one person. That’s why the IUP doctoral student decided to write a children’s book.

Jeremy McCool coauthors childrens book Princess and the Power of MelaninMcCool, who is working toward his PhD in Communications Media, recently co-authored Princess & The Power of Melanin, a story of a little African American girl who learns to embrace her uniqueness. He and his co-author, Anthony McBride, who earned a master’s degree from IUP, are in talks with publishing companies with hopes of having the book on the market by the end of the year.

Growing up in Chicago, McCool saw first-hand how people can help change things around them. That’s what led him to write this book.

“I never intended to be a children’s book author,” McCool said. “But to create any kind of social change you have to start with our youth. It’s easier to teach a five-year-old to love themselves than a 50-year-old who has been through a lot of trauma. You have to start with a young person.”

In the story, Princess’ parents instill in her the belief that she’s beautiful, but at school she gets bullied and starts to question what she was taught.

“He parents tell her ‘you’ll find out one day that your melanin is magic.’ She finds out later that it’s one of her superpowers. So, it takes something that is sometimes in our world viewed as negative and it gets turned into a positive.”

While studying at Western Illinois University, McCool met McBride, who is a faculty member there, and learned that McBride had published several children’s books. McCool already had the idea in his head for his story, he pitched it to McBride as a collaboration, and soon after they had a manuscript. They contracted with the graphic artist who did McBride’s earlier books for the art, and now have a finished product.

Once Princess & The Power of Melanin is on the market, McCool and McBride are planning to build on the brand and create more books and any other avenue that will help spread the message of having a positive self-image.

“My hope is that for a young girl who might be bullied or harassed in any sense, this book is a reassurance that’s she’s beautiful, that her skin complexion is not a fault,” McCool said.

Department of Communications Media