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.
McCool, 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
“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
& 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