Student and professors partner for children’s book

Steven Barnum , Assistant News Editor

A former student at Western Illinois University is on his way to becoming a published author.

Jeremy McCool, 2015 Western alumni, has recently announced a partnership to write a children’s book with Dr. Anthony McBride. McBride is an Associate Professor of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at Western, and saw the opportunity to work with a fellow Western team member as a no-brainer.

“Any student that knows me knows I have always been about building on their strengths and this partnership only made sense,” McBride said.

McCool didn’t waste any time accomplishing his goals. Looking to conquer the media and business world, the Chicago native took his talent and ambition downstate when he joined Western’s broadcasting program. He was heavily involved in the department, leaving a lasting entertainment impact after his time as the music director for the radio station, 88.3 The Dog. He was even recognized as a winner of the President’s Innovation Award from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, he received a master’s degree in communication in 2017. When his days in Macomb came to an end, he headed east, making his way to the doctoral program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. McCool’s area of interest includes all aspects of art. In true wonder kind fashion, he jumpstarted his music career in 2015 when he released a song on iTunes.

For McCool, conquering the media and business world could have no better start than by partnering with McBride, given the latter’s experience in both penning and publishing books. McBride has been the mastermind behind books like “The Lost Cat,” “The Fish That Was Afraid to Swim” and “Shaheana,” which can all be found on paperback on Amazon.

McBride will prove to be a valuable business partner because of his track record of delivering books with strong messages. For example, “Shaheana” is designed to provide inspiration, especially to young, African American girls. Additionally, his books commonly introduce characters that are relatable and altruistic. McBride offers in-depth descriptions of his books and intent on his personal website, For the duo’s upcoming book, “Princess and the Power of Melanin,” McBride and McCool hope to impact and uplift readers in ways they will not forget. “This will be one book of many delivering educational, social and inspiring messages to promote growth and promising future leaders,” McBride said.

The name of the book stems from the authors’ passion for showing that skin color should never play a factor in how others are treated. “Sometimes kids can be mean to each other and we want this book to serve as a tool to give young girls so much confidence that no bully can faze them,” as read in the book’s synopsis.

When the book makes its way into the hands of its desired audience, McCool and McBride hope to spread a message that discourages discriminating and bullying tendencies. Their vision doesn’t come to a close after the book completes publication; to further spread their messages, they are striving to turn the book into a series and even a cartoon on television.

McCool will always remember his time at Western and how it helped him grow into the person he is today.

“Attending WIU helped me step outside of my comfort zone and forced me to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be and what my talents were,” McCool said.

Once publication is complete, “Princess and the Power of Melanin” will be released before the year ends. If all goes according to plan, the book will be available for sale on Amazon, among other websites.