New children’s book launches in Suffolk

Published 12:51 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

Two local dads celebrated their third published children’s book on Aug. 18 with a party and book signing at O’doodleDoo’s Donuts on Bridge Road.

It was the official Suffolk launch of Scott McBride and Rodger Thompson’s third “Connor the Courageous Cutter” adventure, after a party and book signing two weeks prior at Mission BBQ in Gambrills, Md. McBride said the turnout was fantastic at both venues, with plenty of children to enjoy their live readings.

“We animate the voices and act out the books to make it fun for the kids,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

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McBride is active-duty Coast Guard, and Thompson is active-duty Navy. The two of them met about three years ago at a North Suffolk church. McBride approached Thompson with his longstanding idea of writing a children’s book.

That led to Connor, a cutter who lives in Serendipity Sound with friends such as Faith the Fire Boat and Sarah the Schooner. Their latest installment is the “Mystery of the Baffling Blackout,” with colorful illustrations by Brian Martin.

A slew of power outages is preventing Francis the Freighter from safely bringing fuel to port, and all signs point to the culprit being Simon the Submarine, a new character that doesn’t quite fit in with the residents of Serendipity Sound. But that doesn’t necessarily make him the bad guy, according to McBride.

“He’s just trying to fit in as one of the members, but at the same time he’s that classic prankster that’s trying to get attention,” he said.

The moral of the story is twofold: it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you own up to them, and what makes you different doesn’t make you any worse than anybody else.

“You don’t have to go along with the crowd. You can be different and be unique and be special,” McBride said.

The award-winning children’s book series has only grown in popularity. There’s even a cartoon in the works, with the goal of finishing the pilot episode by the end of the year to see if investors are interested in funding an entire series, according to McBride.

In the early spring, McBride and Thompson were at the National Education Association’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., for Read Across America 2018. They were also recently featured in “Know Your Military,” an outreach initiative by the Department of Defense to bridge the gap between civilians and those who serve.

“They want to illustrate that these men and women not only serve their country. They’re also entrepreneurs who do all these other cool activities,” McBride said.

It’s been a whirlwind for the authors to see more and more new fans at each event.

“It’s really been a grassroots movement,” McBride said. “It started with friends and family, then friends of friends, and now each year I see more people learning about the book.”