Ohio County Schools administrator publishes first children's book

Jason McConnell and his son, Cooper, 7, are pictured with McConnell’s book “Marty’s World” at their home in Beaver Dam on Friday.

Writing a children’s book has always been one of Jason McConnell’s bucket list items, and recently he was able to accomplish that dream with “Marty’s World.”

“Marty’s World” originated during bedtime stories McConnell told his youngest son Cooper. The two would create characters each night, and eventually, a story grew. McConnell, who is Fordsville Elementary School’s principal, said his son always enjoyed those special moments together so he thought it would be a fun idea to bring the stories to life.

The book is illustrated by Brandon Brocato, a long-time family friend, who enjoys drawing as a hobby. McConnell and Brocato exchanged ideas for the characters for a few years until the book was complete. Brocato even likened the main character, Marty, to Cooper.

“Marty’s World” tells the story of Marty the meerkat, and his friends, Earl the eagle, Ellie the elephant, and others. They live in the Savannah Plains in Uganda.

Brocato said his wife first approached him about drawing an animal for the book unbeknownst to him. Initially, she just asked him to draw one animal, and then another, and eventually Brocato asked her what they were for.

“Both of us have careers so this was something we worked on when we had the opportunity to do it,” Brocato said. “It’s not something I saw myself doing at any point in time, but now seeing the book finally published, it’s one of those things that’s pretty neat on my end.”

Brocato said he plans to pass on the books to his kids, and maybe his grandkids someday, which makes it extra special.

Before becoming a principal, McConnell taught for 16 years at the Ohio County Middle School, so it was important to him to include some educational elements in the story. The last few pages of the book include discussion questions for kids who have read the book, as well as information on how to speak simple Ugandan words.

“Reading is the gateway to learning,” McConnell said. “If you can’t read, you are going to struggle at a lot of things in life. I wanted to get something in the hands of kids that will teach them and is interesting for children, too.”

To learn more about “Marty’s World,” or to inquire about copies of the book, visit its Facebook page. The book is also available at Soreheads Gifts & Sundries in Hartford, and at barnesandnoble.com.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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