HICKORY, N.C., Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For many people, pulling for their favorite college team is more than a casual pastime. What is it about pulling for "our team" that is so important that we feel the desire to pass it on to our kids and grandkids?
This is a question that North Carolina State University alum Bryan Jones asked himself many times. And seven years ago, it led him down an interesting path: What if he were to write interactive kids' books based on college teams?
"When my daughter Lauren was born, I wanted her to experience the same excitement and pride I felt when I watched the Wolfpack win a big game, or heard our fight song play," he explains.
"My girls weren't interested in watching the games, but the minute you cracked open a book, you had their full attention. I knew if I wanted to get them excited, it would have to be on their level."
And so, Jones and illustrator Hootie Bowman created the Collegiate Kids Books Series (www.collegiatekidsbooks.com). Complete with moveable parts, textured materials, and scratch and sniff experiences, each book follows its respective school mascot around campus, where it encounters familiar sites and landmarks.
The series currently includes books based on NC State, Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina, Appalachian State University, and East Carolina University.
For parents like Jones, fandom is about a legacy that they pass down to their children. Here are a few ways passing the team spirit on to your kids can benefit them and the rest of your family.
Share family "together time." It can be tough finding ways to bond with kids that everyone enjoys. Watching college sports is the perfect activity.
"Whether you are watching games together on Saturday afternoons, or making the trek to campus to tailgate, cheering on your team together can be a great bonding experience," notes Jones.
Teach important life lessons. From good sportsmanship to integrity to perseverance, sporting events provide plenty of great opportunities to narrate important lessons to your children.
"Talk about what it means to be a good loser, or how you should act when a call doesn't go your team's way," suggests Jones. "Kids will pay attention to how you behave, so keep it light and friendly."
Get kids excited about college. Most parents want their kids to pursue some form of higher education. And while they may not ultimately choose your alma mater, starting from a young age helps to get them excited about higher education in general.
"When you visit the campus as a family, you can start the conversation early about kids' own school path some day," says Jones.
"It was important to me to find the most memorable campus landmarks, restaurants native to that town, and so forth and reproduce them in my illustrations," adds Bowman. "This really fosters a personal connection with the school."
Strengthen their sense of identity. Much like instilling pride in the family name, teaching kids about their ethnic heritage, or passing down a treasured heirloom, pulling for your alma mater can become an important part of who they are.
"It means something to kids to be able to say, 'We're a Wolfpack family,' or, 'I live in Massachusetts now, but I still pull for the Hokies,'" explains Jones.
It's fun! "Let's face it—the reason the collegiate team tradition continues to thrive is that at the heart of it, it's just plain fun," says Jones. "From tailgating to playful rivalries to decking out in your team's colors, it's a form of play that transcends age. It takes us back to childhood again."
Parents, too, love seeing their kids get excited about the big game or beg to have their room painted Carolina blue.
"While we all want our children to grow into their unique selves, we can't help but glow with pride when we see aspects of ourselves in them," says Jones. "It validates us. It maybe even makes us feel a bit immortal."
About the Author and Illustrator:
Bryan Jones is blissfully married to Kathryn C. Jones. He has two great girls, Lauren and Meredith.
Hootie Bowman is a salesman by day and Super Illustrator by night. He is married to Page. They have three kids: Thomas, Mary Alice, and Charlie.
For more information, please visit www.collegiatekidsbooks.com.
Click here for an expanded version of this press release.
For an interview with Bryan Jones or Hootie Bowman, please contact Dottie DeHart, DeHart & Company Public Relations, at 828-325-4966 or Dottie@dehartandcompany.com.
DeHart & Company Public Relations
SOURCE Collegiate Kids Books