Dr. Steven Moore, associate professor of language and literature and director of the McNair Scholars program, published his second book, Theodore and the Yellow Balloon, Tuesday.
A sequel to the children’s book Theodore Thumbs, published in 2014, the book hosts the same characters as the previous and contains another powerful message about the effects of bullying.
“The second book deals with Theodore. He’s older and he’s bullied one again, but we get to learn more about the bullies life,” Moore said. “Without revealing too much, they go on an adventure together.”
Moore, who has always had dreams of writing children’s literature, pulls from experiences in his own life that he and his twin brother faced growing up.
“Things that happened to me growing up become materials for these books,” Moore said. “I also notice things that are happening in society; sometimes that will inspire me to write children’s literature. When you think about the news and what people are saying about bullying and how it’s still a huge problem, that’s what inspired me to go ahead and tackle this real problem.”
After publishing the two books, Moore wishes to continue and follow the narrative of the character, Theodore, growing up through life.
“Depending on the publisher and other things, we’re hoping to do a series of 12, maybe 15 books,” Moore said. “Through the whole series, I want the readers to grow with Theodore and to talk about issues and challenges that young boys and girls face while growing up. The whole dream was to do this series and to do young adult literature where Theodore is a college student, so hopefully I can do some writing in that arena.”
In addition to the successes following the publishing of the two books, Moore also hopes to bring a new class to the English department, specifically focusing on the impact of children’s literature.
“It’s still in a pilot program at this point, but we’re playing with expanding our sophomore literature options,” said Dr. Mikee Delony, department chair and associate professor of the Department of Language and Literature. “He’s really excited about doing that. It would be interesting to look from a literacy perspective, to go all the way back and go, ‘What does it take for kids to find something hysterical?’”
Moore, known across campus, is beloved not only by the students on Praise Fridays but by the English department as well.
“He’s a great faculty member,” Deloney said. “He’s a great friend, a great worker and students love him. He’s just giving and caring.”