They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Whoever “they” are, they might have had Heddrick McBride in mind when they said it. Born and raised in Queens, New York, this young entrepreneur is definitely more than meets the eye. As the CEO of McBride stories, manager of a group home for the developmentally disabled and a father, McBride wears quite a few hats but he doesn’t plan to slow down just yet.
As a first-time father, McBride has always enjoyed reading to his four-year-old daughter, Skylar. After a while, however, children’s books became slim pickings and he wasn’t too pleased with what he saw. Thus, McBride stories was born.
“A lot of children’s books don’t show what people look like today or what’s going on today so I came up with the idea to start writing. I wrote stories that kids could relate to but still relay the important messages that they need,” he said.
McBride has written four books so far, not including the “Now I Know” series of workbooks that teach everything from letters and numbers to sports and animals. One of those books, “Sky’s Stories,” is a bit more personal to him, as it includes true stories about his family and the little adventures that his daughter has with her friends. Something that is absent in many children’s books and cartoons are real kids with real (human) friends.
“Characters like Dora are cool but they very rarely show her family life,” he said. “It’s fun to see these different animals but I want kids to see parents that may look like their parents, or a little girl playing with her friends, something they can relate to.”
This goes back to growing up with books that he could relate to. His favorite book was Black Boy by Richard Wright, which depicted a young black man and the struggles he went through as he grew up. Being a young black man himself, he could relate to what he read and it felt good to know that there were books that spoke to him in that way.
That was just one of the things that inspired him to start writing at an early age. But even though he always wrote, being a writer wasn’t always the plan.
“My father actually influenced my writing because he was a great poet,” said McBride. “I always did creative writing and wrote poems, I just never thought that I would make a career out of it.”
To be this successful at a career that he practically stumbled into is just another message that he likes to relate to kids; stay in school and learn all of your basic skills and it can lead to bigger and better things than you’ve ever planned. For McBride to start this business, it was just a matter of putting those skills and other resources to use. He began to write the books, found illustrators, and self-published through CreateSpace and Amazon. That was one of the more difficult tasks. But as time goes on and he begins to make a name for himself, things will get easier, though a business like this will always require hard work.
“We’re working on a few books right now, there are constantly books being made,” he said. “The hardest part is probably editing. The process can be a bit strenuous in terms of self-publishing.”
Strenuous though it may be, that hasn’t stopped him from making big plans for the future of McBride Stories. There are a few exciting collaborations coming up that include a three-book series with Metta World Peace of the LA Lakers, the first of which was released the week of Christmas. He’s made plans to work on a fitness workbook with personal trainer Aubrey Brown, a children’s cookbook with chef Cassandra Richardson and dermatology book with celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Melanye Maclin. He also plans to write books for kids a little older than his current target demographic.
In the future, McBride hopes that out of these books will come cartoons and even bigger opportunities. Since his book launch in early November of last year, the wheels on this train have not stopped turning and it doesn’t seem like they will anytime soon. For a man who grew up in queens and led a pretty ordinary life, this is more than he could have imagined.
“It’s exciting to know that I’m contributing to a child’s education,” he said. “Our books start at preschool age and I would want kids to grow up to all of my books.”
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