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Academy Grad's New Book Helps Kids Embrace Different Cultures

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Academy of Art University alumnus David McBride's new children's book "Kazumi Racer Pig." Image courtesy of David McBride.

Animator and children’s book author and illustrator David McBride has always enjoyed learning about different cultures. He hopes his latest book, Kazumi Racecar Pig, will encourage kids to love and respect all people, no matter what their culture or background.  The story’s main character—Kazumi, a cute animated pig—is afraid of anything that’s different from the world he knows. But when he gets stranded on an alien planet, he must learn to accept unfamiliar creatures and customs in order to get home again. His journey teaches the racecar-driving pig that being different can be a good thing and also leads him to new friends.

McBride, who received his M.F.A. from Academy of Art University’s School of Animation and Visual Effects online program in 2012, said the idea for his new book was inspired by a couple of incidents he experienced. “Years ago, I saw a child on TV saying he hated a certain country,” he explained. “Then in college, a friend’s son did a voice for me for a project I was working on. He said something that wasn’t so nice about another group of people. I thought that was sad—kids don’t come out of the womb hating other people.”

McBride spent about seven months writing and illustrating Kazumi Racecar Pig. This was significantly faster than the two years it took him to complete his first children’s book, Dimitri Has His Head in the Clouds, when the process of creating a book from concept to completion was new to him. Along with getting to leverage what he learned from publishing his first book, McBride also found it rewarding to try something new with the look and style of Kazumi Racecar Pig.

“The last one was more cartoony,” he remarked. “I wanted to make the illustrations in this one more realistic. It also rhymes—I was trying to channel Dr. Seuss. But my favorite aspect of doing a children’s book is always just trying to capture my message in the best way I can, keeping in mind that it needs to get through to a young audience."

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Animator and children's book author and illustrator David McBride with his characters Kazumi and Dax. Photo courtesy of David McBride.

Kazumi Racecar Pig was about to go to the printers when Academy Art U News spoke to McBride. He is currently accepting pre-orders on his website, www.davidmcbrideanimation.com. In addition, he ordered some advanced copies of the book for readings he will soon start doing at local libraries and elementary schools around his New Jersey community. McBride also hopes to get his book placed in Barnes & Noble, something he succeeded in doing with a cookbook he collaborated on with his mother last year, Bringing Them Home.

He’s also been staying busy creating an animated short film to accompany Kazumi Racecar Pig and doing a variety of other projects, such as illustrating children’s books by other authors.

McBride keeps in touch with several of his Academy of Art University instructors and appreciates their ongoing support. “They still graciously offer to help me with anything I ask them,” he said. “They are wonderful people and I wouldn’t be where I am without them giving me their time and sharing their knowledge.”