By Emily Williams
Susan Scott Carothers of Montgomery is not only celebrating the holiday season this month, but her new children's book, "'Twas the Night Before Game Day," was released Dec. 1.
Football has always been a part of Carothers' life growing up in Vestavia Hills. The football-themed book was inspired by her two sons' growing passion for football and their love of all team mascots.
"The premise of the book is what each mascot is doing to get ready for game day," Carothers said. Though her family identifies as Auburn fans – Carothers graduated from the university – she noticed her sons were interested in all of the football mascots.
"I equate them to Disney characters," she said. "In their eyes, it doesn't matter that it's not our team’s mascot."
She describes the book as a lighthearted story that teaches kids to respect other teams.
"Some of the rivalries get a little nasty, and I just want to try and send the message to be kind, love others," she said. "At the end of the day, these are just games and they are all in good fun."
Carothers said she came up with the idea last year on the opening day of football season.
"We were at the lake watching games all day," she said. "I wrote the whole book on my iPhone."
After reading it to her family, she decided to send it to a few different publishers and landed on Mascot Books. According to Carothers, the hardest part of the process was waiting for the SEC schools to sign off on the licensing.
As for the illustrator, when given a list to choose from, Carothers decided on Jason Buhagiar, who at the time she didn’t realize resides on the island of Malta.
"I picked him and then learned about him and where he lives," she said. She was worried he wouldn't understand the culture and the universities, but he surprised her.
"He obviously did his own online research," she said. "He deserves more credit than me. When I saw the illustrations, he had included details from the universities that I didn't even know about."
As for her favorite mascot in the book, Carothers said she couldn't choose anyone other than Aubie. "'Twas the Night Before Game Day" can be purchased in Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million locations and is available on Amazon.