The Adventures of Cree and Scooter
WNBAer Tammy Sutton-Brown launches a children’s book series.
by Josh Flynn
Like all WNBA teams, the Indiana Fever are out in their community trying to make a difference and reach out to their fan base. And like many WNBA players, Tammy Sutton-Brown goes overseas during the winter and plays basketball. One day, two years ago, Sutton-Brown made a school visit and when she told the students she had played basketball in Istanbul, Turkey, she saw their blank faces and knew she wanted to do something to help children learn. Her solution was a series of children’s book, The Adventures of Cree and Scooter: A Global Series.
“Originally the thought was to do a book and educate [kids] on geography,” says Sutton-Brown. “And then I realized I could do more than geography. The first one is set in Canada—Canada being a bilingual country. So I infused a few French words in there to teach them a little about French. And there is a little bit about the culture. So there are these elements to the book that make it educational but also fun and engaging. I wanted a fun book with characters they’d fall in love with and I wanted to help them learn without their realizing they’re learning.”
In the books, Cree is a young girl with a toy chameleon named Scooter that comes to life when Cree dreams. During these dreams, the characters visit different countries and teach children about geography, languages, history, and culture. The first book is entitled Cree and Scooter Hit The Slopes in British Columbia.
“I was born and raised in Toronto and raised in a very multi-cultural society,” says Sutton-Brown. “The first one is in British Columbia, Canada, but I want to do a whole series of books with a variety of cities and countries across the world. I feel very fortunate to have traveled and played basketball all over the world but there are a lot of people who haven’t been outside America or haven’t been outside their state. I hope through these books kids have the opportunity to go out on adventures in different countries without physically being there. They can use their imagination and travel with these characters.”
Sutton-Brown, an 11-year WNBA veteran, has had plenty of experience traveling to different countries. “Basketball has given me a great opportunity. If it wasn’t for basketball would I have been to all the places I’ve been to? I’m so grateful for all my experiences, seeing different cultures and customs throughout the world.” It was also the downtime during her international play that allowed Cree and Scooter to take root in her own imagine and develop into the learning tool she intends them to be. Playing overseas allows plenty of distraction free time for players. The demands of family and friends aren’t there. Responsibilities are limited to practice and one or two games a week. With much more free time on her hands than she’s used to during a WNBA season, Sutton-Brown was able to fully develop her idea and write the first book.
It was a challenging process for Sutton-Brown, who stresses she is a basketball player first and author second. “Writing for kids—the age group is from four to seven—took a lot of editing and breaking things down to the simplest form. It’s been a long but fun process,” she says. The book is self-published and along the way, Sutton-Brown has received help from former Charlotte Sting teammate Rushia Brown, who has taken some of the workload that comes with writing a book off Sutton-Brown while she is in the midst of the WNBA season. Orlando, Florida artist Joel Cruzada provided illustrations.
Sutton-Brown officially launched the book Sunday night at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Children were able to sign up for a chance to win invitations to the event at Fever games. Sutton-Brown, who is in her fifth season with Indiana, was also joined by her teammates.
The books will be available for purchase from the official web site www.creeandscooter.com. Sutton-Brown anticipates Amazon to carry the books in the coming months.