Photos courtesy of the Savannah Bananas
Emily Cole’s new children’s book, ‘Go Bananas!’ is available now.
If you have been anywhere near the orbit of the Savannah Bananas, you probably recognize Emily Cole. Her smiling face and shining personality are known to Bananas fans all over.
As co-founder of the team and wife of the zany, over-the-top, yellow-clad Jesse Cole, you may know her from team videos or social media posts, or from hearing her speak to local groups about how the five-year old franchise has put down roots in the Hostess City with tremendous success.
But, she’s just added a new title to her list of achievements: published author.
Her brand new children’s book, aptly titled “Go Bananas!” has just hit the shelves at the official team store, both online and at the stadium.
At first glance, one may think it’s simply an average cute, colorful book about baseball, but it actually hits a homerun with its message of inclusiveness, which she said comes at just the right moment.
“This past year has been stressful for kids, too,” she said. “I think it’s a good time to talk about making kids feel included.”
The book’s story centers around a young girl named Hannah. “She was born a little different than others,” Cole said. “She doesn’t always feel comfortable about her uniqueness.”
But when she is invited to a Savannah Bananas game, the experience shows her that uniqueness can and should be saluted.
“At the Bananas, we really are just a bunch of crazy people with lots of individual personalities and differences, and we make it a point to celebrate that fact,” she said. “As entertaining and funny as the Bananas promote themselves to be, inclusivity is one of our core beliefs.”
“With bullying at an all-time high, having the courage to stand out and be different is hard for kids to wrap their minds around,” she said. “In 2017, Jesse wrote ‘Find Your Yellow Tux, How to be Successful by Standing Out.’ That book has helped business leaders and adults of all backgrounds around the world, and I wanted to write a similar message in a format that children could understand.”
Photos courtesy of the Savannah Bananas
Emily Cole, co-founder of the Savannah Bananas and wife of Jesse Cole, displays her new book "Go Bananas!" while on the field at historic Grayson Stadium.
The inspiration, in part, for the story came from a childhood friendship.
“When I was growing up, one of my best friends, Kristofer, didn’t have a leg from his knee down,” she said. “But, you really couldn’t tell when he had his prosthetics on.He inspired me my entire life. He taught me and others that you can do anything you set your mind to do, no matter what life throws at you. You can turn something that some would perceive as a negative into an all-out positive. In the back of my mind, while writing this book, I was constantly thinking of him and others like him. Now, he has little kids of his own and it’s great to know he’s going to be reading this book to them.”
Emily is known around the clubhouse as sort of a “team mom,” basically filling an important mentoring role for players and staff.
In addition to that, she is a real-life mom to son, Maverick; and she and Jesse have recently added a foster daughter to the family mix. She said that perspective helped her realize the impact this book could make on a child’s life and understanding.
“I’ve stepped back, somewhat, from day-to-day operations since we had our son, but my role there is to oversee a lot of team things—focusing more on people: our staff, interns, players,” she said. I work to help them learn how we service our fans by creating a great, inclusive atmosphere.”
And she hopes this book spreads those ideas throughout the community.
“If one kid reads this book and tells another kid to stop picking on someone, it will be a success,” she says. “If one kid reads this book and goes to sit with the new kid at lunch, it will be a success. It would be an honor if you helped me share the idea with kiddos that being different is ok.”