The closest volcano to the New Hope-Lambertville area is an inactive rounded hill in northern Virginia, which last erupted 47 million years ago. Distance, combined with impactful travels, can serve imagination well, however, and for local innovator Geoff Cook, mythological volcanoes provide a setting of his first children’s book, “Veronica and the Volcano.”
Cook is a benefactor of the newly-renovated Cavallo Park in Lambertville and the CEO of The Meet Group (NASDAQ: MEET), which includes apps MeetMe, Skout, Tagged and hi5. The company is headquartered in Union Square, and employs more than 100 people at its New Hope office.
After settling in Central New Jersey last decade, Cook’s wife Kerri would make up bedtime stories for their first daughter, Madeline (Maddy), based around her real day activities, like playing with friends or scoring a run in softball. Over time, the stories got more involved and the character of Veronica emerged.
Then, Maddy begged her father to tell similar stories during their 25-minute morning commute on the way to school.
“A twenty-minute story every weekday was actually difficult. So I had to start thinking of things to say the day before. And eventually I had to start writing these stories down . . . over the last three years writing it, here and there, that became the book,” Cook explained.
Cook even sketched a map of Veronica’s volcanic world during the process, with Maddy naming locations such as Magma Pass, Cinnamon and Cloud Forests, Mount Mystery and New Lava City.
Other characters in the book include Maddy, as well as another based on Cook’s youngest daughter, Elyse, who will be turning seven soon, and some of their friends, as well as an animal named Lucky Bunny.
On June 11 of this year, the compilation of stories was published, with the cover and other illustrations by Gabrielle Shamsey.
“I originally wrote it as something that could be read out loud to my daughter; each chapter is a reasonable length for one sitting, about 15 minutes or less,” said Cook. The book also includes a brief glossary of certain geologic terms and the URL of Cook’s website, where readers can request a replica of Veronica’s necklace.
Maddy is now 10 years old, and was able to finish reading the newly-published book in a couple days, so the book is good for a read aloud or silent reading, Cook emphasized
Readers can purchase the book locally at Farley’s Bookshop, or on Amazon.com.
Mr. Cook will be doing a signing at Farley’s on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1 – 4 p.m.
Leave a Comment