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It can be hard to tap into your creative side after a long day at work, but for Navistar employee Kyle Rose, being immersed in the world of heavy duty vehicles got his juices flowing.
With a background in marketing, he began to see big rigs as the perfect vehicle for a children’s book. He created a cheerful truck named Brutus, who unthinkingly went through his day looking down on smaller or duller trucks, only to see their strength later.
While the words flowed freely, art is not Rose’s strong suit. So he teamed up with Allan Rea, who worked with him at the time at the company’s manufacturing facility in Springfield, Ohio.
“Words on a piece of paper aren’t very exciting to a 4-year old,” says Rose of teaming up with Rea. “I had known Allan, and I always saw his sketches and knew he had that talent. So I asked him if he was interested in illustrating the book and he said ‘Let’s go for it.’”
Soon, Brutus the Big Red Truck, drawn as an International CXT, came roaring to life. It was important to Rose — a new father himself — that Brutus taught children to embrace each other’s differences.
“We were all kids at one point and unfortunately we were all picked on at one point as well, and there is a better way,” he says. “It is so much easier as children, and as adults, to be kind and I think we lose sight of that.”
With this book serving as the foundation, employees at Navistar facilities across the United States have begun outreach efforts to local elementary schools, distributing nearly 10,000 copies to date and facilitating discussions with children about real-life applications of the book’s lessons.
As word spread, the Navistar office in Mexico City requested a version in Spanish, so now the book is available in two languages.
Rose reaps the best reward during school visits, by instilling a sense of belonging among all children, no matter their circumstance.
“There are so many kids with so many challenges but regardless, no one deserves to be treated badly,” he says. “If this book stops some of that, that’s a good thing.”
To purchase a copy of Brutus the Big Red Truck for $4, visit www.internationaltrucks.com/shop