A father-son duo from West Virginia writes children’s books

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WHITE HALL, W.Va. (AP) – When Chris Isabella was a little kid, his father Tom promised that they would one day write a book together. Recently, that promise came true.

Most people have a list of things they want to end in their life. For Tom, writing a children’s book with his 31-year-old son, Chris, was high on his list.

In April 2021, the father-son duo self-published their book “Pecky Penguin and Friends: Danger at Pinnacle Point”. The book focuses on characters Tom used in stories for his son when he was younger.


“We kind of made up these characters, for example we both liked penguins,” said Tom. “We once said that when (Chris) grows up, one day we’ll write a book and share it with other kids.”

The Isabellas got their chance when the pandemic rolled around. Tom, who is 61 years old, retired from work at the Bridgeport FBI facility and felt that this was the perfect time to work on the project.

The father-son duo started working on the book in early 2020 and then contacted Chris’ childhood friend Matt Jaco, who is currently a pipeline engineer in Tennessee, to illustrate the book.

“I think it’s important for a children’s book that the visualizations fit the story,” said Chris. “We wrote the story and then probably spent twice as much time making the characters look right.”

Both agreed that Jaco’s art is what makes the book special.

“His illustrations really brought it to life,” said Tom. “They fit the story and without them the story wouldn’t be the same.”

The book touches on topics such as inclusivity, lying, and making friends. However, the main theme of the story is peer pressure.

“We pretty much put a lot in a very small space, but they’re just funny characters with a bit of morality,” said Tom.

Neither Tom nor Chris are interested in making a profit from the book. Fulfilling an old promise and working together as a family are truly their rewards.

“I just think it’s great that we got something on our minds and made it,” said Chris. “It was’nt easy. We didn’t sit down and things just flowed, we had a lot of back and forth. It was half business and half family. “

Tom was sentimental about the time he spent with his son and Jaco working on the book.

“You never get tired of spending time with your child,” said Tom. “But the greatest fulfillment I had was when parents said to me, ‘This is my child’s favorite book.’ Nothing beats it. “

Jaco shared her feelings and was excited when he first saw his name on the Amazon shop page.

“It was a very fulfilling achievement, especially with the teamwork of a longtime friend like Chris and his father,” said Jaco. “To see that I finished something, to see (my art) in a book, and to see my name really meant a lot.”

Her book, Pecky Penguin and Friends: Danger at Pinnacle Point, is available on Amazon by searching for the title. Physical paperbacks are $ 12.95 and an eBook version can be purchased for $ 9.99.

“I think we all got to know each other better,” said Tom. “Whether (the book) goes well or not, it was just fulfilling to bring something like this to life.”



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