Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: A Trail of Destiny by J.A. Angelo

by J.A. Angelo
Children's Fiction
36 pages

Summertime is vacation time for the Angelino family, and the two Angelino boys are excited about their upcoming camping trip. They’re going to the local state park, where they can swim, go fishing, and look for wildlife!

Being on vacation doesn’t mean the boys have to be careful. An encounter with a sneezing deer provides their father with an opportunity to teach the boys about respecting wildlife and staying alert for danger. Knowing more about the park’s wildlife helps the boys have more fun while staying safe. They discover staying quiet and moving slowly makes it easier to see the animals and birds that call the park home.

At the camp, the boys have responsibilities like the rest of the family. When they neglect one of these responsibilities and lie about it, they wind up in trouble—and learn an important lesson.

Beautifully illustrated, A Trail of Honesty teaches children about honesty while explaining actions have consequences. J. A. Angelo’s delightful story is an ideal way for parents to use consequences to teach children how to be better people—not simply to punish them.

J.A. Angelo will donate 30% of his royalties for "A Trail of Honesty" to Apraxia Kids, the Wounded Warrior Project, and The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes: Wounded Veterans Organization.


The excitement of a camping trip sets the scene for a look at the consequences lies can bring.

The three boys go on a camping trip with their family and have lots of fun, especially when their father teaches them things about the wildlife and nature. At the end of the day, the boys have a snack but don't completely obey the directions given to them. When asked if they had done everything correctly, they lie and don't think much about it. Unfortunately, trouble soon follows.

This is a book to read aloud to slightly older kids, ages four and up. The bright illustrations are on one side of the page, while the short text lies on the other. While the text does make the plot clear, the illustrations work with it, adding to the story and bringing along the extra details to round it off. It's a nice balance.

When picking up this book, it's important to realize that the author does intend to bring across a certain message and isn't trying to simply present a lovely story. Nor does it read as smoothly and fun as a bedtime or entertainment read, but rather comes across a bit direct, distant and told. For teaching or discussion purposes, however, it's a gentle way to open up to a conversation. The boys and their parents are presented as a wholesome family, which explores and has fun together. When the problem arises—the boys' lies—and the boys are caught, the result is predictable and the message obvious. The author then ends the book with a few thoughts and hints which help lead into a discussion concerning lies and the consequences they can bring. It's a nice book for those adults looking for a way to bring up the topic of lies and raise children's awareness surrounding the implications which can result from such situations.

Jeremy Angelo was nice enough to answer a few questions as well. Thanks, Jeremy!

Where did you get the idea for A Trail of Honesty?
With A Trail of Honesty, I was asked by the pastor if I had a story to share at my dad's funeral. It took me all morning to write a story that allowed me to share a memory of my dad, but at the same time, allowed me to spread a moral to all of the kids at his funeral - including my own kiddos. During the service, which was an emotional moment for everyone, the story made some adults and all of the children laugh. This was the ultimate goal of my story, not only was I trying to write a story with a moral in memory of my dad I was also trying to lift everyone's spirits in memory of my pops. He was a practical jokester and loved telling that story to anyone that would listen. After the service, the pastor came up to me and mentioned that my story would make a great children's picture book. After approximately six years, I decided to make his eulogy a story to share with everyone that buys A Trail of Honesty. 

What is the best thing about being an author?
The best thing I like about being a writer is sharing stories from my childhood and incorporating a Parent/Child discussion based on my experience of being a parent. In today's world, I feel that parents do not know how to incorporate morals into their child's livelihood. My books attempt to show children the importance of having morals as early in life as possible. The Parent/Child discussion in each of my books offer an opportunity for parents to discuss morals with their children

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a book on bullying that I will also contribute 30% of my royalties at the end of each year based on my sales. I have various one-question surveys posted on my social media handles and website. The first survey covered the moral/social issue my social media friends and those that visit my website voted for. I will have other one-question surveys that cover the national or international non-profit organizations my social media friends vote on. I started a Kickstarter campaign to recover some of my cost from A Trail of Honesty and will use the funds to market my next book. That is if I meet my campaign goal. My Kickstarter campaign is called A Trail of Honesty, and the site is

And here he is...

J.A. Angelo is a United State's Army veteran, loving husband and father. He has worked with children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds teaching them about the importance of family values that will go on to benefit them throughout their life. J.A. and his wife enjoy volunteering within their local school district and are leaders in various non-profit organizations for children. They also donate to various national and local charities supporting children and veterans. (taken from Amazon)

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