Jim Jamison and his daughter, Stephanie Schisler, wrote and illustrated “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me.” (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jim Jamison and his daughter, Stephanie Schisler, wrote and illustrated “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me.” (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Bothell grandfather brews up a children’s book

Bothell’s Jim Jamison, owner of Foggy Noggin Brewing, wrote “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?,” and his daughter, Stephanie Schisler, illustrated it.

Jim Jamison was inspired by the birth of his first grandchild to write a children’s book.

Jamison, owner of Foggy Noggin Brewing in Bothell, is the author of the new picture book “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?”

He wrote “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?” when granddaughter Abby was 6 months old. Five and a half years later, it’s on his grandchildren’s bookshelves.

Jamison, 60, now has three grandchildren — Abby, 6, Mary, 5, and Wesley, 4. “I would bet we have another grandkid or two coming later,” said the father of three grown children.

“What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?” was illustrated by his daughter, Stephanie Schisler, who is a Bothell High School graduate.

The book, published by Tellwell Talent, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository in e-book, paperback and hardcover formats.

Schisler, 34, of Everett, got to work on the illustrations for the book two years ago. “It took me a long time, with having a baby,” she said.

Jamison’s book asks children to think about what it would be like to be a cloud, a tree, a star, a butterfly or a dog, if they couldn’t be themselves.

“It gets the kids to think about what if they weren’t themselves, and how you could spur their imagination to talk about those things,” he said.

Like many children’s books, Jamison’s is one of repetition.

After reading a number of children’s books over and over again as a father and grandfather, Jamison recognizes the benefits repetition provides. It makes a book accessible, gives children a hook to join in with, and makes the reader and listener feel like they are part of the story.

“They like to hear things over and over, and they like to read the same books,” he said. “I’ve probably read the same books to these kids over 100 times. I think they like to memorize it so they can act like they can read before they can read.”

Schisler said she was intimidated by the thought of drawing a picture for all 30 pages of the book. She enjoys art, but she’s not an artist. She joked that writing a children’s book is much easier than illustrating one.

She drew several pictures of clouds, trees, stars, butterflies and dogs to go along with the story. One of the pictures is of a butterfly landing on a girl’s nose. Not long after she drew that picture, a butterfly landed on Abby’s nose.

“It was just like in the book,” Jamison said. “We had a good laugh about that.”

The last page of the book asks the listener, “What would you be if you couldn’t be you?” It features a question mark filled in with all of the illustrations from the book. That is Abby’s favorite picture in the book.

“She got to see me work on the drawings a lot, so she already knew most of the pictures,” Schisler said of her daughter. “She tried to practice drawing with me.”

As owner and operator of Foggy Noggin Brewing, Jamison has been brewing English-style ales out of the shed in his back yard since 2010. The beer is brewed on a half-barrel brewing system. He transformed his garage into the brewery’s tasting room.

Schisler is a stay-at-home mom to Abby and Wesley and a part-owner of the family’s brewery. She also likes to help her father brew beer.

Before COVID-19 hit, Foggy Noggin, 22329 53rd Ave. SE, Bothell, was open on Saturdays. Right now, you can fill growlers to go and purchase select bottles from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays. You also can pick up a copy of “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?”

Foggy Noggin’s 10th anniversary was March 20. The family makes about 60% of Foggy Noggin’ annual revenue in that one weekend. Because of COVID-19, this year they made only 10% of that. “It was our worst anniversary weekend in 10 years,” Jamison said.

Before writing children’s books, Jamison was the founder of Northwest Brew News, the region’s largest subscription-based beer publication, serving as its editor and publisher from 1994 to 1997.

Father and daughter said “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?” turned out better than they ever imagined.

“It was really important to get this done,” Jamison said. “It was a passion for both of us.”

“It’s really cool,” Schisler said. “It’s cool to see something you did with your name on it.”

Already, the book is one of Jamison’s grandchildren’s favorite books. Abby, who is in kindergarten now, likes to read the book to her grandfather.

Jamison likes to ask the kids what their favorite pictures are, as well as ask follow-up questions that promote imagination: “If clouds could talk, what would they talk about?” “Where do clouds go at night?” “Do clouds have friends?” “Are dark clouds mad?”

“Kids have no reservations,” he said. “When you ask them questions like that, their minds go to town.”

Father and daughter aren’t stopping at just one children’s book. Jamison has already written two more books, and Schisler is working on the illustrations. “Hopefully, these won’t take as long,” she said.

They are “Who’s Going To Eat That Bite?” and “A Day At The Lake Without Color.” Just like in “What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?”, these books rely on repetition to help children internalize the structure of stories and, perhaps, give them a starting point for making their own.

“Who’s Going to Eat That Bite?” was inspired by a game Jamison plays with his grandkids to get them eat their lunch.

“They don’t like to sit still very long, and so when it’s meal time, they just want to take a bite and then run around and do stuff until they want to come back and eat,” he said.

He’ll ask them to take a bite for the clock so that it will keep ticking, or for a painting so that the colors will turn brighter, etc.

“It’s really fun to put these ideas in their head,” he said. “Before they know it, they’ve eaten all of their food.”

In “A Day At The Lake Without Color,” a child goes to the lake but everything they see on the way is in black and white. Then, at the lake, the child falls asleep reading a book. When they wake up, everything that they see on the way back from the lake is now in color.

That storyline isn’t inspired by a game with his grandchildren. The idea for the book woke him up at 3:30 a.m.

“I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and put it into writing,” Jamison said. “It took me about three hours, and I had it all written down.”

Jamison might not stop at three children’s books. The silly conversations he has with his grandchildren continue to inspire story ideas. The sillier the idea, the better the story.

“I live on 2.5 acres, and there are lots of fir trees with needles everywhere,” he said. “We were talking about (how) in the summertime you don’t see them, so where do they go? I said they go to the bottom of the ocean, and that’s why the water stays there.”

The book idea: “There’s this guy who sees all these needles in the ocean, and as he cleans them all out, then the ocean drains.”

“What Would I Be If I Couldn’t Be Me?”

By Jim Jamison

Tellwell Talent. 30 pages. $13.99 (paperback)

Talk to us

More in Life

TikToker Brett Kelly, 24, whose Pumpkin man character TikTok video will be aired on the CBS show The Greatest #AtHome Videos on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The TikTok ‘Pumpkin Man’ of Lake Stevens dances to TV fame

After his pandemic layoff from Macy’s, Brett Kelly, 24, has been adding to his 1.4 million followers.

The Black Tones are one of three headliners of this year's Fisherman's Village Music Festival broadcast on YouTube and at www.thefishermansvillage.com. Catch the band's performance on Oct. 31. (Kendall Lawren Rock)
Fisherman’s Village festival returns as streaming video series

Long delayed by the pandemic, the spotlight for local music is being broadcast in four episodes this week.

The five telltale signs of a ‘hortaholic’

It may be an addiction, but it’s the good kind that enriches your life.

This silver-plated serving piece is called a box but it doesn't look like one. It held English biscuits, but if the sides opened, the cookies inside would fall down. Each of the shell-shaped bowls had a hinged, pierced flap that kept the heat and the biscuits in place when the sides were opened and became flat bowls to serve the cookies. The flaps are often missing when the biscuit box is sold.-
These British ‘biscuit boxes’ are cookie jars by any other name

And fancy silver ones can sell for as much as $256 at antiques auctions.

Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’
Great Plant Pick: Vitis vinifera “Purpurea”

It’s a common wine grape, but in the Puget Sound region, it’s grown for its beauty — the fruit won’t ripen in our climate.

Pandemic psychology and fear of contagion or psychological fears of disease or virus infections with 3D illustration elements.
Pandemic pains: Sleepless nights, hair loss and cracked teeth

Chronic stress from the months-long COVID-19 pandemic is a common thread among many of these conditions.

An expert’s top 3 tips to effectively train for virtual races

When COVID-19 struck, many races were canceled to limit crowds. Virtual races are becoming a popular alternative.

Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel, who won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 2003, will perform Christmas carols Nov. 28 at Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish. (Tingstad and Rumbel)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Nick Poling plays the title character Red Curtain’s production of “Klingon M’aQ’betH,” which is now available to watch on YouTube. (Alex DeRoest)
Theater, dance and comedy shows around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Most Read