The Joseph Group

A Heartwarming Gift

January 12, 2024

To Inspire:

Photo: WMAR-2 News


One woman’s dream of becoming an author came true this holiday season, with a little help from her grandson.

In 1972, Barbara Rieco wrote a children’s book. Despite her best efforts to find a publisher, rejection after rejection followed. More than forty years later, her grandson Chad Cooper decided to publish the story himself, then surprised Barbara with a copy of the book at Christmas.

Chad shared on social media the video of Barbara opening her gift and her priceless reaction. “This is probably the nicest thing anybody’s ever done for me in my entire life,” Barbara says at one point in the video.

Chad remembered his grandmother showing him the book when he was a child. The book, titled More! More! More! follows a little girl who is befriended by another girl who teaches her the importance of gratitude and the power of make-believe.

While visiting during the holidays in 2022, Chad was helping Barbara with her computer. He saw the file of the book on her desktop and immediately emailed it to himself. He thought it might be a great opportunity for a gift. On Christmas morning 2023, Barbara was overcome with emotion when she saw that gift.

In addition to writing the book, Barbara worked with an artist in Vietnam years ago to create illustrations for the story. With all those pieces already in place, Chad, who works in production and design in New York City, had no trouble self-publishing the book. But the gift had one more surprise – the book was also available to the public via Amazon. Barbara was a published author!

The video Chad shared currently has more than four million views, and the book is an Amazon best seller. There are plans for a hardcover edition and an audio book. Barbara has other things she has written over the years and is now interested in diving back into those.

The response to the story has touched both Barbara and Chad. He says, “…more than anything, I think this whole thing has been so inspiring for both of us. Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to help other people accomplish their dreams.”

Sometimes you just need help to reach your dreams!





Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications