Isaiah and Jenny Diaz are the creators of GigarooTales, which is the name of their company that produces children’s books.
The couple, who are currently residing in California, share the responsibilities of creating and managing GigarooTales. Isaiah, an illustrator by trade, takes on the role of illustrator and writer as Jenny reviews and edits the result.
When asked about the inspiration behind GigarooTales, Isaiah expressed that creating a series of children’s books has always been a goal for him, adding that incorporating his CHamoru heritage was something important when conceptualizing Gigarootales’ most recent project titled, “Where’s Koko?”
“I’m an illustrator by trade, that’s my day job. So I figured, I always wanted to make a children’s book, so why not start with something close to the heart. So, we did a CHamoru book. We have two young kids, and we wanted to make something for them,” Isaiah said.
Though Isaiah was born and raised in California, he said his CHamoru roots are still strong, crediting his mother, who was an English teacher in Guam before relocating. Diaz shared that his mother instilled core CHamoru values and a love for storytelling in him.
“My mother was an English teacher, and she was on the island before she moved out here. She just retired, but she always kept that alive, and she always taught us about what she called home, and so we all called it home too. But yeah, she always told us stories of Two Lovers Point, and just a bunch of stuff … he definitely kept that alive in us,” Isaiah said.
The duo shared their mutual desire for their two boys to know both their Vietnamese and CHamoru roots and hopes that “Where’s Koko” will offer itself as a strong source of CHamoru representation for them.
According to Jenny and Isaiah, “Where’s Koko?” is an educational and interactive book that ventures around Guam, teaching young readers the native CHamoru names of animals throughout the story. Both Jenny and Isaiah hope that “Where’s Koko?” will help their children, and children everywhere, to explore the CHamoru culture.
The duo says that they plan to create more children’s books in the future and are looking forward to doing so.
“Where’s Koko?” is now available for pre-order on GigarooTales.com. The stock is limited, with the first pre-ordered 350 books being sold for a special pre-order price that will include free stickers.
For more details about GigarooTales, visit GigarooTales.com, or follow @Gigarootales on Instagram and Facebook.