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Camillus youth, uncle collaborate on chapter book

He said he's had wonderful support from his brother, family and friends. "My parents are the best, most supportive you could have," he said.

Some of the people who have also been a big support actually made their way into the book as well. "The security guard at the library is in the book, because he was great while we were writing." His third grade teacher was in the book as well. "She stopped me in the hall and told me it's the best book she's ever read."

There are family ties in the book as well, with the Police Chief Harry Burns named after Chris's grandfather, who was also a police chief, and one of the teens, Lee, named after his cousin, Lee Ackerman of Portland, Ore., who designed the cover of the book.

The community has had a great response to the book since it was published in January.

"The entire fourth grade at my school is reading the book during lunch time," Chris said. "The secretary [at school] said it was the quietest the lunch room has ever been."

In addition, Jeff, of Westvale, is a member of the Tip Hill Athletic Club, which plans to buy books to give to parents with children at the prenatal care ward of Crouse Hospital, where it all began for Chris.

"I still visit there, and all the nurses remember me," he said.

Jeff said there were other benefits to writing the book.

About six months into writing the book, Jeff was diagnosed with an illness that required surgery. He said writing the book helped him keep focused and looking ahead during that stressful time.

"I am 100 percent good as new now, but it was a hard time, and working with Chris on the book made it easier," Jeff said.

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