Author releases second installment of ‘Marshall T. Trowel’ books

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY MARSHALLTOWN Co. President/CEO Joe Carter of Marshalltown, seated, prepares to hand a signed copy of “Marshall T. Trowel and Family-Drywall-You Can Be Anything You Want to Be “to Dr. Bob Petersen of Marshalltown Sunday at the Marshalltown Public Library.

The father/daughter duo of Joe and Hanna Carter recently released their second book — “Marshalltown T. Trowel and Family — Drywall — You Can Be Anything You Want to Be.”

Joe Carter was at the Marshalltown Public Library on Sunday to sign copies of both books for customers.

One customer was Dr. Bob Petersen of Marshalltown.

Petersen, a retired dentist, purchased a copy of “Marshall T. Trowel and Family — Drywall” for his great-grandson, Simon, 3, of Holland, Mich.

“He really loves tools,” Petersen said.

It is the second installment of the Marshall T. Trowel series and focuses on Marshall T. and his family of tools as they drywall a house. Children will see the benefits of a career in the trades and the importance of practice, patience and dreaming big.

Joe, of Marshalltown, wrote the text and Hanna, of Portland, Ore., did the illustrations.

Earlier this year, the duo released “Marshall T. Trowel and Family — Concrete — Work Hard. Work Together.” Set in Marshalltown, the story follows a family of tools as they learn the values of working together.

Joe said he was inspired to write the books from the “Johnny Tractor” books John Deere & Co. published.

“My wife Janelle and I loved to read ‘Johnny Tractor’ and others like it to our kids,” he said.

The idea for the first and second book was born in 2002. In 2018 he decided to publish the first book with Hanna’s help.

“I knew Hanna was busy working full-time but she got the job done on both books,” Joe said

The author has started on the series’ third book which will feature Hanna’s illustrations.

A portion of both book’s sales will be given to tornado relief and Marshalltown High School for the expansion of a vocational studies program.

Joe has served as President/CEO of MARSHALLTOWN, 104 S. 8th Ave., since 1998.

Founded locally in 1890, the company manufactures tools and equipment in the construction trades, notably trowels. He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in industrial engineering and from the University of Arkansas with a law degree.

Joe’s first non-children’s book, was a history of MARSHALLTOWN, published in 2015.

Both of the children’s books are available on Amazon and marshalltown.com.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or



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