2014 - Volume #BFS, Issue #14, Page #32
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His Books Are Based On Real Farm Life
“I loved hearing stories at the dinner table and at family gatherings when I was a kid growing up on the farm,” Gordon Fredrickson says, “and that story listening has turned into story telling.”
  In the past 14 years, Fredrickson has authored more than 10 books for adults and children on farm life. He’s also told hundreds of farm life stories to historical societies, to school classrooms, and at retirement homes. “I don’t know the exact number of places I’ve spoken at,” Fredrickson said, “but the total audience I’ve spoken to now numbers more than 29,000.” He’s now a regular on the calendar for several schools.
  Fredrickson draws inspiration for his stories from real farm life. He grew up in the 1950’s near the rural Minnesota community of New Prague, 40 miles southwest of Minneapolis. He and his siblings had regular “chores” and experienced the highs and lows of farm life. In high school, he realized that making a living on a small farm would be difficult, so he entered the military after graduation. After completing his tour, he graduated from the University of Minnesota and taught high school English for 16 years. When his parents retired, he moved back to his home farm and settled in to a new job. As urban areas devoured farms in the 1990’s, including his parents’, he saw a need to tell stories about farm life.
  “A story untold is a story lost,” Fredrickson says. “What will be remembered about small town and country life in the mid 20th century if those realistic stories aren’t written down and told?” he asks. “Would the ‘truth’ as told by city folks be fractured and diluted?” The answer, of course, is that those stories could be incorrect or could be forgotten entirely.
  Fredrickson set out to make sure that didn’t happen. He began with a series of books titled “If I Were A Farmer”, featuring a child and a pet. The child imagines himself or herself as a farmer having an adventure, in which he or she is the hero. Each page has the child’s narration and a color illustration. The prose is aimed at pre-school to grade 3. The series has received numerous awards and has favorable reviews from many readers and organizations.
  “I base the stories on situations and events that my family and I actually went through,” Fredrickson says. “Kids love the stories because they relate to the age and gender of the characters and what those characters are imagining or going through.”
  Fredrickson’s Farm Country Tales series appeals to adults and kids with stories about threshing, picnics, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve. He plans on 20 titles for this series. Originally, he published the books himself and his wife printed and bound them in their garage. He sold them at his presentations, at events and on his website. A contract from a publishing company in 2008 has provided much broader exposure.
  “Writing kids books isn’t a get rich scheme,” Fredrickson says, “but that was never my intent in the first place. I enjoy telling stories, and my audiences are fascinated by recollections from a one-room school, machinery and animals we had on the farm, and the humor that I weave throughout. It’s just a very satisfying and rewarding experience.”
  Fredrickson’s latest book, A Farm Country Harvest, is a 3-part book for adults that features a story and photographic essays of past harvests and current harvest celebrations.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gordon W. Fredrickson, 8855 Canter Lane, Lakeville, Minn. 55044 (ph 952 797-6169; twogfsc@integra.net; www.gordonfredrickson.com).

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2014 - Volume #BFS, Issue #14