About the Authors
A STORY NOT TOLD IS LOST FOREVER
After performing for over 52,000 kids and adults at over 1,000 schools, museums, historical societies, and banquets of all kinds, Gordon has decided to retire from public speaking and concentrate on writing.
Over the past years, I've performed over 1,000 Farm Heritage Programs for over 52,000 adults and children at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, historical societies, nursing homes, senior centers, museums, annual banquets, tractor clubs, 4-H clubs, Scouts, church groups, and other clubs and organizations. My goal is always to entertain and to teach with stories and photographs that aim to increase agricultural literacy, encourage farm pride, and preserve this country's great farm heritage.
Gordon and his wife, Nancy, continue to sell their books at area farmers markets, craft shows, and other events. Check the Events page on this website for dates and locations. Books continue to be available to purchase online at this website, but if you want to save shipping costs and have an opportunity to check out all 15 books, call 952-797-6169 to make an appointment to purchase books from them at their home in Lonsdale, Minnesota.
I write my books to entertain and enlighten children and adults with stories that show humor and love in the farm family but also accurately portray farm activities on a very small family farm where the family must work together to make a living. My hope is that my farm stories may also be your stories or the stories of your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents.
My purpose in telling these farm stories is definitely not to glorify any so-called "Good old days." Instead, my purpose is to portray life on a small farm the way most of us remember it–full of hard work, riddled with daily sacrifice, lacking conveniences, void of vacations, and yet, somehow, satisfying and invigorating. Many remember their childhood on a farm with fondness, others with bitterness, but no one will deny that the experiences shaped their lives forever.
My goal is to create a Collector Series of books about a farm family in 1950 which will become Keepsake Books to be passed on from generation to generation with the result of the books being read in 100 years or more by people as they realize, "This is what it was like to live and work on a small family farm in 1950."
It is my hope that the stories in my Collector Series of books serve to enhance Agricultural Literacy by raising awareness and appreciation for agriculture and its boundless opportunities; that they serve to encourage Farm Pride by telling the stories that make people proud of their farm background; and that they serve to preserve Farm Heritage by portraying farm activities accurately, capturing the traditions in a story to be remembered and passed on.
To tackle the task, I created two series of books for children and adults: Farm Country Tales and If I Were A Farmer.
Gordon W. Fredrickson and Nancy A. Fredrickson grew up within six miles of each other in Scott County, Minnesota. Nancy lived in the small town of New Market, where even though the population was under two hundred, many businesses managed to scrape out a good living during the hard times in the 1940s and 1950s. Two service stations, a general store, a butcher shop, taverns, a feed store, a farm produce store, a hardware store, a bank, and a post office served the townspeople and the surrounding farm communities, which included the small dairy farm where Gordon was raised by his parents and his two older sisters.
Even though Nancy was a “town kid” and Gordon was a “farm kid,” their collaboration on a book about harvesting grain in 1950 is part of a natural progression of their lives together. The farming in their blood surfaced early in their marriage, during Gordon’s first teaching job at Chokio-Alberta High School in western Minnesota. Because the area offered no jobs for Nancy, they decided to buy 160 aces where they could raise cattle, hogs, and grain. Because Gordon worked days and often stayed late after school directing plays, Nancy handled the chores during the week. She raised calves, fed cattle, and farrowed hogs, and she eagerly learned to manage a large garden, bake homemade bread, and drive a tractor so she could help with the fieldwork. This farm experience reconnected both of them to their shared rural roots and even today gives them a common inspiration as they produce books about farm heritage.
After Gordon retired from teaching, he wrote a children’s book in the fashion of The Night before Christmas. He called the book County Road Christmas Eve and patterned it after his boyhood experience of waiting for Santa to visit his family’s small farmhouse as the entire family did chores after supper on Christmas Eve in 1950. Unable to get a publisher for the story, he and Nancy borrowed money to buy a small printer, and in the year 2000 they started printing and binding the books at home. Gordon performed the story at elementary schools and at farm shows, and they offered the books for sale afterward. Because the story was well received, he wrote a total of nine more books that Nancy printed and bound at home. They shared the goal of preserving farm heritage in the books for generations to come, but they realized the need for a more polished product. In 2007 they contacted Beaver’s Pond Press, a Minnesota publisher that agreed to publish the books as Gordon rewrote them and commissioned new illustrations.
In 2008 Beaver’s Pond Press published A Farm Country Christmas Eve, a new edition of County Road Christmas Eve with improved rhyme, meter, and illustrations. Beaver’s Pond Press has published a total of ten of Gordon’s books, including five in the Farm Country Tales series, three in the If I were a Farmer series, and two other books which are not part of a series. Farm Country Moments: Poems, Pictures, and Memories is the first collection of Gordon's farm poetry published by Beaver's Pond Press, and What I Saw On The Farm is an illustrated book for children. All of the books are inspired by actual events from Gordon and Nancy’s farming experiences.
A Farm Country Haying, by Gordon W. Fredrickson and Nancy A. Fredrickson, is the seventh book in the Farm Country Tales series and the fourth, along with A Farm Country Harvest, A Farm Country Silo Filling, and Farm Country Moments: Poems, Pictures, and Memories, to include photographs taken or collected by Nancy in an effort to give the story historical perspective and engage the reader in a more universal experience of farm heritage. Future plans encompass a total of five chapter books about the Carlson family during the year 1950, with each chapter telling a story about specific farm activities. The series of five books will examine the personal challenges that the family faces throughout the entire year. Gordon remarks, "What would we know of the specific challenges faced by the pioneer farmers in the 1870s if it weren't for the wonderful books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder?" Likewise, he hopes his series will preserve the personal farm heritage of the small farmers and townspeople in 1950.
News About Gordon
Honorary Chapter FFA Degree from the University of Minnesota Crookston Collegiate FFA for preserving Farm Heritage and promoting Agricultural Literacy through literature.
Article about Gordon in the Pioneer Press. Click HERE.
Article in St. Paul Pioneer Press, "A former farm kid shares his stories of growing up in Lakeville." Click HERE.
_____________________________Prologue to Farm
Imagine an era
that’s diff’rent from now,
When times were not better,
but pleasing, somehow.
It’s the year 1950,
when farming was done
By Mother and Father
and Daughter and Son.
by Gordon W. Fredrickson
Reader Views Literary Award Winners
If I Were a Farmer Awarded first place in the children – toddler to 5 category
Farm Country Halloween Awarded second place in the children – early reader (6 to 8)