Headline for Featured Item #1 Award-Winning Children’s Author Delights Performing Arts Center Audience - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Award-Winning Children’s Author Delights Performing Arts Center Audience

April 09, 2013

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  1. CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – John R. Erickson, author of the award-winning “Hank the Cowdog” series, delighted children, parents, and teachers today (Tuesday, April 9) during a free public lecture held in the Performing Arts Center. 

Erickson is the inaugural speaker for the University’s John W. Hill Endowed Author Guest Lecture Series.  In all, a crowd of more than 400 attended the presentation, including elementary classes from around the Coastal Bend. 

During the program, Erickson read aloud from the “Hank” series to children performing all the character voices himself. He also played the banjo as he sang and entertained the crowd.

“The children on campus have been talking about Erickson’s visit for weeks,” said Julee Murphy, Education Specialist at the Early Childhood Development Center. “This was a wonderful opportunity to bring kids and parents together from our Coastal Bend community to enjoy this kind of wholesome family entertainment.”

Erickson, a former cowboy and ranch manager, has written and published 75 books and more than 600 articles, and is best known as the author of the “Hank the Cowdog” series of books, audio-books, and stage plays. His stories have won a number of awards, including the Audie, Oppenheimer, Wrangler, and Lamplighter Awards, and have been translated into Spanish, Danish, Farsi, and Chinese.

The “Hank the Cowdog” series began as a self-publishing venture in Erickson’s garage in 1982 and has endured to become one of the nation’s most popular series for children and families. Through the eyes of “Hank the Cowdog,” a smelly, smart-aleck “Head of Ranch Security,” Erickson gives readers a glimpse of daily life on a ranch in the West Texas Panhandle.

The series of books and tapes, which is in school libraries across the country, has sold more than 7.6 million copies, is a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and is the winner of the 1993 Audie for Outstanding Children’s Series from the Audio Publisher’s Association. Publishers Weekly call Hank a “grassroots publishing phenomena,” and USA Today says this is “the best family entertainment in years.”

From the start, Erickson intended for the Hank stories to be read aloud, and one of the unique features of the series is that he has recorded all stories in the audio-book format, performing all the character voices himself and composing two original songs for each episode.

For more than 30 years, Erickson has worked hard to maintain the highest standards of good, wholesome family entertainment. In doing that, he has built a bond of trust with parents, librarians, and teachers, and all his stories have been approved for the Accelerated Reader Program.  He has appeared in thousands of schools, from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Key West, Fla., and has been a popular speaker at conventions of teachers, librarians, and homeschoolers.

Currently, Erickson is working with the film group Odyssey Pictures to produce a “Hank the Cowdog” animated movie, with the screenplay written by John and his son, Mark.  The movie is expected to reach theaters in 2014.

To learn more about Erickson’s work or about the John W. Hill Endowed Author Guest Lecture Series, click HERE.

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