John R. Erickson
AUTHOR

John R. Erickson

John R. Erickson, a former cowboy and ranch manager, is gifted with a storyteller's knack for spinning a yarn. 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. This series of books and tapes is in school libraries across the country, has sold more than 9 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 calls Hank a "grassroots publishing phenomena," and USA Today says this is "the best family entertainment in years."

The road to stardom for Hank, however, wasn't all dog biscuits and gravy. Erickson graduated from the University of Texas in 1966 and studied for two years at Harvard Divinity School. He began to publish short stories in 1967 while working full-time as a cowboy, farmhand, and ranch manager in Texas and Oklahoma. Hank and his sidekick Drover are dogs Erickson worked with on the range. This mixture of true-life experience, fun, and adventure has gained Hank a loyal following of thousands of children and adults.

In 1982, however, Erickson was at his rope's end. "I was working out in the cold; there was 8 inches of snow on the ground," he says, "I had just gotten a couple of rejection slips from New York publishers, and I had a wife with two kids and another one on the way." So, with $2,000 in borrowed money, Erickson started his own publishing company, appropriately named Maverick Books.

Hank the Cowdog made his debut in the pages of The Cattleman, a magazine for adults. An obvious favorite of readers, Erickson included two of Hank's humorous stories in Maverick Book's first publishing effort, The Devil in Texas (1982). Erickson began selling books from his pickup truck at cattle auctions, rodeos, and just about any place cowboys gathered.

When Erickson started getting "Dear Hank" letters, he knew he was onto something. So in 1983, he self-published 2,000 copies of The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, and they sold out in 6 weeks. Not long after that first printing, the book was recorded word-for-word on audiotape. Since then, every Hank book has been recorded, making Hank the longest-running successful children's series on audio, ever. (Source: Billboard)

When teachers began inviting Erickson to their schools, Hank found his most eager fans. Teachers, librarians, and students alike love Hank. According to some Texas Library Association surveys, the Hank the Cowdog books are the most popular selections in many libraries' children's sections. The lively characters make excellent material for reading and writing lessons, and turn even the most reluctant readers into avid Hank-fans. When used with the books, Hank tapes increase reading skills rapidly. And, in response to popular demand from the growing bilingual market, the first two Hank the Cowdog adventures are available in Spanish.

Although the Hank books began as a regional phenomenon, CBS Television heard about them and brought out a thirty-minute cartoon of the first book. It aired in May 1985 as part of a series called "CBS Storybreak."

Erickson has also written several books for young adults, the "Riley McDaniels Series". The first book of the series, "Moonshiner's Gold", won the 2003-2004 Lamplighter Award. The second book in the series, "Discovery at Flint Springs," was a finalist for the Lamplighter Award the following year. He has also written several books about cowboying based on his own experiences.

Erickson was born in Midland, Texas, but by the age of 3, he had moved with his family to Perryton, Texas, where he and his wife live today on their working cattle ranch. They have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren. His advice to young writers is, "Write about something you know. Try to leave your readers better off than they were before."

For more information about John R. Erickson and the Hank the Cowdog books, please visit www.hankthecowdog.com.

Read more Read less

You're getting a free audiobook.
$14.95 per month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Best Sellers

    • The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 33 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 674
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 543
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 544

    It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Guts, glory, danger, and sacrifice are all in a day's work for Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Hank: a timeless chuckle for families everywhere.

    • By The Super-duper Amazing Silver Golem on 03-16-16

    Regular price: $13.99

    • It's a Dog's Life

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 174
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 144
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 147

    It's all fun and games until somebody ends up in the pound....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • We laughed til hurt

    • By MJO on 02-13-19

    Regular price: $13.99

    • The Ghost of Rabbits Past

    • Hank the Cowdog
    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 24 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 49
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 39
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 39

    Talk about a rude awakening! Things go from bad to worse when Hank and Drover wake up in the wee hours of the morning to a full-fledged invasion of the ranch....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • So Good!

    • By Jason Harris on 12-24-18

    Regular price: $13.99

    • The Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 234
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 185
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 181

    Hank conducts defensive maneuvers against an attacking silver monster bird. But the trouble really begins when Hank is stricken with a terrible case of "Eye-Croserosis"....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent

    • By Tana on 06-09-15

    Regular price: $13.99

    • Murder in the Middle Pasture

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 41 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 142
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 112
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 112

    There's been a brutal murder on the ranch, and it's up to Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security, to conduct the investigation....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Awesome

    • By Zellabooks on 01-21-16

    Regular price: $13.99

    • Lost in the Dark Unchanted Forest

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 99
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 82
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 81

    When Little Alfred runs away from home and winds up in the Dark Unchanted Forest being trailed by a bobcat, Hank the Cowdog knows that it's up to him to save his young master....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • amazing book

    • By Billy on 06-01-16

    Regular price: $13.99

    • Faded Love

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 88
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 67
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 68

    Love doesn't come easy....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Love these books

    • By Angela on 08-09-17

    Regular price: $13.99

    • The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 8 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 121
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 95
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 93

    Things are looking pretty bleak for Hank the Cowdog. First he gets sick on poisoned bacon grease....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great entertainment on a drive.

    • By Lawrence Walter on 02-18-19

    Regular price: $13.99

    • The Case of the Wandering Goats

    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 22 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 43
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 34
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 34

    When Deputy Kile calls in a favor and recruits Slim to help him round up some escaped goats that have made their way onto the ranch, a hilarious rodeo ensues....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Awesome

    • By Erin E Eagan on 07-12-18

    Regular price: $13.99

    • The Case of the Monster Fire

    • Hank the Cowdog, Book 71
    • By: John R. Erickson
    • Narrated by: John R. Erickson
    • Length: 2 hrs and 23 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 50
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 47
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 47

    Slim Chance is convinced that he needs to build his own herd of cattle and invest in the future. But, just about the time his new herd is calved-out and his investment is beginning to look promising, the dry and windy weather conditions put the entire county on high alert for fire danger....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • AMAZING!!!!!!!

    • By Alicia Lee on 10-11-18

    Regular price: $13.99

Are you an author?

Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography.