New book from John Erickson and Texas gift book recommendations

Erickson is launching Finding Hank with a West Texas book-signing tour. 


Finding Hank is an attractive new oversized hardcover book containing the most-often-asked questions about Hank the Cowdog and its creator – Perryton author and rancher John Erickson. In many ways, the book is Erickson’s autobiography as well as Hank’s story. Hank the Cowdog is one of the most popular figures in children’s literature, with more than nine million Hank books sold.


Finding Hank ($29.99 hardcover) answers such questions as: Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Is it true that you didn’t write the Hank books for kids? Did you ever suspect that Hank would become so popular? How did the wildfire of 2017 affect your writing? Will there ever be a Hank movie or TV series? Are you Hank? Are you rich? What advice do you have for writers?


A highly popular school and library speaker, Erickson has fielded hundreds of questions over the years. In this book, he says, he is able to answer the questions “in a more detailed manner.” Each question is richly illustrated, either by a color drawing by his longtime artist collaborator, Gerald Holmes (who recently passed away), or a photograph by John’s wife, Kris, or other photographers.


Erickson groups the more than sixty questions into five sections: The Early Years, Writing, Characters and Settings, Stage and Studio, and Personal Questions, concluding with “How long will you go on writing Hank?” The seventy-fourth book in the series will be published next spring, and Erickson has six more already written.


“If the time ever comes when I dread writing the stories,” he says, “I will probably retire, because if they’re not fun for me, you won’t like them either. But we’re not there yet.” Certainly not.


Erickson is launching Finding Hank with a West Texas book-signing tour that begins Friday afternoon, November 8, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Cactus Books in San Angelo. Other scheduled appearances are:


            Eggemeyer’s General Store, San Angelo, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, November 9

            Texas Star Trading Company, Abilene, 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 10

            Wayland Baptist University Bookstore, Plainview, 3 to 5 p.m. November 11

            National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock, 5 to 7 p.m. November 12

            Barnes and Noble, Amarillo, 7 to 9 p.m., November 15

            Burrowing Owl Books, Canyon, 10 a.m. to noon, November 16

            Burrowing Owl Books, Amarillo, 3 to 5 p.m., November 16


Texas Gift Books: Finding Hank is one of the Texas gift books I recommend this holiday season. A few others:


The upcoming Perini Ranch Steakhouse cookbook (I was blown away by a sneak peek; more on that next week)

Big Wonderful Thing, Stephen Harrigan’s big wonderful new history of Texas

The 125th anniversary edition of The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band by Mary Jo Powell

Dave Campbell’s Favorite Texas Football Stories by the legendary founder of Texas Football magazine

Dragonfly, the latest epic from one of my favorite Texas novelists, Leila Meacham

The Art of Texas: 250 Years, a spectacular volume of art history edited by Ron Tyler

Back in print: Watt Matthews of Lambshead, photographs by Laura Wilson


Glenn Dromgoole is the author of “Coleman Springs USA” and thirty other books. Contact him at