ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Whether it’s because of the sense of humor or the adventures that made people fall in love with the ‘Hank the Cowdog’ book series, author John Erickson said he first introduced the character in the early 80s. Now he has written 79 books in the series.

“We’re in the third generation of Hank fans and it’s a great compliment,” said Erickson.

He made a stop at Texas Star Trading company in Abilene to sign books for local readers.

“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Abilene. Abilene is one the first cities outside the panhandle that recognized there was something special in the Hank stories,” shared Erickson.

Although you might find the stories in the children’s section at bookstores, Erickson said he created the series for families to read together.

“I never thought of them in the beginning as children’s books. But I did think of them as family books. A ranch family sitting around the dinner table on a winter evening reading aloud to each other which is something we did in my family,” Erickson recalled.

In the third grade, Stephanie Ellison, first fell in love with the books.

“I have dyslexia so it’s really difficult to as a labored reader, especially when you are that young, but I had a teacher Miss Russel who would sit on this couch and read stories of Hank the Cowdog and we would laugh, and it would just open a part of my imagination,” said Ellison.

Ellison imagined herself experiencing the adventures with Hank. As the years went by, she enjoyed reading and writing. Eventually becoming an author, herself, she wrote the book ‘Always Forever’ inspired by her childhood in foster care.

“It’s really a tribute to children who are actually in and out of foster care. But it’s also to children who maybe aren’t being raised by a parent,” added Ellison.

Now spending her days as an author, herself and as a motivational speaker. Ellison cant help but mention Erickson when she is sharing her story.

“I had emailed him that I was coming and he emailed me back and I told him I was going to come today and just to hear I’m really proud that my stories are part of your journey and that they have helped you along the way that means a lot to me,” shared Ellison.

Ellison often reads Hank the Cowdog stories to her children. She even named her own dog after the character.