The Storytelling Substitute



During her time substituting there always seemed to be a few minutes at the end of a lesson when there was nothing to do. So Elaine Brunet-Fredrikson decided to fill this time with stories of her youth growing up in Northern Minnesota. What started out as simply a way to pass the time has turned into an entire book.

Brunet-Fredrikson started writing her book Growing up North True Adventures of Free Range Children all because her students loved her stories so much. The students would tell Brunet-Fredrikson that she should write a book, and so she did.

Brunet-Fredrikson went up to her cabin and wrote her book in about a week. She chose the cabin as the place to write her book because it just felt like the right place to be. Brunet-Fredrikson wanted to be in nature when writing about her youth growing up being outdoors and enjoying nature.

After writing the book Brunet-Fredrikson took about two to three years to edit her book. She said it took so long because she needed to take time away from the book to be able to see the mistakes. If you keep reading the same thing you tend to just overlook the mistakes you made.

Brunet-Fredrikson tells stories of her and her brothers growing up in Northern Minnesota in the 1950’s. The book was definitely bitter sweet for Elaine to write. Her brother was actually the writer in the family and had written some of the stories in the book. He suffered from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease and sadly passed before he could publish his stories. Some family members had promised her brother they would publish his stories about his youth and this is what gave Brunet-Fredrikson the push to publish the book.

Brunet-Fredrikson also shares with the reader that her mother passed away when Brunet-Fredrikson was just a baby. If not for this, many of these stories might not have happened. Many of the stories in the book are about her time spent with other family members after her mother passes away. In the 1950’s it was consider inappropriate for a man to raise a young daughter on his own. To prevent the family from being separated Brunet-Fredrikson’s father sent her to live with different family members to keep child protective services from taking her.


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