Emotional Connection: Woodbury Woman Pens Children’s Book on Ice Fishing

Deborah Jo Larson’s “One Frozen Lake” tells the story of a grandfather and grandchild on several ice-fishing adventures.

When Deborah Jo Larson’s son would go ice fishing with his father and grandfather, she would ask him how many fish he caught. 

Even when the answer was none, “he couldn’t wait to go back,” Larson said.

“It doesn’t really matter if you catch fish,” she said. “It’s really about the family time that you spend together.”

That’s the idea behind Larson’s new children’s book, One Frozen Lake, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Larson—who has lived in Woodbury for the past 15 years—grew up ice fishing with her father.

“It was something that I always looked forward to,” she said. “It’s fascinating for a child.”

About 10 years ago, Larson—who works in public relations and marketing—took a writing class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and earned a Shabo Award from the group and had stories published in magazines.

While she initially focused on poetry, children’s books “are really a very poetic form,” said Larson, whose two teenage children attend Woodbury High School.

When she tells people of the story behind One Frozen Lake, they understand the “emotional connection” people have with the Minnesota pastime, Larson said.

“I’m just thrilled with (the book),” she said. “It really seems to strike a chord with people.”

Her publisher found the illustrators, Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, a husband and wife team in California (Johnson grew up in White Bear Lake). The book is geared toward kids 3-7 years old, Larson said.

One Frozen Lake is available through online booksellers, and at the Red Balloon in St. Paul and the Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. It will soon be available at larger retailers, including the Woodbury Barnes and Noble, Larson said.

A Nov. 17 event—at which kids will be able to sign an ice house and check out old lures, jig sticks and tip-ups—is planned at Woodbury Lakes.

These days, Larson said she goes ice fishing once in a while.

“It’s definitely on the agenda for this winter,” she said.


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