Doc, the Little Tractor is a children’s book written by Beaver Dam’s Debbie Stofer, to help spread the word about how fantastic the Beaver Dam Community Farmers Market is. Doc came about as Debbie was looking for an “old junk tractor” to sit at the entrance of the park that hosts the farmers market. Having put the word out in the community, Alton Crowe, nicknamed Doc, started trying to come up with a junk tractor. The particulars on that project are still forthcoming. However that project sparked another for Stofer. “The idea for the book came about to help educate everyone about farmers markets.” She said.
“There are not that many small farms left, it’s mostly large farms, and truly that was the inspiration for Doc, the Little Tractor. People really don’t think about what is really involved in getting produce to your local farmers market.” Stofer said. She hopes to shine a spotlight on what the vendors have to do to show up at market with produce for the community each week.
Spend but a moment in Debbie’s company, and one will know that she’s always tumbling a myriad of ideas. In her role as Event Coordinator for the market, Debbie made acquaintance with local authors and sought guidance from them. With a background in education, it’s no wonder she turned to writing as a way to communicate on a broader scale. After searching out publishers, Heart to Heart Publishing in Morgantown was chosen because with them it’s like “self publishing, but with an agent and publisher together” she said.
Stofer wanted to maintain the rights to the book, and some of the larger publishing houses upon signing “own” the book. The actual writing of the book was the simplest thing, it almost took care of itself getting completed one Sunday afternoon. Publisher Linda Hawkins with Heart to Heart suggested that an illustrator be used and after looking at several, Debbie chose Travis Shanks from Henderson. His drawings have captured the essence of what Stofer was communicating, with rich vivid colors, and wonderfully animated drawings.
Maintaining the rights to the book was important to Stofer, because she’s written it in such a way that any farmers market across the country, or even other countries can use this book to educate children. It’s written for early readers, or to be read to toddlers. The message that Doc and Debbie are trying to present, is that everyone has to work, and one has to “make hay while the sun shines” she says. Also incorporating the working mentality and getting the point across that you have to work for things. The more subtle message that there is a place for everyone and that everyone has worth. Doc, even though he had aged, still found something he could do, that everyone can make a difference and do something. You just have to “put forth your best effort no matter what” she added. “Don’t be afraid of change, no matter the season of life you find yourself in, there is more to be done.”
Debbie and husband John are educators by trade, Debbie taught at the college level, traveling across Western Kentucky. John was the Ohio County Principal for 9 years, and is the current director at the Render Center in Hartford, the alternative school. Once she became a grandmother, Debbie gave up the educators life on the road.
On the horizon for Stofer, there is a free library coming in August to the Beaver Dam Community Farmers Market, and it will be known as the home of Doc, the Little Tractor. if sales of the book are good, there’s plans for a flip book, where the back half is in spanish and the front half in english. She’s a wonderful story teller, there is just no telling what else she will come up with. The plan is to have the book available for purchase in July, just in time for Kid’s Day at BDCFM, tentatively scheduled for July 14th.
Her enthusiasm for Beaver Dam Community Farmers market is contagious. Almost as contagious as her excitement of bringing Doc, the Little Tractor into being. Is there another book on the horizon for Stofer? Her creative spirit couldn’t be contained in just one book, be on the lookout.
— Kathrine Newman Timmons, myKYNews.com