Desert Almond Farmer is a true story about Frederick Godde, who received 160 acres of land in the Mojave Desert under the Homestead Act of 1862. His new life began without water, electricity, or roads.
In the end, he had a wife, nine children, thousands of almond trees, and a role in California history.
This is the family’s story—how they survived, how they conducted their daily lives, and how they grew almonds in the desert.
Author-illustrator Mary Kaye Godde Stamets grew up on the land that her grandfather Frederick homesteaded.
She combined photographs and art to create an authentic representation of a bygone era.
Kent Stenderup, Blue Diamond Board Member and Almond Farmer
"A high-spirited yet informative narrative about the highs and lows of raising a family in one of the oldest and hardest professions, Desert Almond Farmer is a refreshing read for all audiences.
Rich in family history and agricultural fact, Desert Almond Farmer offers a rare insight into the drive and strength it took to have a pioneering spirit while supporting a family and thriving in adverse circumstances."
Ruth Stotter, Folklorist
"Folklore celebrates ordinary people who often become extraordinary when we know their story. The tale of Frederick Godde, and his success in raising a family and becoming one of the founders of Blue Diamond Almonds is a window to the past.
Stamets’ intimate and humorous rendition of her grandfather’s life is both entertaining and a valuable resource."
Gerald W. Ward, Librarian
“Mary Kaye Godde Stamets has created a work of art, using words and images, to convey the story of her family homesteading a piece of the Mojave Desert in the 1880s.
Desert Almond Farmer is a visual feast for the heart, soul, and mind for any who have spent their life taking risks to make a life and offer a legacy to their family and community.”
West Antelope Valley Historical Society
"Desert Almond Farmer is the most innovative method I have seen to make family history both entertaining and informative. A great example of how to make one's ancestors come alive.
Not only a children's book, it will appeal to historians and genealogists."
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This vibrant, appealing history, with a Little House on the Prairie–esque feel, is full of good, clean fun on a (literal) shoestring and detailed information on the Homestead Act, almond growing, and desert life.
An enjoyable, well-researched nonfiction work for young readers.