It happened in WOODWARD, IOWA

The Gripping Novel Based on the True Story


A blizzard rages outside a ramshackle Iowa farmhouse in February of 1921. Five-year-old Velma and her older sister stand near a glowing Isinglass stove charged with minding their two younger brothers.

Velma senses that her father is dying in the nearby living room, and she wonders if her mother can possibly survive the raging snowstorm in her brave effort to get help.

Based on the early life of author G. L. Gooding's mother, Where Courage Began tells the story of Velma, her three siblings, and her widowed mother Alice Steele.

Life for the young family in Woodward, Iowa requires courage, tenacity, and ingenuity. Through setbacks, tragedies, and triumphs the Steeles forge a meaningful life in their adopted community during the difficult days leading up to The Great Depression. And it is young Velma, wise beyond her years, who plays a pivotal role in the family's survival.

Verified for local historical accuracy, Where Courage Began shines light on Depression-era communities and their values for God, the land, hard work, family, and friendship. The sweet aroma of Alice Steele's famous cinnamon rolls is one of the most comforting reminders of these traditional values still practiced every day in Dallas County and celebrated annually at the Woodward Friends and Neighbors Celebration.

Based on the True Story of a Real Iowa Family

We'd love to hear from you!

Sign up for alerts about the 

next book in this Iowa series.

WCB-eBook (2).jpg
02 The Road to Resilience03.jpg
Sign-up Now!

Visit the Iowa Community Where Courage Began


Help the Library celebrate its 75th anniversary!


With its small town charm, Woodward is a great place to raise a family. 


Friends and Neighbors Day
brings the community together to create memorable moments and keep old traditions alive


It's the year of the road trip. 

Visit Iowa for plenty of fun.