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AdLit.org is a national multimedia project offering information and resources to the parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers. AdLit.org is an educational initiative of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital, and is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and by the Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation.
A video interview with
Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Patricia McKissack was born in 1944, in Smyrna, Tennessee. After moving around a bit, when she was 12 she and her family finally settled in Nashville. It was there that Patricia first met the then 17-year-old Fredrick. The two friends both attended Tennessee State University, but it wasn't until after graduating in 1964 that they became more than friends. Fredrick proposed on their second date, and they were married four months later.
Patricia was a teacher and editor of children's books. Meanwhile, Fredrick pursued a career in civil engineering. One day in the early 1980s, however, this all changed when Frederick turned to Patricia and asked, "If you could do anything you want to do in this whole wide world for the rest of your life, what would you do?" Patricia responded, "Write books." Fredrick said he'd like to join her. So the two of them, with the help of their three young sons, set out to make that dream come true.
Their first book, Abram, Abram, Where Are We Going?, was published in 1984, and this husband-and-wife team haven't looked back since. What began as a six-month lark has resulted in over 100 books, including the Coretta Scott King Award winners A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter (1990) and Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman? (1993).
Fredrick and Patricia are currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. When not writing books or running their business, they enjoy spending time in their garden.
from Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Age Level: Teen
More than just the story of the Pullman porters, this Coretta Scott King Award winner recounts the saga of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first major black labor union. Organized just after the Civil War, the union brought together many freed slaves who had been hired by George Pullman to pamper the passengers in his sleeping cars. Seasoned with poetry, song, black-and-white historical photographs, and the personal reminiscences of porters and their wives, the text is full and engaging.
Age Level: 12-14
A look at African-American whalers and the whaling industry's role in the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.
Age Level: 12-14
A history of the famous fliers with additional material on African-American soldiers since the Revolutionary War.
Age Level: 9-12
Profiles of rebellion leaders like Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey, Cato, and Gabriel Prosser.