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.