Fredrick McKissack

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Fredrick Lemuel "Fred"[1] McKissack, Sr. (August 12, 1939 – April 28, 2013) was an African-American writer, best known for collaboration with his wife, Patricia C. McKissack on more than 100 children's books about the history of African Americans.[2][3]

The McKissacks jointly received the biennial American Library Association Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014 (after Fredrick's death).[4]


McKissack was born in 1939 to a prominent family of African-American architects in Nashville, TennesseeMcKissack & McKissack, "widely regarded as the oldest African-American-owned architectural and construction firm in the United States".[2] After high school, McKissack joined the United States Marines, before earning a degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University.[2] He was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, participating in sit-ins to end segregation.[2]

In 1964, McKissack and Patricia Leanna Carwell married, eventually having three children.[2] In the early 1980s, the couple began writing children's books together, focusing on African-American history, which they felt was underrepresented in children's literature. "In those days there were so few books for and about the African-American child ... Black kids needed to see themselves in books."[5]

Patricia had been a teacher and an editor of religious books. She did most of the writing while Fredrick focused on research. She said later, "He was gone most of the time. He was always into an interview trying to scrounge out some little piece of information."[2]

McKissack was survived by three brothers and five grandchildren as well as the couple's three sons: Frederick L. McKissack, Jr., and twins Robert and John.[2]

Selected works[edit]

The seven books below, marked with a double asterisk, were written by Fredrick and Patricia McKissack and are among the 10 works by Fredrick McKissack most widely held in WorldCat participating libraries.[6] (Three are among her 10 most widely held works.)

‡ Beside the two Coretta Scott King Award winners, four collaborations by the husband-and-wife team were runners-up, or Coretta Scott King Honor Books (in the writers category).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography: Patricia C. McKissack". Scholastic Teachers ( Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Fredrick L. McKissack, 73, Children's Book Author, Dies". William Yardley. The New York Times. May 9, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  3. ^ "Fredrick McKissack dies; his writing was a business and a love affair shared with his wife". Michael D. Sorkin. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. May 1, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  4. ^ "Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement". ALA. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  5. ^ 2006 interview, cited in obituary, The New York Times, May 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "McKissack, Fredrick" [Senior]. WorldCat. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  7. ^ "About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards". American Library Association (
      "Coretta Scott King Book Award – All Recipients, 1970–Present". ALA. Retrieved 2015-09-12.

External links[edit]