naacp post dispatch

Authors Patricia and Fredrick McKissack are included on the NAACP’s list of “100 Most Inspiring St. Louisans,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Patricia C. McKissack is on her soapbox. It’s the one she gets on time and again when she has a chance to talk about the importance of reading.

“It is the doorway to freedom. If you can read, you can overcome about any obstacle,” said McKissack, who has been writing children’s books since 1981, including last year’s “Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters and other Wily Characters.”

Sometimes her husband, Fredrick McKissack, serves as co-author. Often, he is researcher. In some fashion, they have collaborated on about 100 books, many of them well-received and well-reviewed, notably, “Black Hands, White Sails.” Patricia McKissack said there was a void in children’s literature — the African-American experience.

“People ask me: ‘Do you write about anything else?’ I still could not write all the books that could be written. Things have been marginalized. Our work is cut out for us.”

They work out of their Chesterfield home, shouting ideas from one room to the next. Their next book will probably have a science fiction story line. Their son, John Patrick, an engineer, is serving as a consultant.

Who inspires McKissack? The children she writes for. “They keep me going. They keep me grounded, open up doors that we as adults closed long ago.”