Patricia McKissack, noted author of children's books, dies

AP News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2017 11:40 AM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Patricia C. McKissack, a prolific author of children's books on African-American history, folklore and stories, has died. She was 72.

McKissack, of the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, collapsed Friday at a restaurant where she was having dinner with the eldest of her three sons, Fredrick McKissack Jr. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2oU9tOh ) reports she was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead of cardio-respiratory arrest.

McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack, published more than 100 books. Fredrick McKissack Jr. said his parents shared a "missionary zeal" to write about African-American characters "where there hadn't been any before."

Patricia McKissack's "The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural" won a Newbery Honor and the King Author Award in 1993. That year she and her husband also won a King Honor for "Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?"

Her latest book, "Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!" came out in January, a collection of rhymes, songs and more from African-American childhoods.

Patricia McKissack was born on Aug. 9, 1944, in Smyrna, Tennessee. She taught English and became a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing before turning to writing, along with her husband, a civil engineer.

After he died in 2013, she told the Post-Dispatch that although her name was the only one on most of the fiction titles, they shared in the work.

"We were a team," she said.

Funeral arrangements are pending. In addition to her three sons, McKissack is survived by a brother and a sister.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com