Patricia C. McKissack, 1944 - Patricia C. McKissack was born on August 9, 1944 in Smyrna Tennessee. After her parents divorced, she went to live with her grandparents in St. Louis. Years later, she moved back to Tennessee with the rest of her family and made the reacquaintance of her old friend Frederick. They both attended Tennessee State University, where Patricia graduated from in 1964 with a Bachelor's Degree of Arts in English. She went on to receive her Master's in Early Childhood Literature and Media Programming at Webster University in St Louis in 1975. After college, Patricia worked as a junior high English teacher and a children's book editor, but she didn't truly enjoy either job. One day her husband asked her what she'd really like to do and she said, "Write books." They have been collaborating together on books ever since the 80's, writing over a hundred books. Frederick does the research and Pat does the writing, with subjects ranging from racism, the Civil War, slavery and biographies of famous African Americans. Pat writes fiction on her own. Patricia has won many awards, including the 1993 Newberry Honor Book Award for "The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural," the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award, the Caldecott Medal for "Mirandy and Brother Wind" and the 1998 Virginia Hamilton Award for making a contribution to the field of multicultural literature for children and adolescents, as well as the NAACP Image Award for "Sojourner Truth."
Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator, was born August 28, 1961. He has received the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations, three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and in 1997, he won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for his book, The Adventures of Sparrowboy. He has also won two Caldecott Honor awards for his illustrations with the books: The Faithful Friend, by Robert D. San Souci, and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Pinkney primarily uses the scratchboard illustrative technique with most of his books. Pinkney lives with his wife, Andrea, and their children in Brooklyn, New York.