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Fradin, Dennis Brindell 1945–

Fradin, Dennis Brindell 1945–

(Dennis Fradin)

PERSONAL:

Born December 20, 1945, in Chicago, IL; son of Myron (an accountant) and Selma Fradin; married Judith Bloom (an educator and author), March 19, 1967; children: Anthony, Diana, Michael. Education: Northwestern University, B.A., 1967; University of Illinois, graduate study, 1968. Politics: Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Evanston, IL. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, Bank Street College of Education, Children's Books of Distinction Award, Riverbank Review, and Smithsonian Book of the Year designation, all 2001, all for Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement; Nonfiction Children's Book of the Year Award, Society of Midland Authors, 2001, for Bound for the North Starlaves; Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 2004, and Carter G. Woodson Award, American Library Association, 2005, both for The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

Cara (fiction), Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

Cave Painter, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1978.

Bad Luck Tony, illustrated by Joanne Scribner, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1978.

North Star, illustrated by William Neebe, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1978.

The New Spear, illustrated by Tom Dunnington, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1979.

Beyond the Mountain, beyond the Forest, illustrated by John Maggard, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1979.

Young People's Stories of Our States, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

How I Saved the World (science fiction), Dillon Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1986.

Remarkable Children: Twenty Who Changed History, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.

Medicine: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Enslow (Hillside, NJ), 1989.

Amerigo Vespucci, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1991.

The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1991.

"We Have Conquered Pain": The Discovery of Anesthesia, McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Louis Braille: The Blind Boy Who Wanted to Read, Silver Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

Maria de Sautuola: The Bulls in the Cave, Silver Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

Mary Anning, the Fossil Hunter, Silver Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.

The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Searching for Alien Life: Is Anyone out There?, Twenty-First Century Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Sacagawea: The Journey to the West, Silver Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1998.

Samuel Adams: The Father of American Independence, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Is There Life on Mars?, McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2000.

(With wife, Judith Bloom Fradin) Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2000.

My Family Shall Be Free! The Life of Peter Still, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Who Was Sacagawea?, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2002.

Who Was Ben Franklin?, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2002.

The Signers: The Fifty-six Stories behind the Declaration of Independence, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

Who Was Thomas Jefferson?, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2003.

Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is a Planet, Mondo (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Fight On!: Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration, Clarion (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, Clarion (New York, NY), 2004.

Let It Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution, Walker (New York, NY), 2005.

The Founders: The Thirty-nine Stories behind the U.S. Constitution, Walker (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy, Clarion (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) 5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft's Flight from Slavery, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2006.

With a Little Luck: Surprising Stories of Amazing Discoveries, Dutton (New York, NY), 2006.

Tell Us a Tale, Hans! The Life of Hans Christian Andersen, Mondo (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Volcanoes, National Geographic, 2007.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Hurricanes, National Geographic, 2007.

Duel!: Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words, illustrated by Larry Day, Walker (New York, NY), 2008.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Earthquakes: Witness to Disaster, National Geographic, 2008.

"WORDS AND PICTURES" SERIES; UNDER NAME DENNIS FRADIN

Illinois in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1976.

Virginia in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1976.

Alaska in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Robert Ulm, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

California in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Robert Ulm, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

Ohio in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Robert Ulm, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

Wisconsin in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

Alabama in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Arizona in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Arkansas in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Colorado in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Connecticut in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, maps by Len Meents, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Delaware in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Florida in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Hawaii in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Idaho in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Indiana in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Iowa in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Kansas in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Maine in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Maryland in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Michigan in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Minnesota in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Mississippi in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Missouri in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Nebraska in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

New Jersey in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

North Carolina in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Oklahoma in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Oregon in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Pennsylvania in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

South Carolina in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Tennessee in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Utah in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Vermont in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Washington in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

West Virginia in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Wyoming in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1980.

Georgia in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Kentucky in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Louisiana in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Massachusetts in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Montana in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Nevada in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

New Hampshire in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

New Mexico in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

New York in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, maps by Len Meents, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

North Dakota in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Rhode Island in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, maps by Len Meents, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

South Dakota in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Texas in Words and Pictures, illustrated by Richard Wahl, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

"DISASTER!" SERIES

Volcanoes, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Tornadoes, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Earthquakes, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Fires, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Floods, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Hurricanes, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Blizzards and Winter Weather, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Droughts, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Famines, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1986.

"ENCHANTMENT OF THE WORLD" SERIES

The Netherlands, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

The Republic of Ireland, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Ethiopia, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

"A NEW TRUE BOOK" SERIES

Astronomy, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Archaeology, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Farming, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Movies, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Explorers, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Olympics, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Pioneers, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Skylab, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

Hailey's Comet, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

Moon Flights, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

Space Colonies, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

Space Lab, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

The Voyager Space Probes, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

Voting and Elections, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

Continents, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1986.

Heredity, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Nuclear Energy, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Radiation, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Space Telescope, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Cancer, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

Drug Abuse, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Cheyenne, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Declaration of Independence, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Flag of the United States, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Pawnee, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Shoshoni, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Thirteen Colonies, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

Earth, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Pluto, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Uranus, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Jupiter, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Saturn, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Mars, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Venus, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Neptune, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.

Mercury, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.

"THE THIRTEEN COLONIES" SERIES

The Virginia Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1986.

The Massachusetts Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1987.

The New Hampshire Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1988.

The New York Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1988.

The Pennsylvania Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1988.

The Rhode Island Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1989.

The Connecticut Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

The Georgia Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

The Maryland Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

The New Jersey Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1991.

The North Carolina Colony, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

The Delaware Colony, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1992.

The South Carolina Colony, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

"COLONIAL PROFILES" SERIES

Abigail Adams: Advisor to a President, illustrated by T. Dunnington, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1989.

John Hancock: First Signer of the Declaration of Independence, illustrated by T. Dunnington, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1989.

Anne Hutchinson: Fighter for Religious Freedom, illustrated by T. Dunnington, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

King Philip: Indian Leader, illustrated by T. Dunnington, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Patrick Henry: "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," illustrated by T. Dunnington, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Hiawatha: Messenger of Peace, McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1992.

"BEST HOLIDAY BOOKS" SERIES

Columbus Day, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Hanukkah, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Christmas, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Valentine's Day, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Halloween, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Thanksgiving Day, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Lincoln's Birthday, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

Washington's Birthday, Enslow (Hillsdale, NJ), 1990.

"FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA" SERIES

Georgia, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

Illinois, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

Massachusetts, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

California, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Florida, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Michigan, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Montana, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

New Hampshire, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

North Carolina, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

South Carolina, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Tennessee, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Texas, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Virginia, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Washington, DC, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Wisconsin, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Alabama, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Alaska, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Arizona, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Colorado, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Iowa, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Kentucky, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

New Jersey, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

New Mexico, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

New York, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Ohio, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Utah, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

Vermont, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Arkansas, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Connecticut, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Delaware, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

Hawaii, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Indiana, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Maryland, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

Maine, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

Missouri, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) North Dakota, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

Pennsylvania, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Washington, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) West Virginia, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Wyoming, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

Idaho, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Kansas, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Louisiana, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Minnesota, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Mississippi, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

Nebraska, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Nevada, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Oklahoma, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Oregon, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Puerto Rico, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) Rhode Island, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) South Dakota, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.

"TURNING POINTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY" SERIES

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2006.

The U.S. Constitution, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Trail of Tears, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

Mayflower Compact, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

Jamestown, Virginia, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Emancipation Proclamation, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Declaration of Independence, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

Custer's Last Stand, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Boston Tea Party, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Battle of Gettysburg, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Alamo, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

(With Judith Bloom Fradin) The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2007.

The Battle of Yorktown, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2008.

The Boston Massacre, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2008.

The Underground Railroad, Benchmark (New York, NY), 2008.

OTHER

Contributor to periodicals, including Highlights for Children, Scholastic, St. Anthony Messenger, and Chicago Sun-Times. Some of Fradin's work has also been published in Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS:

The author of more than two hundred books for young readers, Dennis Brindell Fradin specializes in writing nonfiction titles dealing with historical topics, science, and contemporary discussions of the states of the Union. Contributing to several reference-book series, he examines the territorial makeup of the United States in the "From Sea to Shining Sea" and "Words and Pictures" series, while his books for the "Colonial Profiles" and "Thirteen Colonies" series turn to the nation's political development. With his "Best Holiday Book" series Fradin turns his inquisitive eye to such important days as Christmas and Hanukkah. If such series work were not enough, he has also produced some sixty stand-alone titles dealing with scientific, historical, and biographical topics.

A man who clearly loves his work, Fradin once explained: "I have the time of my life as a children's author. Each day I take about five steps from my bedroom into my office, where I spend my time reading, writing, rewriting, and phoning people for information. Often I travel to do in-person research." In the course of just a couple of weeks in his busy research schedule, for example, he interviewed the ninety-year-old discoverer of the planet Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, for The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, and then went to Puerto Rico, where he saw the biggest radio telescope in the world, for a book on the search for extraterrestrial (ET) intelligence. There he talked to a scientist who was taking part in a program listening for signals that ET's may be sending us. "Can you imagine getting to visit places like that and actually making a living at it?" Fradin once remarked. "Every day I'm thrilled when I think that I became what I dreamed of becoming: a children's author."

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1945, Fradin started writing in junior high school and learned early on to trust his own instincts. "When I was a freshman in high school," the author once noted, "I wrote a science-fiction story that my English teacher said was the best story by a freshman he had ever seen. But then when I was a junior and showed my English teacher some of my stories, he advised me to forget about becoming an author. That was when I realized that if I wanted to become an author I couldn't live and die by other people's opinions but should do it out of my own desire and need to write." Attending Northwestern University, Fradin majored in creative writing, and went on to do graduate study at the University of Illinois. While in college, he married Judith Bloom, herself a writer and English teacher, and from 1968 to 1979, he worked as an elementary school teacher in the Chicago public schools.

While working as a school teacher Fradin finally began to use his writing skills, penning six titles in the "Words and Pictures" series before giving up teaching to become a full-time writer. In these series titles Fradin provides a brief history of each state blended with geography and travelogue in forty-eight pages of text and pictures. Reviewing several titles in the series, Gail L. Gunnesh commented in School Library Journal that "the books are easy to follow and comprehend (color photographs and maps help), and there is no other series for beginning readers." Reviewing the Spanish-language version of the books on California and Texas in the same series, another reviewer for School Library Journal reiterated the fact that Fradin's books are unique for not only the age group but also the language group.

Publishing largely with Children's Press in Chicago, Fradin soon found himself writing in numerous series. His work on the states of the Union led also to his "From Sea to Shining Sea" books. Reviewing one installment, Hawaii, Marcia S. Rettig noted in School Library Journal that the book presents a "clear and concise overview" containing a "readable text" that "holds readers' interest and provides useful information." Reviewing Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts for Booklist, Denise Wilms predicted that the books "will be very useful and especially welcome by middle-grade reluctant readers." Critiquing Fradin's New York in the pages of School Library Journal, Cheryl Cufari found it to be a "simple overview of the Empire State that includes discussion of its history, industries, sites of interest, and short biographies of prominent New Yorkers."

Writing on colonial America, Fradin has also created books on notable Americans of those times as well as books about the original colonies. In The Pennsylvania Colony, for example, he manages to include history, personalities, and individual topics such as Native American relations. "This title is a rare treat," wrote Pamela K. Bomboy in a School Library Journal review, adding that the author writes "with vigor and strength" to provide "an accurate recollection of those exciting days before independence and statehood." In other works, Fradin has tackled the founding of this country, in one example providing an hour-by-hour account of the confrontations that began the War for Independence in Let It Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution. The book "presents quick summaries of the two battles, highlighting a few interesting facts and individuals in the exciting narrative," noted Elaine Fort Weischedel in School Library Journal.

In The Signers: The Fifty-six Stories behind the Declaration of Independence Fradin profiles the men who risked their lives in pursuit of freedom, pairing such celebrated individuals as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin with lesser-known figures like Robert Morris, the Revolutionary War's primary fundraiser, and Oliver Wolcott, who melted down a statue of King George to make bullets. In the words of New York Times Book Review contributor Wilborn Hampton, "there are fifty-six stories behind the Declaration, and Fradin turns each into a miniature portrait with background information, anecdotes, family history and personal idiosyncrasies." A companion volume, The Founders: The Thirty-nine Stories behind the U.S. Constitution, was described by Booklist reviewer GraceAnne A. DeCandido as "another compelling collective biography."

Preparing Samuel Adams: The Father of American Independence, Fradin did a large amount of historical research. "For one thing," the author explained, "I read a very-hard-to-find three-volume, 1,000-page biography of Samuel by his great-grandson. The books were so old that the pages crumbled as I read them. Every day when I was done reading I had to get up pieces of the book with a vacuum cleaner! I also visited many historic sites associated with Samuel in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. For example, I tracked down the site where his house once stood and found out that a skyscraper now stands on the spot. I got to the point that I felt Samuel was an old friend. I just loved doing that book." Reviewers responded well to Fradin's enthusiasm about his subject. "Fradin's carefully researched and detailed account … does much to clarify the importance of Adams's role in history," wrote Shirley Wilton in a School Library Journal review of the biography. Wilton concluded, "This much-needed biography focuses on Samuel Adams as an astute politician, able propagandist, and inspired patriot." Writing in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan commented favorably upon Fradin's "unusually personal and readable afterword," noting that although the author "clearly admires Adams, he doesn't shrink from pointing out the man's flaws." "In this literary portrait," Phelan went on to observe, "Adams emerges as a complex man."

Fradin has also written a biography of another of the founding fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin. In Who Was Ben Franklin? he chronicles the amazingly varied career of a man whose achievements in government, science, and publishing are still considered remarkable. Franklin invented bifocal glasses, the lightning rod, and the Franklin stove. He helped to write the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He served as America's ambassador to France. He founded the country's first public library and first volunteer fire brigade, and established the postal system. "Few historic figures have led a life as varied and interesting," concluded Susan Dove Lempke in Booklist. Noting that Franklin's accomplishments are well presented in Fradin's biography, Edward Sullivan wrote in School Library Journal: "Fradin's anecdotal presentation describes all of the important contributions and inventions the man gave to the world," resulting in "a fun, informative introductory biography that will inspire many readers to learn more about this fascinating man."

Often collaborating with his wife, Judith Bloom Fradin, who sometimes coauthors the works and does the picture research, Fradin is highly professional in his methods. "Each [book] I research extremely carefully and rewrite about five to six times," he once explained. "I also check over all my facts line by line to make sure everything is accurate. So all that keeps me pretty busy. I try not to let a day of the year go by without working. Even when I fly on a plane I'm sure to bring along a book to read, just so the day doesn't go by without me doing any work. Not everything always [goes] smoothly, though. I love colonial history—a topic not too many people seem concerned about today." After all his work on the Adams biography, Fradin initially had trouble placing it, but it was eventually picked up by Clarion and published successfully. "One thing about being a writer," Fradin cautioned, "you often have to keep trying to have success because manuscripts often get rejected." "When I was in school I didn't much like history," Fradin further commented, "but now I love history—maybe because I'm so old that I feel I'm part of history."

Slave escapes have also piqued Fradin's curiosity, resulting in the book Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves, a compilation of over a dozen "compelling narratives of slaves' flight[s] to freedom," as Horn Book critic Anita L. Burkam noted, listing among them the story of heroic Harriet Tubman. A critic for Publishers Weekly described the same accounts as "riveting," and went on to comment that Fradin's use of such accounts "will likely send many readers on to further volumes." Booklist critic Hazel Rochman found the book to be an "inspiring history of those who escaped slavery and their rescuers," and also praised Fradin for his "direct" narrative, "with no rhetoric or cover-up." Critiquing Bound for the North Star in the New York Times Book Review, Theodore Rosengarten thought that Fradin's "gifts for concision, for suspenseful pacing and for pushing his story to the edge of plausibility before drawing it back and letting the reader catch a breath make the stories feel new even to someone well versed in the sources."

Fradin tells the story of one slave in My Family Shall Be Free!: The Life of Peter Still. In the early nineteenth century, Peter Still and his brother were abandoned in the South when their slave mother escaped and fled North. After enduring some forty years of slavery, Peter himself escaped, found his family again, and raised enough money from lectures he gave about slavery to buy the freedom of his wife and children. Reviewing this title in Booklist, Roger Leslie felt that Fradin's book "is an engrossing saga that is both sweeping and intensely personal," and one that "remains strong to the very last page." Toniann Scime, writing in School Library Journal, found the same book "compelling."

In collaboration with his wife, Fradin published 5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft's Flight from Slavery, which recounts an amazing true story from 1848. By disguising herself as a white man, Ellen Craft, a light-skinned African American, traveled to Boston, bringing with her husband, William, disguised as her slave. The fugitive couple made their way to England, where they worked for abolitionist causes, and eventually returned to the United States in 1869. Patricia Ann Owens, writing in School Library Journal, noted that the work "presents the events in [the Crafts'] lives in an exciting, page-turner style that's sure to hold readers' attention."

The Fradins also produced a biography of the great civil rights leader Ida B. Wells, an outspoken African-American journalist and reformer who was involved in the birth of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and who resisted racism of all sorts. Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement is a book John Peters, writing in Booklist, found to be "by far the most moving and complete" of several contemporary biographies. Leah J. Sparks, reviewing the same title in School Library Journal, called it a "stellar biography of one of history's most inspiring women," and one that offers "an excellent overview of Wells' life and contributions." Sparks concluded, "The Fradins' compelling book is one that most libraries will want." Horn Book contributor Anita L. Burkam called the biography "well-substantiated," and also felt that the Fradins "have remained constant to Wells as a person amidst the history."

In The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, the Fradins examine the life of another important civil rights activist. Bates cofounded the Arkansas State Press, a weekly newspaper for African Americans, served as president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, and helped counsel the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who braved harassment to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, observed that "the scrupulously documented storytelling and poignant journalistic photos sharply evoke the experiences" of the individuals at the center of the controversy. According to School Library Journal critic Jennifer Ralston, the Fradins' "compelling biography clearly demonstrates that one person can indeed make a difference."

The Fradins have also partnered on Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy, a biography of the famed humanitarian and peace activist. Addams founded the social settlement Hull House, which provided educational and social services to the needy, on Chicago's West Side in 1889. An outspoken critic of the nation's role in World War I, Addams became the first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Janet S. Thompson, writing in School Library Journal, complimented the authors' ability to establish a context for their subject's accomplishments, "placing Hull House and the activism of Addams and her friends within the sphere of the history they so clearly influenced." In the words of Horn Book contributor Margaret A. Bush, "the Fradins present a complex woman whose ideas are enduring and particularly timely in our day."

Fradin once explained that his favorite kinds of writing are history and science. In the latter category, the author has penned numerous volumes, astronomy and outer space being among his favorite topics. Reviewing his book Astronomy in School Library Journal, Frances E. Millhouser noted that Fradin uses a "personal style" to introduce the many scientists and their important discoveries in the field, adding information about "current research, theories, and trends." Looking into space, Fradin examines planets as well as comets, the colonizing of space, and the possibility for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. For young readers, he provides brief overviews of the planets, including the titles Uranus and Jupiter, which are "very basic introductions to the planets," according to Margaret Chatham in School Library Journal. "The familiar format, with large type and lots of color photos, may appeal to reluctant readers who must do a report," Chatham further noted.

In Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is a Planet Fradin looks at the fifteenth-century mathematician and astronomer who proposed that the earth revolved around the sun. "Readers will come away grasping the concept of intellectual history," a contributor stated in Publishers Weekly. In The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, which contains biographies of stargazers from Copernicus and Isaac Newton through Tombaugh of Pluto fame, the author "makes planetary discovery into an intriguing story with a surprising amount of human interest," in the opinion of Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan.

Fradin has also tackled the question of the existence of other life forms in space in several titles. Is There Lifeon Mars? is a "fascinating, well-researched book," according to Linda Wadleigh, writing in School Library Journal, as well as a book in which the "author's genuine enthusiasm for his subject is contagious." "This fusion of science, history, and popular culture says at least as much about life on Earth as it does about the red planet," observed Randy Meyer in a Booklist review of the same title. For much younger readers, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence "fills the gap between the simplest of introductions and more sophisticated, scientific treatments of this intriguing subject," according to School Library Journal contributor Ann G. Brouse. Brouse also felt that Fradin's "solid introduction to the topic … will lead budding astronomers to more advanced works."

From the laws of the land to the laws of outer space, Fradin has covered a wealth of historical and scientific topics in his works. Writing for both beginning readers and middle graders, he has helped keep young readers informed as well as entertained with his books. "One of the great things about writing is that you can do it at any age," Fradin has remarked. "I plan to be still writing when I'm 100 years old!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 1992, Denise Wilms, reviews of Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts, p. 1023; December 1, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, p. 621; July, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Samuel Adams: The Father of American Independence, p. 1877; January 1, 1999, review of Samuel Adams, p. 782; December 1, 1999, Randy Meyer, review of Is There Life on Mars?, p. 698; February 15, 2000, John Peters, review of Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, p. 1105; March 1, 2000, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 1248; January 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Bound for the North Star, p. 950; February 15, 2001, Roger Leslie, review of My Family Shall Be Free!: The Life of Peter Still, p. 1147, and Hazel Rochman, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 1152; March 1, 2002, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Who Was Ben Franklin?, p. 1132; April 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is a Planet, p. 1361; February 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, p. 967; October 15, 2005, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Founders: The Thirty-nine Stories behind the U.S. Constitution, p. 45; March 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of 5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft's Flight from Slavery, p. 43; October 15, 2006, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy, p. 46; January 1, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of Jamestown, Virginia, p. 88.

Book Report, November-December, 1998, Polly Fanus, review of Samuel Adams, p. 63.

Buffalo News, February 13, 2001, review of My Family Shall Be Free!, p. N12.

Cobblestone, October, 2005, review of The Signers: The Fifty-six Stories behind the Declaration of Independence, p. 45.

Horn Book, May-June, 2000, Anita L. Burkam, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 331; January-February, 2001, Anita L. Burkam, review of Bound for the North Star, p. 108; March-April, 2005, Roger Sutton, review of The Power of One, p. 214; November-December, 2006, Margaret A. Bush, review of Jane Addams, p. 732.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution, p. 416; January 1, 2005, review of The Power of One, p. 51; October 15, 2006, review of Jane Addams, p. 1070.

New York Times Book Review, November 19, 2000, Theodore Rosengarten, review of Bound for the North Star, p. 62; September 29, 2002, Wilborn Hampton, review of The Signers.

Publishers Weekly, December 13, 1999, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 50; November 20, 2000, review of Bound for the North Star, p. 69; March 3, 2003, review of Fight On!, p. 77; February 16, 2004, review of Nicolaus Copernicus, p. 172; November 6, 2006, review of Jane Addams, p. 63.

School Library Journal, March, 1981, Gail L. Gunnesh, review of Arkansas in Words and Pictures, p. 131; December, 1987, Frances E. Millhouser, review of Astronomy, p. 93; January, 1989, Ann G. Brouse, review of The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, p. 70; March, 1989, Becky Rosser, review of The Declaration of Independence, p. 173; April, 1989, Pamela K. Bomboy, review of The Pennsylvania Colony, p. 111; March, 1990, Margaret Chatham, review of Jupiter and Uranus, p. 206; February, 1994, Cheryl Cufari, review of New York, p. 108; November, 1994, Marcia S. Rettig, review of Hawaii, p. 114; July, 1998, Shirley Wilton, review of Samuel Adams, p. 105; January, 2000, Linda Wadleigh, review of Is There Life on Mars?, p. 144; April, 2000, Leah J. Sparks, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 148; November, 2000, Ginny Gustin, review of Bound for the North Star, p. 168; December, 2000, review of Ida B. Wells, p. 53; April, 2001, Toniann Scime, review of My Family Shall Be Free!, p. 158; March, 2002, Edward Sullivan, review of Who Was Ben Franklin?, p. 212; June, 2002, Nancy Collins-Warner, review of Who Was Sacagawea?, p. 120; May, 2003, Jennifer Ralston, review of Fight On!, p. 169; April, 2005, Jennifer Ralston, review of The Power of One, p. 150; July, 2005, Elaine Fort Weischedel, review of Let It Begin Here!, p. 89; May, 2006, Patricia Anne Owens, review of 5,000 Miles to Freedom, p. 145; June, 2006, Jodi Kearns, review of With a Little Luck: Surprising Stories of Amazing Discoveries, p. 174; November, 2006, Janet S. Thompson, review of Jane Addams, p. 158; March, 2007, Esther Keller, review of The Alamo, p. 195.

ONLINE

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Web site,http://www.scbwi.org/ (December 1, 2007), "Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Fradin."

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators—Illinois,http://www.scbwi-illinois.org/ (December 1, 2007), "Dennis Fradin."

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