Dennis Fradin

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General Information

Name: Dennis Fradin

Pen Name: Dennis Brindell Fradin, Dennis B. Fradin

Born: 1945 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: August 29, 2012 in Evanston, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Fradin was born in Chicago. He grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood and Wilmette. He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka and earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1967 from Northwestern University in Evanston. After college, he landed a job teaching second-graders at Faraday Elementary School on the West Side of Chicago. At the time of his death, Mr. Fradin lived in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

The award-winning author of nearly 300 non-fiction books for children and young adults, Dennis Fradin is known for his meticulous research, attention to detail and smooth, graceful writing. Fradin attributes his success in part to years of teaching in the Chicago Public Schools. In order to hold his second graders’ attention at the end of the day, he would spin stories about crayons in distress and birds with broken wings. Such a story caught the attention of an editor who asked him to write a series of books about the United States. The Children’s Press Sea to Shining Sea series launched Dennis’s career as a full-time author.

Dennis Fradin has written children’s books on topics as varied as astronomy, colonial history, slave escapes and scientific discoveries. He has also written biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Louis Braille, among others. Bound for the North Star is a riveting collection of true slave-escape stories. Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement and The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine won the Society for Midland Authors young adult non-fiction awards; Daisy Bates was a Golden Kite Honor Book.

Recently, Dennis has written Let It Begin Here and The Duel, both illustrated by Larry Day. He’s completed two dozen “Turning Points in American History” books for Marshall Cavendish. And, along with his wife Judy, Dennis is now completing a series called “Witness to Disaster” for National Geographic Children’s Books. Four of those books, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Tsunamis, are currently available. The Fradins also wrote 5,000 Miles to Freedom, the dramatic slave-escape story of Ellen and William Craft.

Published Works

  • Hiawatha: Messenger of Peace, Margaret K. McElderry, 1992
  • We Have Conquered Pain: The Discovery of Anesthesia, Margaret K. McElderry, 1996
  • Maria de Sautuola, The Bulls in the Cave, Silver Press, 1997
  • Mary Anning, The Fossil Hunter, Silver Press, 1997
  • The Planet Hunters, The Search for Other Worlds, McElderry Books, 1997
  • Searching for Alien Life, Is Anyone Out There?, Twenty-First Century Books, 1997
  • Sacagawea, The Journey to the West, Silver Press, 1997
  • Samuel Adams, The Father of American Independence, Clarion Books, 1998
  • Is There Life on Mars?, McElderry Books, 1999
  • Bound for the North Star, True Stories of Fugitive Slaves, Clarion Books, 2000
  • My Family Shall Be Free! The Life of Peter Still, Harper Collins, 2001
  • Who Was Ben Franklin?, Grosset and Dunlap, 2002
  • Who Was Thomas Jefferson?, Grosset and Dunlap, 2003
  • The Signers: The fifty-six stories behind the Declaration of Independence, Scholastic, 2003
  • The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution, Walker Books for Young Readers, 2005
  • With a Little Luck, Dutton, 2006
  • Let it Begin Here!, Walker Books, 2007
  • Duel!, Walker Books, 2008


Books written with Judith Bloom Fradin:

  • Wyoming, Children's Press, 1994
  • New Mexico, Children's Press, 1994
  • Massachusetts, Children's Press, 1994
  • West Virginia, Children's Press, 1994
  • North Dakota, Children's Press, 1995
  • Missouri, Children's Press, 1995
  • Minnesota, Children's Press, 1995
  • Maine, Children's Press, 1995
  • Georgia, Children's Press, 1995
  • Oregon, Children's Press, 1995
  • Oklahoma, Children's Press, 1995
  • Delaware, Children's Press, 1995
  • Louisiana, Children's Press, 1995
  • Rhode Island, Children's Press, 1995
  • Puerto Rico, Children's Press, 1995
  • Nevada, Children's Press, 1995
  • Mississippi, Children's Press, 1995
  • Ida B. Wells, Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Clarion Books, 2000
  • Who Was Sacagawea?, Grosset and Dunlap, 2002
  • The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine, Clarion Books, 2004
  • Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy, Clarion Books, 2006
  • Witness to Disaster: Volcanoes, National Geographic Children's Books, 2007
  • Witness to Disaster: Hurricanes, National Geographic Children's Books, 2007
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Benchmark Books, 2007
  • The Salem Witch Trials, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008
  • Witness to Disaster: Droughts, National Geographic Children's Books, 2008
  • Witness to Disaster: Earthquakes, National Geographic Children's Books, 2008
  • Witness to Disaster: Tsunamis, National Geographic Children's Books, 2008
  • Volcano!: The Icelandic Eruption of 2010 and Other Hot, Smoky, Fierce, and Fiery Mountains, National Geographic Children's Books, 2010
  • Tornado!: The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms, National Geographic Children's Books, 2011
  • Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man, National Geographic Children's Books, 2011
  • Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, Clarion Books, 2012
  • The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery, Walker Childrens, 2013

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

Hiawatha: Messenger of Peace

ISBN: 0689505191
Release Date: 1992-09-30

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Wyoming (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038508
Release Date: 1996-03

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Indiana (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516261258
Release Date: 1997-03

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Maria De Sautuola: Discoverer of the Bulls in the Cave (Remarkable Children Series, #2)

ISBN: 0382394704
Release Date: 1997-02

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The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds

ISBN: 0689813236
Release Date: 1997-10-01

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Searching For Alien Life: Is Anyone out there?

ISBN: 0805045732
Release Date: 1997-12-09

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Sacagawea: The Journey to the West (Remarkable Children)

ISBN: 0382394895
Release Date: 1997-09

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Kansas - SSS (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516262920
Release Date: 1998-03

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My Family Shall Be Free!: The Life of Peter Still

ISBN: 0060293284
Release Date: 2001-02-28

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Who Was Ben Franklin?

ISBN: 0448424959
Release Date: 2002-02-18

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Who Was Sacagawea?

ISBN: 0448424851
Release Date: 2002-02-18

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The signers: The fifty-six stories behind the Declaration of Independence

ISBN: 0439495601
Release Date: 2003

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New Mexico (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 051643831X
Release Date: 1994-08

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Massachusetts from Sea to Shining Sea

ISBN: 0516438212
Release Date: 1994-09

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West Virginia (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038486
Release Date: 1996-09

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North Dakota (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038346
Release Date: 1996-10

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Missouri from Sea to Shining Sea

ISBN: 0516438255
Release Date: 1995-03

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Maine from Sea to Shining Sea

ISBN: 0516438190
Release Date: 1995-03

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Georgia from Sea to Shining Sea

ISBN: 0516438107
Release Date: 1995-03

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Oklahoma (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038362
Release Date: 1995-04

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Delaware (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038087
Release Date: 1996-04

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Louisiana - From Sea to Shinin (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516438182
Release Date: 1995-09

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Rhode Island (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038397
Release Date: 1997-10

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Nevada (From Sea to Shining Sea)

ISBN: 0516038281
Release Date: 1996-10

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Samuel Adams: The Father of American Independence

ISBN: 0395825105
Release Date: 1998-04-20

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Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

ISBN: 0395898986
Release Date: 2000-01-17

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Mount Washington (Developmental Reading Assessment)

ISBN: 0673618595
Release Date: 2003

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South Dakota

ISBN: 0613546792
Release Date: 1995-09

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Fight On!: Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration

ISBN: 0618133496
Release Date: 2003-04-20

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Who Was Thomas Jefferson?

ISBN: 0448431459
Release Date: 2003-07-28

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The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution

ISBN: 0802789722
Release Date: 2005-09-01

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The Lewis and Clark Expedition (Turning Points in U.S. History)

ISBN: 0761420444
Release Date: 2007-09-01

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Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words

ISBN: 0802795838
Release Date: 2008-06-24

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Witness to Disaster: Hurricanes

ISBN: 1426201117
Release Date: 2007-09-11

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Witness to Disaster: Droughts

ISBN: 1426303394
Release Date: 2008-09-09

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Witness to Disaster: Earthquakes

ISBN: 1426302118
Release Date: 2008-04-08

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Witness to Disaster: Tsunamis

ISBN: 0792253809
Release Date: 2008-06-10

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Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston

ISBN: 0547006950
Release Date: 2012-08-28

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Literary Awards

Dennis and his wife, Judy, won many awards for their books including:

Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

  • Society for Midland Authors young adult non-fiction award

The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

  • 2004 SCBWI Golden Kite Honor book award
  • Society for Midland Authors young adult non-fiction award

5,000 Miles to Freedom: Ellen and William Craft’s Flight from Slavery

  • One of the Chicago Public Library’s Best Books of the Year
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Blue Ribbon from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence

  • ALA Notable Award
  • ABC Choice Award
  • IRA Teacher’s Choice Award

Volcano!

  • 2014 ILLINOIS READS Book

External Links

Dennis Fradin on WorldCat

Editing

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