Patricia and Fredrick McKissack were writers of children's fiction and nonfiction with a particular interest in the African American experience. Patricia received a Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, as well as three individual Coretta Scott King Awards for books co-written with Frederick: A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter, The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, and Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters.
"An ambitious introductory survey. . . . This will be extremely useful as a springboard to books and articles that offer more depth but are less accessible to students." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "The history of medieval Africa, long ignored and distorted, is here given full attention. The McKissacks are careful to distinguish what is known from what is surmised; they draw on the oral tradition, eyewitness accounts, and contemporary scholarship; and chapter source notes discuss various conflicting views of events." --Booklist "Here is an introduction to the medieval history of West Africa, where the great trading cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Jenne (now Djenne) were located, from roughly A.D. 500 to 1700. The text is helpfully illustrated with both modern and historical maps and documents." --The New York Times