Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Dennis Fradin  

Pen Name: Dennis Brindell Fradin, Dennis B. Fradin

Genre: C:CHILD Non-Fiction

Born: 1945 in Chicago, 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 250 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 Expand for more information