Denise Lewis Patrick

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Introducing A Matter Of Souls

Friends and readers: I invite you to experience my first short story collection for young adults. The idea that all of us are deeply connected is not new for me; I realized long ago that I am as connected to aunts, grandparents and ancestors as I am to the person next door. Initially I thought to pair the stories with some of my poems. Think of the poem I present here as an emotional warm-up to A Matter of Souls.

"In this stirring collection of short stories, Denise Lewis Patrick considers the souls of black men and women across centuries and continents. In each, she takes the measure of their dignity, describes their dreams, and catalogs their fears."
Classic Dreams

who says we
don’t have classic dreams,
when my grandma sat me
in a pink high chair
to sip café au lait
from a demitasse cup?
who says
life is different
for a child whose
prayed on her knees
every morning and
night of her life, never
seen in her house
without her starched apron?
and who ever
in this universe
declared that this woman
…who nursed her children’s
dreams through the ninth ward
and beyond, this
woman who never owned her
own home but
scrubbed the toilets
in countless others…
who stood up
on what mountaintop
and lied to the multitudes
that love and longing stop
at the color line?

Look for A Matter of Souls in bookstores starting April 1, 2014. For a study guide and sample story, go to or

Selected Works

"Word to the Wise," included in an amazing anthology of poetry for children.
Historical Fiction
Cecile Amelie Rey is a free girl of color in 1850's New Orleans. It's an exciting time in her life-- Mardi Gras season, full of parties and balls, is coming up. More importantly, her beloved brother Armand is about to return from two years of study in France. But when she meets a new friend, unexpected adventures begin!
What happens to Cecile, her family, and her friend Marie-Grace as disaster hits the entire city of New Orleans? Find out how Cecile learns to deal with some difficult problems, and learns a lot about her own strengths.
Every person is special, Cecile learns. But what, exactly, is the gift she has to offer her family and her beloved city of New Orleans?
“In a voice strong and true, Patrick’s narrator easily carries the story, winning readers; hearts…”
Kirkus Reviews
Picture Book
“This heartwarming story is just right for intergenerational sharing.”
–School Library Journal
From The Childhood of Famous Americans Series of Books