Denise Lewis Patrick

Natchitoches is known for its Festival of Lights, held each year during the first weekend of December.
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Denise Lewis Patrick was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She attended local schools and earned a degree in Journalism from Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 1977. That same year, she moved to New York City. She has been both a writer and editor in various areas of the publishing industry, particularly for children.

In addition to being a published author, Denise is an adjunct professor of writing at a local college. She’s also worked with budding writers in an afterschool program, has managed middle and high school writing programs.

When I visit schools, there are two questions children always ask:  ‘What’s your favorite book that you wrote?’ and ‘What’s the most important thing to do if you want to become a writer?’  

Now, the answer to the first question is hard. Nearly everything I write is autobiographical in some way.  There’s a little part of me, or something I’ve experienced directly (or that happened to someone else I know) in all of my work. I always change the story a little, and change the names up. So my characters almost become brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles to me—and sometimes children, though I do have real ones.

And the answer to the second question is soooo easy. If you want to be—or become a writer, read.  That’s right, read everything. Read all the time! Think about the world, and all the other people who live in it! Then you can start creating worlds of your own.”

Selected Works

Middle Grade
When Melody takes on the challenge of beautifying her beloved neighborhood, she learns about friendship, family, and being a leader.
In 1960s Detroit, music-lover Melody Ellison learns to lift her voice for justice and equality.
Reesie Boone, her family, friends and home town of New Orleans endure and survive Hurricane Katrina.
Y/A Historical Fiction
From the shores of Africa to the bowels of a transatlantic ship to a voting booth in Mississippi to the jungles of Vietnam, all human connection is A Matter of Souls.
"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-- when she meets a new friend, unexpected adventures begin!
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