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Patricia McCord (1943-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

(Pat Rhoads Mauser, Pat Mauser McCord)


Born 1943, in Sacramento, CA; Education: Attended Washington State University, 1961-63, 1964-65, and University of Oregon, 1963-64. Hobbies and other interests: Astronomy.


Agent—Emilie Jacobson, Curtis Brown, Ltd., Haymarket House 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, England.


Writer, 1955—. Formerly worked as a journalist; Boeing Corporation, Seattle, WA, former science, public relations, and technical writer.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Washington State Governor's Award for Children's Literature, 1983, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, 1984, and Mark Twain Award, all for A Bundle of Sticks.



(Under name Pat Rhoads Mauser) How I Found Myself at the Fair, illustrated by Emily A. McCully, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1980.

(Under name Pat Rhoads Mauser) A Bundle of Sticks, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982, revised edition published under name Pat Mauser McCord, Turtle Press, 2004.

(Under name Pat Rhoads Mauser) Rip-Off, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

(Under name Pat Rhoads Mauser) Patti's Pet Gorilla, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

Pictures in the Dark, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Author of "Broadview," a weekly column in Federal Way. Contributor to local magazines; contributor of short story (under name Pat Mauser) to Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens II.

Work in Progress

A book about UFO's; a book about the Venus Project in Florida.


Although writing has been central to her career throughout her adult life, author Patricia McCord was not always a bookworm. As a child growing up in the Pacific northwest, she experienced difficulty in reading due to her dyslexia. Fortunately, by the time she was an adult, she had overcome that problem and in 1980 began her career as a children's book author with her first novel, How I Found Myself at the Fair. While many of her books, including the award-winning A Bundle of Sticks, were published under the name Pat Rhoads Mauser, McCord has since adopted the name of her second husband, Bob McCord, and her 2004 novel Pictures in the Dark was published under her new name.

Drawing from the author's memories of her childhood spent in the small city of Spokane, Washington, Pictures in the Dark deals with the subject of child abuse. In the novel sisters Charlie and Sarah have become accustomed to their habit of hiding in the attic of their house, remaining there despite hunger and fearful of making too much noise. Disturbing their mother usually means a beating of one sort or another, a situation both sisters hope to avoid. After their mother gets a job and the two girls are left with a babysitter named Josephine, their lives suddenly change: like a window suddenly thrown open, they are finally freed to roam the house as they choose. Pictures in the Dark "tackles a very sensitive, yet very real, issue for many children," commented Mariah Palmiero, adding in her Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy review that McCord's story is "filled with emotion that takes the reader into the home of an abusive mother and into the hearts of her two fearful daughters," A Publishers Weekly critic dubbed the book a "psychologically taut novel," while Frances Bradburn wrote in Booklist that Pictures in the Dark is "a poignant, enlightening read."

McCord noted on her Web site: "Being an author means you never have to be bored. As soon as I finish one book, I begin a new one. It can be about anything in this world, or out of this world.

"Not everything I write becomes a book, though. Sometimes I just practice. In my desk drawer are many unfinished books, stories that did not hold my interest long enough or that got stuck in the middle."

McCord also once told Something about the Author: "Having dyslexia, I am not the person one might expect to grow up to be an author. Because of this I have tried to write books that are easy to read, yet interesting and exciting."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 15, 2004, Frances Bradburn, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 1628.

Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 457.

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, September, 2004, Mariah Palmiero, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 77.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 495.

Pierce County Herald, September 16, 1980.

Publishers Weekly, June 21, 2004, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 63.

School Library Journal, May, 2004, Sharon Morrison, review of Pictures in the Dark, p. 152.

Washington State University Hilltopics, October, 1981.


Patricia McCord Web site, http://www.patriciamccord.com (February 27, 2005).

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