December 2013


Tennessee Trailblazers

By: Fredrick McKissack and Patricia McKissack

Tennessee history is made real as Tennessee Trailblazersrecounts the lives of four outstanding Tennesseans-pioneer Thomas Sharpe "Big Foot" Spencer, Cherokee leader Nanye-hi, also known as Nancy Ward, singer and pianist Ella Sheppard of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and statesman Cordell Hull. Drawn from different historical periods and ethnic groups, four interesting lives capture many episodes in Tennessee history.


  1. Tennessee Trailblazers teaches us about the lives of four very different and very influential Tennesseans. Describe with your family how each person in the book impacted history for our state and for our nation. How do you think their lives influenced the place you live and the things that you do today?

  2. This year, Bill and I are excited to feature legendary Tennesseans, including Andrew Jackson, David Crockett, Sequoyah and living legends Dolly Parton and Pat Summitt, as part of our holiday decorations at the Tennessee Residence. If you enjoyed learning about the leaders highlighted in Tennessee Trailblazers, you and your family could visit the Tennessee Residence to view the history-themed decorations by reserving a free open house tour, taking place December 2 - December 14. If you are unable to visit the open house at the Tennessee Residence, you could visit my facebook page to see updates about the event and photographs of the decorations.

  3. Tennessee has had many influential leaders and important events throughout its history. You can visit your local library or your school library to check out other books about Tennessee history to enjoy together. This website will help you find a public library near you:

  4. The holidays are special, because they provide an opportunity to slow down and spend family time together. I want to know how you and your family spent time together this holiday season. You can visit my facebook page to share something special that you did together with friends or family.