Patricia Beatty, an award-winning author whose children's books evoke a sense of the nation's history, died at Riverside Community Hospital after a brief illness. She was 69 and her family did not release the cause of death.
Ms. Beatty, who died Tuesday, gained national recognition for her historical novels for young readers, including "Lupita Manana" and "Charley Skedaddle."
Her first book, "Indian Canoemaker," was published in 1960. Her 50th book, "Jayhawker," about a boy abolitionist during the Civil War, is due out this fall.
She won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award in 1972 for "Lupita Manana."
Two years later, she won the Distinguished Body of Work award from the Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People. She also was a two-time winner of the council's prize for distinguished fiction.
Most of her books are set in America and written for children ages 10 to 14. She also wrote an adult Gothic novel ("The Englishman's Mistress") under the pseudonym Jean Bartholomew in 1975 and a series of books with her late husband, Jean L. Beatty, set in old England.
Ms. Beatty began writing children's books when she was a librarian with the Riverside County Library. She once described her characters as very self-reliant.
"The girls are spunky. The boys are strong. They do things. They don't have adults solve all their problems, and they say what they think," she said.
Ms. Beatty graduated from Reed College in Portland in 1944 and taught school three years in northern Idaho.
She was a technical librarian in Wilmington, Del., before joining the Riverside Public Library in 1953. She later taught creative writing at area colleges.
She is survived by her second husband, Carl Uhr, a daughter and two grandchildren.