Elizabeth Yates, an author of more than 50 books whose works of children's literature won high honors, died Sunday at a hospice in Concord, N.H. She was 95.
One of her most successful books, still in print, told the story of a freed slave who became a New Hampshire farmer. Millions of schoolchildren learned about him from Yates' classic story "Amos Fortune, Free Man," which won the prestigious Newbery Medal in 1951 and the William Allen White Children's Book Award in 1953.
Yates, who became interested in Fortune when she discovered his grave in Jaffrey, N.H., lived in a 200-year-old farmhouse in nearby Peterborough. She often drove to Jaffrey to tell students about its famous resident, who became the town's first benefactor.
Yates also wrote "Prudence Crandall: Woman of Courage," published in 1955, about a pioneering Connecticut schoolteacher who defied the law to open her school to black students.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Yates made her first money from writing in 1929 when she helped her brother Robert compile an account of a summer he spent in the Canadian wheat fields. He sold the manuscript to Macmillan and gave Yates the advance check. She used the money to move to Europe, where she married her husband, William McGreal, and began to write travel articles for such publications as the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.
Her first book was an adult novel set in the Swiss Alps called "High Holiday," published in 1938. Her long writing career extended into the 1990s. Her last book, "Open the Door," was a collection of poems and prose published in 1999.