Mrs. Katz and Tush

by Patricia Polacco

This book was published in 1992 by:

Baker & Taylor, CATS

Patricia Polacco was given an Honor Award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice.

Patricia Polacco was born July 11, 1944 in Lansing, Michigan.

She is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children. She struggled in school because she was unable to read until age 14 due to dyslexia; she found relief by expressing herself through art. Polacco endured teasing and hid her disability until a schoolteacher recognized that she could not read and began to help her. Her book Thank You, Mr. Falker is Polacco's retelling of this encounter and its outcome.

Other books by Patricia Polacco Include:

This read aloud is for a first grade classroom.

Mrs. Katz and Tush is a book that focuses in Mrs. Katz's traditions. She is a Polish immigrant. Taking care of an abandoned kitten with his neighbor, Mrs. Katz, leads young Larnell to an understanding of the elderly woman's Jewish heritage and of the suffering and triumph it shares with his own African-American heritage.

Reading of Mrz. Katz and Tush

Mrs Katz and Tush

Patricia Polacco talks about how traditions are passed down through story telling within families.

Patricia Polacco


Kugel: noodle or potato side dish.

Bubeleh: form of endearment (grandma).

Yiddish: language spoken by some Jews.

Kaddish: Jewish prayer.

Passover Seder: dinner for the first celebration of Passover.

Chuppa: a canopy or covering made out of fabric.

Two focus words:

Friendship & Traditions. To introduce these two words the students will help construct a word chain which will enhance their understanding of these words. These two words are what explains the theme of the book. Mrs. Katz and Larnell shared a friendship and with in that friendship she was able to share her traditions with him.

Talking notes:

First the two focus words will be introduced to the students.
They will construct word chains for the words: Friendship and Tradition.
Next, students will listen to the instructor read the book.
While the instructor reads the book, vocabulary will have to be review. Most students won't know the meaning of the six example vocabulary words.
After the reading of the book is complete the instructor can ask the following questions:

How are Mrz. Katz and Larnell's ancestors the same?

How is this similar to the book you read about Ruby Bridges?

What are some holiday traditions your family has?

Does your family have any unique family traditions such as "Pizza Fridays"?

Talk to your shoulder partner about your best friend. Do all your friends have to be your age? Can your siblings or other relatives be your friends?


I selected the book for the read aloud with my CT. She was able to give me input in what might interest the students. The reason why we chose Mrs. Katz and Tush was because it included an African-American boy which is representative of the ethnicity of 45% of the students in the classroom. The second factor was that it included two different races. The third and final factor was that it mention segregation. The students had already studied segregation when they read about Ruby Bridges so we felt it was a good way for them to know that segregation wasn't something that only happened to African-American people.

The only drawback fro this book was its length. My CT and I knew that it was going to be longer than most books they were used to listening to but the content was too good to pass over. They started to get lost in a few places towards the end so I had to stop, elaborate or ask questions to try to get them engaged. I don't think there is much I could have changed but maybe make the book more interactive or read it in two parts.

Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to elementary students has helped me understand their back ground. Most importantly, I think that it helps students feel like they belong in the classroom because they are represented in some sort of way.