Patricia Polacco

Author Study

Introduction

This is a grades 3-5 author study on Patricia Polacco created for educators to use as a resource to access her amazing children's literature books, which can be found on her site.


She also has a autobiography section on her site, which would be a great read for the class as an introduction to the author before reading any of her books.

Selection of Books by Patricia Polacco

Thank You, Mr. Falker

This book, Thank You, Mr. Falker, is a powerful reflection of Patricia Polacco's own personal struggles with difficulty learning how to read. The story begins with a little girl named Trisha who loves books. Ever since she was young, she had the desire to learn how to read. She soon learns that she has more difficulty learning to read than the rest of her classmates, which hurts her self-esteem and makes her feel "different". However, a teacher named Mr. Falkner gives her renewed hope and encouragement to learn how to read! This text focuses on important themes such as teacher-student relationships and overcoming difficulties.

Pink and Say

This is yet another powerful story written by Patricia Polacco. Pink and Say is a story of a brief, yet intimate friendship between two unlikely friends during the Civil War. It is a story of how a young black soldier rescues a white soldier and from there, create an unforgettable friendship. This book opens the eyes to young readers towards the injustice to slavery, unfair treatment, and the nature of war. Although the book may cause quite a few tears, it has an important heartfelt lesson to be learned on friendship, honesty, and bravery.
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The Junkyard Wonders

The Junkyard wonders is a heartwarming story of young Trisha in a new school in Michigan where she is placed into a special class that everyone calls "The Junkyard". Initially, Trisha is devastated to find out that just like in her old school, she is placed in another special class. However this all changes when she meets her teacher, Mrs. Peterson and her unique classmates. It is in this "junkyard" that she learns the true meaning of being a genius and that all of them (Trisha and her classmates) are all brilliant and amazing individuals. This would be a great resource to introduce into a classroom during the first week of school to set a tone of the classroom. This would be a good read aloud for the class!
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Bully

In our classrooms, we are bound to be faced with situations involving bullys and bullying. In Patricia Polacco's book, Bully, Patricia writes a story of a young girl exposed to bullying in her new school. This book paints a realistic story about what bullying can look like in a school. In this story, Lyla meets a new friend, Jamie, on the first day of her new school. But when Lyla joins the cheerleading squad and recieves recognition for her good grades, the school's most popular group of girls asks her to join them. It starts off fun and exciting for Lyla, but she begins to see how vicious they are to their classmates and decides to leave the group. This leads to a rough start for Lyla as the popular group start bringing trouble on her.

This book is a great resource to begin a lesson on anti-bullying and get students to start a discussion about bullying in school and outside of school (such as cyberbullying).

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Thunder Cake

Thunder Cake tells of a sweet story between a granddaughter and her Babushka, her grandmother from Russia. The story is told in the perspective of the granddaughter in which she tells of the time she spent summer days at her grandma's farm and when her grandma helped her overcome her fear of thunderstorms. As the grandma put it, "This is thunder cake baking weather". This story shows a different perspective to thunderstorms and helps the young granddaughter replace her fear with excitement.

This book could be used to teach weather units and also a language arts lesson on onomatopoeia.

Lesson plan idea:

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/thunder-cake-teaching-plan

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