Patricia Polacco

All children have gifts, some open them at different times.

Patricia Polacco started writing children's books when she was 41. She grew up in Michigan and Florida. She credits her gradnparents for her gift to storytell. She says that they used to tell all sorts of stories, and that the time listening to her Babushka's stories are what inspire a lot of her imagination to write. One of the beautiful characteristics of Polacco's writing is her integration of multiculturalism. She says that it comes natural from her time in Florida when her neighborhood had, "as many colors, religions, and ideas as there are people on the planet."
Multicultural citizens
Chicken Sunday is a real story about Polacco and her best friend Winston. In the story the friends want to buy a nice Easter gift for the grandmother, so they pull together to come up with a way. This story is a beautiful illustration of how cultural acceptance can be the door to a lifelong friendship.

In my classroom I would use this as a story of friendship, probably at the beginning of the year. I would read it aloud and then discuss what the best friends did together, how they treated each other, and what they meant to each other. I would follow the story with an activity that encouraged and illustrated friendship in the class.

Depending on your focus and use, the story could be appropriate in grades 2-5.

In Our Mothers' House is a wonderful story about adopted children who are loved and parented by two mothers. The story mainly focuses on all the wonderful parts of growing up in that family and house, but there is a subtle touch on the topic of same sex parenting and adoption which are very real situations in our classes that may need to be addressed. The story would be good to read in first or second grade, probably more likely second.

I would use it to talk about family maybe around the holiday season. I know that I would like to focus my students on the love of family and how to appreciate the love and joys that they have special in their homes, and this book could illustrate how even a home completely different from yours can be just as wonderful.

In Our Mother's House recording LIS 5566
Just Plain Fancy is a story of a young Amish girl who wishes to have just one fancy thing in her life. Next thing she knows her and her sister have hatched an unusual chicken and named him Fancy. Through the discovery and revealing of Fancy, the girl learns the that fancy things can be plain, and plain things can be fancy. The story illustrates a bit of the Amish beliefs and lifestyle, but does a good job of focusing on the story at hand. That makes it an easy book for a K-2 read aloud that could be focused on either the different lifestyle, or the message about seeing the beauty and value in everything not only the expensive and shiny stuff.
Emily Gehr- Just Plain Fancy
Welcome Comfort is a beautiful Christmas story about a foster boy whose name is Welcome Comfort. Welcome makes an unexpected friend at school who restores his Christmas spirit. The illustrations are amazing and the story warming. The perfect K-2 read aloud for Christmas time. The book also allows room to talk about bullying and family differences.
The Keeping Quilt is an all time favorite book by Polacco. It is the real story of the actual quilt that has been in Polacco's family for over 150 years. The story is simple enough to read to a K-2 class, and its a fun story to hear. I would use it to start a lesson about classroom community. After the story I would talk about our class being our own sort of family, and how we should create a quilt for our class to remember all the cool parts and special things we do, and we would keep and add to it throughout the year.
Patricia Polacco Shows The Keeping Quilt