Happy Birthday Patricia Polacco - July 11
I know that, because of authors and illustrators like Patricia Polacco, my family will close each day with something magical happening. For this I am very thankful.
Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln (one of my daughter's favorites) and The Keeping Quilt. Her website states that her career began at the age of 41 when she started "jotting down the various stories that were rolling around in my head." Her mother pushed her to visit New York to present her portfolio to editors and upon her return home she received the news that she sold most of her work! Upon doing more research, I found that it might be more accurate to say that her career as a picture book author and illustrator began as a child when she used to make "fat cards" for her friend's birthday presents. Unable to afford gifts, Patricia would make wordless books all about her friends that were sewn and bound as books. (DreamJam World Interview, Clip 6).
The Art of Miss Chew, which I have nicknamed "The Must-Reads-for-Teachers Trilogy". All of these stories are true stories about Patricia as a child and her influential teachers. The Junkyard Wonders, makes me cry every time I read it, tells the story of a teacher Miss Peterson and her class of students with special abilities -- not disabilities. Together they learn that just because everyone else sees something as junk doesn't mean that it can't become something very special. Thank You, Mr. Falker, tells the story of the ridicule Patricia endured as a struggling reader and her journey to learning to read. The Art of Miss Chew tells the story of the teachers that recognized Patricia's talent for drawing and stopped at nothing to make sure art instruction was an important part of her education. All of these books are magical and should be read by anyone who works with children.
Patricia Polacco said that it was her grandparents that showed her the magic in every day life. More specifically she said, "We used to watch fireflies come out of the ground in July. Miracle. Absolutely miraculous." (DreamJam World Interview, Clip 4). I thought catching fireflies with my children would be the perfect way to celebrate Patricia Polacco's birthday. However, there was much more excitement than I ever could have imagined from this simple activity.
|We the soaked a paper towel with water and placed it in the jar. This was recommended on Firefly.org to keep the air inside the jar humid for the fireflies.|
|"When the sun was low and the shadows long" we sat on our deck to read When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco. It is a wonderful story about the traditions that grew out of annual family reunions - wiggly jello, baseball games, looking through family photo albums, storytelling, and....catching fireflies.|
|My kids held onto their mason jars during the reading of this book like they were prized possessions.|
|We headed to an open field near a creek that I thought would be a great place to find fireflies. We were a little early, but it didn't take long for a few fireflies to emerge along the creek bed and near the trees.|
|Initially, my kids were very excited about catching fireflies. They were especially excited when we successfully added a few to their jars.|
|But...then a storm started to roll in -- lightning and thunder were in the distance.|
|We managed to gather only about 10 fireflies before my son became scared and requested to go home.|
|Luckily, we left when we did because as soon as we got home it started to hail.|
|The darkness of the sky...|
"I don't think any human, no matter how old they are, don't want to be read to. So, keep reading and you might discover there's some books that you have never read before that you are going to fall in love with along with your kid." (DreamJamWorld Interview Clip 3)
1. Patricia Polacco's Website - Lots of Lesson ideas!
2. Follow Patricia Polacco on Facebook and Twitter
3. Video Interview - Reading Rockets, TeachingBooks.net
4. Patricia Polacco Author Study - Reading Lady, Scholastic
5. Other interviews - Nextgen, TeachingBooks.net
6. The World of Patricia Polacco - Teacher's Guide (if that link doesn't work try this one - click here)
7. Patricia Polacco reads Thunder Cake - DreamJam World on YouTube