Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco
Born (1944-07-11) July 11, 1944 (age 75)
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, illustrator

Patricia Barber Polacco (born July 11, 1944, Lansing, Michigan) is an American author and illustrator. Throughout her school years, Polacco struggled with reading but found relief by expressing herself through art. Polacco endured teasing and hid her disability until a school teacher 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. She also wrote such books as Mr. Lincoln's Way and The Lemonade Club.


Early years

She is of Georgian, [1] Russian and Ukrainian-Jewish descent on her mother's side and of Irish on her father's side. [2] [3]

She was born in 1944, the daughter of a teacher and a salesman turned talk show host. Her parents divorced when she was three years old. She, her mother, and her brother went to live at her maternal grandmother's farm in Union City, MI, the setting of many of her stories. Polacco was discouraged in school and did not learn to read until she was nearly fourteen. In junior high school, one of her teachers finally discovered that dyslexia was the reason for her lack of confidence. [4] Although her grandmother died in 1949, when Polacco was only five years old, she appears in several of Polacco's books. [5]

At Oakland Technical High School, [6] Polacco became friends with Frank Oz. She wrote When Lightning Comes in a Jar as a tribute to her grandmother (referred to as "Babushka" in her books), and a cousin. She did not start writing and illustrating her first children's book until she was 41 years old. Polacco resides in her native Union City, Michigan, although not on her family home but on a different property which she purchased which was originally known as "The Plantation". [5]


Polacco has married twice. She had two children, Traci and Steven, with her first husband. The marriage ended in a divorce. Her second husband, Enzo Mario Polacco (m. August 18, 1979), is a chef and cooking instructor. This marriage also ended in divorce.


Other media

Literary Awards

1990 Babushka’s Doll
1992 Chicken Sunday (Nov. 14th 1992 declared Chicken Sunday)
1991 Some Birthday
1997 Video/Dream Keeper
1998 Thank You, Mr. Falker

Articles written about Polacco

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  1. Connecting Holidays and Literature by Deborah Plona Cerbus, Rice/Cer, Cheryl Feichtenbiner Rice Teacher Created Materials, 1992, p94
  2. Patricia Polacco profile Archived 2009-07-08 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed July 7, 2015.
  3. The Trees of the Dancing Goats Archived 2012-04-19 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed July 7, 2015.
  4. The Polacco Farm Archived March 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine .; accessed July 7, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Who Am I? Archived 2006-06-14 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed July 7, 2015.
  6. "School Historical Archive". Patricia Barber Polacco ’62. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  7. 2014 Sydney Taylor Book Awards Announced by AJL, January 21, 2014