We were honored to be able to have her come to our school yesterday, where my daughter attends first grade and my son attends fourth grade. She spent the morning in the library, where classes visited her, and then she had lunch with the teachers, and with parents like me who had helped with the funding to get her to stop in Bedford Hills during her tour of the Northeast. How many people get to say that they have had lunch with Patricia Polacco? (I have to say she was so gracious and such a good storyteller that she made me all misty-eyed about my grandmother!)
Her next stop was the auditorium where she sat in a rocking chair, and all of the fourth and fifth grade classes sat on the floor, chins on their hands.
Did you know that Ms. Polacco couldn't read until she was 14? That's right, she was learning disabled. And the bullying that she suffered from nearly crippled her emotionally.
But she persevered in life, and she didn't start her career as an author/illustrator until she was 41 - she has written all of her 80 books in the past 26 years! She based her hour long talk around two of her books, The Meteor, and The Keeping Quilt, and she managed to cover all the basics of how to be a good human being! Ms. Palacco does as all writer's do, and likes mixing up fact with fiction in her books. ("Just because it didn't happen, doesn't mean it isn't true.")
She brought tangible evidence too - this picture is of her holding up the actual Keeping Quilt, made by her great grandmother out of old clothes from Russia so that everybody could remember where they came from.
Ms. Palacco brought out a piece of the meteor that had landed in her grandmother's backyard that people wished upon. She held her audience in the palm of her hand as she told everyone that they would get a chance to wish on it too, as long as they didn't wish for three things: 1) money (by itself it shrivels your heart) 2) to change other people (kindness is the only thing that can change people, everybody knows that!) 3) things (gadgets and toys and gizmos only make you want more).
She was sensational. Another author to aspire to!