Patricia Polacco's books have been Dream Jam Book Club selections from the beginning. The very first book we selected was the charming, When Lightning Comes in a Jar about a family reunion and catching fireflies. It was an unusual choice for us because like many of Patricia's picture books, it is quite a bit longer than most, however, the children were captivated and so, her books have become cherished in Dream Jam World.
Many of her stories are reflections of her childhood and especially the bond between young and old. As a child, Patricia learned much from her Babushka (grandmother) and remembers those days as the most magical time of her life.
Life was not always magical for Patricia. She has dyslexia and other learning disabilities and did not read until she was 14 years old. She was terribly bullied as a child until a wonderful teacher recognized her learning disabilities and guided the process that led to remediation. Like much of her magical life she has become one of the most prolific and successful author/illustrators, with more than 50 books, including Thank You, Mr Falker, which tells the story of the teacher who changed her life. Her book, The Keeping Quilt, has become a children's classic.
We met in her hotel room, while on one of her frequent road trips. She had been illustrating an upcoming picture book about bullying, a subject that tears at her heart. As an advocate for anti-bullying, Patricia expressed her dismay at a new form of bullying called, "cyber bullying" and her plan to complete and promote the new book, which addresses the growing problem.
As we sat down for the interview, Patricia quickly shifted her focus to her childhood experiences that led to her unlikely but amazing career as an author/illustrator. "All inspired thoughts come from the voice inside you" she began...and so Patricia speaks with passion and honesty. This compelling interview is an intimate visit, with an extraordinary woman. With the actual "keeping quilt" in hand, and a bitter-sweet tone, she announced that the quilt was on it's way to a permanent home in a museum, where it would only be seen behind glass...but today, we were able to see it and touch it and hear about it's 150 year journey and all it has meant to Patricia, her family and the thousands of children who have been touched by it.
Coming full circle, Patricia takes on the role of wise elder in her own family and in all of our families as her books continue to inspire and delight.
Cori’s Corner: Patricia Polacco
Interviewed by Cori Chertoff
Videotaped and Edited by Nicky Kulund
|Dan Yaccarino||Patricia Polacco||Julia Donaldson||Helen Lester|
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