#CelebrateLU- March 11, 2016

11 Mar
Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating celebrations of teachers.

As a bookseller, I meet lots of teachers who are passionate about providing the best education to their students. We have great many talks about which books may be used as mentor texts or which books will be engaging enough to get kids excited about reading. We’re thrilled when we can help bring an author to their schools so they can meet the person responsible for the stories they were so enthralled in and maybe see that a career in writing is something they can aspire to.

A picture book creator who comes up a lot as writing wonderful books about teachers is Patricia Polacco. I decided to read her series of books featuring some of the educators that have helped shape her into the person she is today.


Thank You, Mr. FalkerThank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First up is probably her most well known autobiographical tale Thank You, Mr. Falker. Year after year, Trisha struggles with reading. She is taunted and bullied. She herself starts to believe she is dumb. But, in fifth grade, a teacher recognizes her problem and sets out to help her. Months of hard work pays off when she begins to read more easily. In a family where reading has been valued she is glad to finally feel she is part of this tradition. I found the story incredibly touching. I was surprised that it also tackled death and bullying not as topics on their own but as part of life. I’m still on the fence about the family tradition of pouring honey on top of books but I guess it is figuratively and literally sweet.
View all my reviews

The Junkyard WondersThe Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Junkyard Wonders are the students in Mrs. Peterson’s special class. Teased for being misfits they form a special bond. A school project turns bittersweet when they lose one member of their tribe. But grief is mixed with hope when they honor his and value their individual genius in a soaring tribute.
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The Art of Miss ChewThe Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In The Art of Miss Chew, “Theresa” is, on one hand, encouraged to pursue her creative talents but, when her grades slip, the question arises which is more important for her to focus on. It is a sad state when music and arts education is put in the back burner when test scores seem to be more important. It sometimes takes a creative eye to find a solution and we need more people like Miss Chew and Mr. Donovan. We also need to get more people to help teachers because, wow, they are up against a lot of things! Education shouldn’t be confined in the classrooms. (I may have just went on a tangent!)
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Mr. Wayne's MasterpieceMr. Wayne’s Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece tackles the fear of public speaking. Trisha ends up helping with the winter play and soon finds herself as the lead. It’s not a matter of remembering her lines but being able to speak in front of an audience. Will Mr. Wayne’s comforting and encouraging words be enough to help her find her voice or will it be curtains for Trisha?
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An A From Miss KellerAn A From Miss Keller by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As the title of the book indicates, it’s not easy to get An A from Miss Keller. The tough as nails writing teacher pushes Trisha almost to the breaking point to help give Trisha’s words wings. It’ll take an unexpected loss to help uncover another layer (an “emotional connection with the reader”) in her writing. But thankfully Miss Keller believes in her student enough to see in Trisha what Trisha may not see in herself.
View all my reviews

Mr. Lincoln's WayMr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Included in the series featuring “a sextet of teachers from Patricia Polacco,” Mr. Lincoln’s Way is actually based on a principal in Michigan. Here, a trouble-making student catches the eye of the school principal, Mr. Lincoln. He realizes the boy’s rage stems from his home life (of a father who doesn’t want his child interacting with others who aren’t their kind) and sets out to help the boy Eugene by making him in charge of the school atrium and the birds in it. I love the message how school can be a safe place despite what goes on at home. And I know how difficult it is for that to be the case sometimes. A great read with lots of potential talking points with students or school staff and parents.
View all my reviews


I also wanted to take some time to rave about DonorsChoose! They are a great crowd-sourcing site that helps teachers get materials for their students. You can choose which projects to fund. It’s very addicting. I recently got to donate to one of my teacher friend’s projects. If you want to help, here’s a link to her page– or you can choose your own.

What are some of your favorite Patricia Polacco books? Who were some of your favorite teachers?

What are you celebrating this week?


4 responses to “#CelebrateLU- March 11, 2016

  1. crbrunelle

    March 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I really enjoy Junkyard Wonders and Thank You Mr. Falker.

  2. carriegelson

    March 12, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    🙂 This is fantastic Earl.

  3. cvarsalona

    March 13, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Earl, the paragraph Patricia Polacco wrote on the book cover is wonderful and says it all about teachers. Thanks for showcasing this thought. I have many of the books mentioned and read them to students throughout my career.
    Enjoy your day.

  4. Leigh Anne

    March 13, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors! Her life has been influenced by so many teachers. One of my favorites is The Lemonade Club. This book holds a special place in my heart and I think I may just write a post about it. I celebrated Donor’s Choose today too. Great organization for teachers.


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