Friday, November 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 216

Terrific Trio: Book 3

Picture Book: Thank You, Mr. Falker

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: Little Tricia loved books and couldn’t wait to learn to read. It didn’t happen in kindergarten though she did get to show off her drawing skills. In first grade Tricia couldn’t get beyond the first basic reader so she began to feel dumb. After her beloved grandparents died, school seemed even harder. Reading numbers was hard too. By third grade she was getting teased and called dumb, and by 5th grade she hated school. A classmate, Eric, began to bully her. During recess, Tricia would hide under the stairwell. Her new 5th grade teacher, Mr. Falker, explained that she didn’t see numbers and letters the way others do, but he was determined to teach her to read. After school everyday, she met again with Mr. Falker and a reading specialist who had her doing reading and writing exercises. After many months, she was able to read sentences. Thirty years later, an adult Patricia Polacca met Mr. Falker again and introduced herself. He asked what she did for a living. She was pleased to tell him with much gratitude that she makes books for children.

Hanna’s Comments: This story begins and ends with a family ritual involving pouring honey on a book and declaring that “knowledge is as sweet as honey, but it has to be chased through the pages of a book.” This autobiographical picture book, PBT’s 3rd in a Terrific Trio, again tells the story of one of Polacca’s teacher heroes. This one may have made the most influential difference in her life by protecting her from bullies and teaching her to read. Polacca seems to have had dyslexia or some other type of learning disability. This is a surprisingly common problem among school children that deserves supportive conversation in religious communities where too often differences are viewed as shameful or simply ignored. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Philomel, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Audio download, Audio cassette

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, ancestors/patriarchs/matriarchs, art, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, caring/tending, challenges, community, differences, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, education/learning/school, encouragement, gentleness/meekness, goodness, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, helping, heroes, hiding/isolation, individuality/uniqueness, kindness, language/literacy/reading, loneliness, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mentors/teachers, obstacles, transformation

Scripture Connections: Train children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6); we who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1-2)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to inspire adults in your faith community to make it a priority to encourage and positively influence the children in your family of faith. 

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