Sunday, October 18, 2020

Children's Authors with Dyslexia - Patricia Polacco

Continuing with my theme of honoring children's authors with dyslexia for Dyslexia Awareness Month, this week I'm excited to discuss author/illustrator Patricia Polacco. Thank You Mr. Falker is her picture book about a girl (the author) who struggles with reading.

See the Classroom Resource Guide for the book published by the International Literacy Association.

The author, Patricia Polacco, did a video interview with Reading Rockets where she discusses her reading challenges and the Teacher Who Changed Everything. Mr. Falker was the first one to realize she had dyslexia and he even paid for her reading therapy out of his own pocket. This short (under two minutes) video is definitely worth sharing with your students.

She created another video discussing her learning challenges and the terrible bullying she endured in school. Her book, Bully, is for children ages 7-10 (grades 2-5). For younger children, ages Prek-3rd grade, she has a brand new book out just this month entitled Sticks and Stones (Simon & Schuster).

Sticks and Stones is about a year in the life of Patricia when she and two friends were bullied in elementary school. It depicts how they found strength in their friendship and in discovering their special talents.

See the video on  Patricia Polacco and Bullying. She talks about her struggles at greater length, the devastating effects of being bullied, and the importance of kindness and acceptance. She states that children with learning disabilities are geniuses. I wondered about that comment at first. Certainly, we can't all be geniuses, but she clarifies this by saying, "We as humans are all gifted, but we don't open our gifts at the same time."

Temple Grandin, the famous animal science professor with autism puts it another way, "The world needs all kinds of minds." Perhaps we all have our own type of genius. 

With that in mind, I will leave you with this thought.

Perhaps our most important job as educators is to help young people discover their unique genius.

See my blog posts on other authors with dyslexia:

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