Thursday, October 20, 2011

Patricia Polacco Made Me Cry

We were sitting in the bookstore on Pearl Street for over an hour.  My two littles had finished their Ben and Jerry's and we were ensconced in the bottom level, scrunched into those little wooden chairs in the children's section, happily spending our Sunday afternoon reading.  It was like a buffet with everything amazing that you would want to eat, but you never quite got full so you didn't have to stop.  Aidan was devouring the "Asterix and Obelix" series and "Ripley's Believe It or Not".  Chloe was working her way through the Bernstein Bears.  I had just finished "Knuffle Bunny Free" and so was already in a tender state when I grabbed "The Junkyard Wonders" by Patricia Polacco.  Aidan introduced me to her writing when he was in first grade.  She writes really deep and thought provoking stories on a picture book level.  This starts as the story of a little girl in a new school, hoping to avoid the tag of "special" that had followed her in her old school.  Only when she is assigned her class, she again lands with the misfits.  The ones that all don't fit in for some reason or another.  The "normal" kids mock them and call them junk.  But they each have a unique, and brilliant talent, hidden behind various "disorders.  And they also have a teacher who believes in them and fiercely fights on their behalf; who doesn't let them believe the labels given to them and gives them a new name, and wings to fly.  By the time I reached the end and found out whose actual story it was, I was sniffing and blinking furiously to hold back the tears.  Oh my goodness, the power of words...for good, or for evil.

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