Although she struggled in school and was unable to read until age 14 due to dyslexia, she found relief by expressing herself through art. Polacco endured teasing and hid her disability until a schoolteacher recognized that she could not read and began to help her. Thank you, Mr. Falker is Polacco's retelling of this encounter and its outcome.
The early years of Polacco's childhood were spent at her grandmother's farm in Union City, Michigan, the setting for many of her published stories. She now resides on another farm in Union City, originally called The Plantation. It was established in 1859. President Lincoln is rumored to have visited the home during his presidency. A meteorite that fell into the front yard of the Gaw farm "(Meteor!)"is now used as their family's headstone. Although Polacco's grandmother died in 1949, when Polacco was only 5, "Babushka," or grandmother in Russian, nevertheless appears in several of Polacco's books.
After her grandmother's death, the family moved to Coral Gables, Florida, and then three years later to Oakland, California. Polacco's parents had divorced when she was three, and she and her brother therefore spent their early life living in two places: school years with their mother in the multicultural environment of Oakland, CA, and summers with their father and his parents on a farm in Michigan. Polacco had a very difficult time in school and did not learn to read until she was nearly fourteen. In junior high school, one of her teachers finally discovered that dyslexia was the reason for her difficulties. Polacco wrote "When Lightning Comes in a Jar" as a tribute to her babushka, and her Detroit Tiger cousin Billy. Patricia Polacco attended a University, majoring in Fine Art. She received her graduate degree and eventually received a Ph.D. in Art History. Patricia Polacco...