Patricia Polacco is making a rare public appearance in mid-Michigan this weekend (Saturday August 28),Â and if you want to see her, you better get there early.Â Polacco will be at Tuesday Books in Williamston where every few years Polacco visitsÂ her hometown. Polacco will talk with fans, and they are rabidÂ fans,Â do a reading and sign books from 1-3 p.m.
The author, who now lives in Union City, is especially popular with teachers who she has often honored in her books. Her most recent book â€œThe Junkyard Wondersâ€Â is based on her actual experiences growing up as a learning-impaired student unable to read or doÂ simple math calculations until that special year when she was 14. Polaccoâ€™s parents divorced when she was young, and she spent the school year in California and summers with her father in Williamston.
At 14, Polacco stayed in Williamston for the school year, and a very special teacher, Mrs. Petersen, came into her life and transformed her and other studentâ€™s lives. That forms the basic premise of the new book. A few years ago, Polacco told me in an interviewÂ that because she learned to read and write later in life, she turned to visual communication which has served her well. She now has illustrated and written more than 70 books. Polacco, who still has trouble reading and putting words on paper, went on to receive a Ph.D. and became an art restorer before turning to writing and illustrating.
In “The Junkyard Wonders.â€ she follows the escapades ofÂ kids inÂ a â€œspecial edâ€ classâ€ who are transformed through the efforts of Mrs. Petersen. Polacco is outspoken about educational politics, and it doesnâ€™t take much to get her going on the topic. She has set several of her books in Williamston and typically runs into old friends while visiting the city. Tuesday BooksÂ is located at 137 W. Grand River in Williamston.