Pink and Say

Pink and Say

by Patricia Polacco
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Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

When Sheldon Russell Curtis told this story to his daughter, Rosa, she kept every word in her heart and was to retell it many times.
     I will tell it in Sheldon's own words as nearly as I can.

He was wounded in a fierce battle and left for dead in a pasture somewhere in Georgia when Pinkus found him. Pinkus' skin was the color of polished mahogany, and he was flying Union colors like the wounded boy, and he picked him up out of the field and brought him to where the black soldier's mother, Moe Moe Bay, lived. She had soft, gentle hands and cared for him and her Pink.

But the two boys were putting her in danger, two Union soldiers in Confederate territory! They had to get back to their outfits. Scared and uncertain, the boys were faced with a hard decision, and then marauding Confederate troops rode in.

In this Civil War story passed from great-grandfather to grandmother, to son, and finally to the author-artist herself, Patricia Polacco once again celebrates the shared humanity of the peoples of this world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399226717
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/28/1994
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 48,503
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 9 Years

About the Author

"I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City, Michigan.

"I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

"My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

"The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks. My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

"To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our font yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

"Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.


"In 1949 we left the farm to move, first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California. I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

"It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin. When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. I had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact, most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

"I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

"I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and


"Now that I have moved back to Union City I am intending to open my house and community and invite people to come there to take part in writing seminars, story telling festivals, literature conferences and various events that celebrate children's literature."

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"

Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.

The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Pink and Say 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
gjo50 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of two Union soldiers who find each other, injured, on a battlefield in Georgia. Say is white and Pink is black. Pink carries Say to the home of Pink’s mother to recover from his injuries. Pink and his mother’s selfless gifts shine throughout the story. Pink’s mother dies at the hands of marauders, then, when Pink and say are captured, Pink is hanged. This is not a picture book for early childhood. This story gives early elementary students a close view of the war, inequality, and life during the late 1800s. It opens the door to discussions of racial inequality, but also reasons why Say never learned to read. It is heart rending and beautifully told through the voice of a descendant of Say. Everything Polacco writes is excellent, and this is an outstanding example of her gift. Though this is a second hand story, it is one handed down through Polocco's family, making it an excellent example of literary/narrative non-fiction. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite children's book! I used this book to help me teach the Civil War to my fourth grade class. Patricia Polacco does a beautiful job of depicting the relationship between two young boys on opposite sides of a the war. I never finished reading the book without tears coming to my eyes. We are expecting a grandson son and this was a must have book for his library.
Codex26 More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this book back in elementary school after seeing it on reading rainbow. It is about friendship between two soldiers, one black and one white, during the time of the Civil War. It is such a great story that every parent should read to their children! It will definitely leave a lasting impression. It might even make you cry!
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Eothelibrarian More than 1 year ago
Living in Manassas, Virginia, where the Civil War began, I found Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, one of the best, if not THE best Civil War book to read to students at my schools. I have read it to children in elementary school as well as in high school and they were all fascinated by the story of the two young boys who were fighting in the war, a war that happened just a mile or few from where they were then sitting. I can never read it without my voice breaking as the story, so true, is equally as sad. At the end we all touch hands. Read the story and you will find out why.
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Seeker_of_Knowledge More than 1 year ago
As my son and I read this story we learn some of the realities of the war back when black people did not have any rights and were treated like property. We also saw how people can be good and kind despite what their circumstances are and go beyond for the sake of others. The author of this book did a good job bringing this ideas out for the readers to see and understand.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Pink and Say was a great book about the difficulties of the Civil War. I was so touched and sad. I was even sadder when I heard this story was true. I think it was amazing that Say survived the war considering that he was shot and captured. I think that this book is good for all ages of people that can read. Everyone should read this book that understands war. Patricia Polacco did a great job of telling us the story in detail. I hope you read the story Pink and Say which is written in memory of Pinkus Aylee
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a heart warming story about two boys named Pink and Say. Pink was a ¿colored¿ boy, Say was not. They both were fighting too end slavery. Pink lost his unit and Say ran away from his. Patricia Polacco did a great job with this book even though it is sad at the end. This book taught me that slavery is a sad and terrible thing. I recommend it for all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book. My teacher read it to the class as an introduction to slavery. It helped me understand more how it felt to be a slave, and the hardships of the Civil War. This book was heartfelt, and very emotional. It almost made me cry, since it's so sad, but it isn't one of those 'Oh, the mom died. Boo-hoo.' kind of books. The author, Patricia Polacco, really gets you into the feel, with her descriptive words and her dialogue. Pink and Say is a great book for ALL ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, 'Pink and Say' by Patricia Polacco, is nonfiction. It is a true story about the Civil War. Pinkus Aylee and Sheldon Curtis wanted the Civil War to be over so that slavery would end. When that happened, the two friends could go home. They were captured by the Confederate Army and brought to Andersonville, a concentration camp. Pink was hung and Say was released soon after the war was over. Say went home and retold the story to his family, who passed it onto other generations until it reached Patricia Polacco. She wrote this book about her ancestor, Sheldon Curtis. I recommend this book to anyone who is older than eight. The book is somewhat violent and young children might not understand it. 'Pink and Say' was a real page-turner because it was suspenseful. I was surprised to read about Andersonville and the deaths that occurred there. Patricia Polacco kept her words alive by providing vivid illustrations that brought out the story. 'Pink and Say' is a book that teaches us that although the color of our skin does not matter, friendship does.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book 'Pink and Say' by Patricia Polacco. 'Pink and Say' is a nonfiction book about slavery and the Civil War. Pinkus Aylee and Sheldon Curtis wanted slavery to be over and to be able to live in a safe country. The boys were captured and sent to a concentration camp where Pink was executed. Say was released when the war ended. Say passed the story onto other generations. Patricia Polacco, a relative of Say, wrote this book in memory of Pinkus Aylee. I would recommend this book to people who are at least eight years old because slavery is violent and anyone who is younger might not understand the subject. 'Pink and Say' was a page-turner because every page left you wondering about what was going to happen next. I was curious if the boys would survive. They seemed to always be in danger of marauders and being captured by the Confederate Army. When Pink and Say were separated at the concentration camp, they never knew if they would see each other again. 'Pink and Say' is an excellent book and I hope others have the pleasure of reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the fifth grade this book was read to me and now as I am currently a sophmore in college I still consider this book to be my absolute favorite book. I don't think that there needs to be an age limit to this book. Patricia Polacco makes a true story come to life in each and every page. It is a must read!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have used this trade book as a supplement to the history lessons covering the Civil War. It greatly humanizes the connection of negroes and whites, and touches a part of the Civil War the textbooks don't, human connection. My kids all love it, they cry openly...and they are middle school age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 14 years old,and this is still my favorite book in the whole wide world.It teaches meaning and gives morals for life.It reminds us of our background and where we came from. I can really appriciate this book.But don't take my word for ,read it and decide for your self.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A sad moment in our country's history is brought to life in this moving book about friendship, and the way in which it transcends race, time, and tragic events. I read this book to a roomful of teachers, and there was not a dry eye in the room at the end of the story. This is a must-read for students third grade and up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was certainly a moving story! Pink and Say showed many emotions. When I read this book, I was touched because it really made me feel like I was one of the characters in the story. I liked this kind of a story because I could relate to the feelings that the other characters¿ were having, and how they looked at the world through their own eyes. Also, I liked this story because it related to real life. It talked about some things that happened in the war and some of the facts that were in the story happened in real life with real people. If you are interested in action, strong feelings, and books about a love that is strong, I would defiantly read the book Pink and Say.