Pink and Say

Pink and Say

by Patricia Polacco


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399226717
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/28/1994
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 78,069
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.40(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 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 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. 
ReplayGuy on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Pink and Say is a touching story of two boys who fought in the Civil War, one was black (Pink) and one was white (Say). Pink finds Say wounded and helps him to safety. As it turns out we learn more about how much better off Pink is as he and his mother nurse Say physically and mentally. After a tragic turn of events which include death and imprisonment, it is revealed this is a story passed down from generation to generation. A wonderful story of how conflicted even those that fought in the Civil War were.
MalissaLojszczyk on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Sheldon is a white soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is wounded and is found by an African American soldier named Pinkus Aylee. Pinkus carries Sheldon to his mother's house where they nurse him back to health. They are about to leave when Confederate soldiers arrive. The soldiers kill Pinkus' mother and take Pinkus and Sheldon to a prison camp. Sheldon is eventually released from the prison but Pinkus dies there. The book illustrates the atrocities of war and racism.
ashleyahaynes on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Longer, more advanced picture book based on real people. Good book to introduce war and the largely unhappy outcomes associated with it. Discussion of who can make up a family.
ChristinaWake on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Pink and Say is about a young white (Say) and African American (Pink) Union boy caught up in the Civil War. Say is injured in the beginning of the story and is found by Pink. Pink carries him to his home (Pink's) where his mother (Moe Moe Bay) takes care of them. They develop a friendship and lay low until the Confederates come. Moe Moe Bay is killed while the boys hid in a cellar. When the coast is clear, they leave to find their troops once more. They eventually get captured and Say is taken to an internment camp while Say is hanged within 2 hours. Say outlives the war and tell this story to his children who then pass down the story until Patricia Polacco hears it and writes about it. I think that it was a very touching story. I would read it in maybe a 3rd grade classroom or higher. It is a good book to have children relate and have an idea of how war affects individuals.
JMRosecrans on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This was a wonderful book that teachers could use when teaching about slavery. It is the story of two boys in the Civil War working together to survive the war. I enjoyed the illustrations and the idea that it was based on a true story but still was fictional.
hayleyd on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is the best book I've ever read in my life. I hope many people get a chance to read this book. It's heartwarming, honest, and it made me cry. It's about the loving friendship between a black and white man. Check it out some time.
nancyjensen on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Pink and Say are unlikely friends who meet and form a friendship during the Civil War. Both are young soldiers who have been separated from their comrades, one by illness/injury, one by running away. The young runaway learns from his courageous sick friend not only how to read but also how to live and die with honor. Patricia Polacco writes so well about family, friends, personality, places and time periods. I would use this story in the fourth grade as an adjunct book to a social studies unit on the Civil War.
dmckenna on LibraryThing 28 days ago
The story centers on two boys Pink and Say that meet during the Civil War. Say is hurt and Pink takes him to his house to help him recover from his injuries. During the time that they are together they share common interests and Pink had promised Say to teach him to read. Unfortunately this was a war and Pink was taken away and died in a prisoner of war camp. The conclusion is that even though Say's friend Pink had died the story can help preserve his memory and he will not be forgotten.
sriches on LibraryThing 28 days ago
In a true story, Pinkus Aylee, a black Union soldier, finds Sheldon Curtis left for dead and carries him home to be tended by his mother, but when the two boys attempt to rejoin the Union troops, they are captured and sent to Andersonville Prison.
mitchsar on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This children¿s picture book is an excellent tool for teaching history and tolerance in the upper grades. Pink and Say are both soldiers in the Union Army, but one is free and one is a slave. Children of all ages will love the beautiful illustrations and can learn from our nation¿s history.
knielsen83 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I cried my eyes out over this book. I had to read it for my Social Studies class and well.. I just loved it.
AngelaPrice on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This Multicultural Book tells the true story of Pinkus Aylee (Pink) and Sheldon Curtis (Say). Pink finds Say, a fellow Union soldier, wounded in a field and brings him to his mother¿s home. A deep friendship develops as Pink¿s mother, Moe Moe Bay, nurses Say back to health and protects the boys from invading marauders. When Pink and Say attempt to return to their units, they are captured by Confederate soldiers and separated within Andersonville prison. The end of the book describes the cruel fate of Pink and the reason why this book was written.I wasn¿t sure about this book when I picked it up at the library. However, the storyline won me over immediately. This is a wonderful book. I didn¿t realize this was a family story of Patricia Polacco¿s until I read the information at the end of the book. I was in tears as I read ¿When you read this, before you put this book down, say his name [Pinkus Aylee] out loud and vow to remember him always.In the classroom this book could be used to show the young Union soldiers¿ points of view while studying the Civil War. It could also be used to illustrate the bonds of friendship and how one person can make an enormous difference in another person¿s life. This book would be useful to use to begin a discussion on slavery and segregation
jgoitein on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Based on a true and personal civil war story, which has been passed on from generation to generation and the next by author Patricia Polacco's family, Pink and Say is a somber, well illustrated and powerful tale that will move both a young and adult reader for its poignant tribute to interracial friendship. Written in memory of Pinkus Aylee, a young black Union soldier who saved the life of young white Union soldier Sheldon Curtis, this picture book also serves as a reminder of how the horrors of war effect not only the soldiers but the civilians too. As a book of historical fiction, Pink and Say is an excellent book for grades 5 and up to be read during Black History month to illuminated interracial friendship and the personal struggles of African Americans during the Civil War.
lpeal on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is about 2 young boys who are int he war. Their nicknames were Pink and Say. Say gets hurt and Pink helps him out. Pinks mother feeds them both. They get their strength back and want to go back fighting but when they are going toleave they hear soliders so they runa nd hide and the mother gets shot. The boys then go back to the war and get caught and end up ebing priosoners. This is abook that could be used during war units.
ktextor on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This book is a true story based on Patricia Polacco's family who had served in the civil war for the union. It tells the story about a boy who deserts his troops and is shot and found by an African-american boy who also is serving for the union army. The boys go back to Pinks house and his mother takes care of Say until he is better and ready to go back to war. This story is very heartfelt and very realistic. There are some parts in this book that are extremely sad and powerful. It is definitely a must read for students learning about the importance of race, war and coming together and fighting for what's right. Patricia Polacco does a great job of re-telling a family story and the remembrance of a very important person whom without she may not be around.
Warnerp on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Beautiful color illustrations on every page to accompany the emotional text. Won the 1997 West Virginia Children¿s Book Award.
heather_hill on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Pink and Say is a fictional account about two Union soldiers, one white and one black, who form an unlikely friendship when they both get separated from their companies. Say is wounded, and Pink, a former slave, brings him home to his mother to be mended. This story is then recanted through several generations of Say's family.I absolutely love this book! The passages are so descriptive, and the illustrations are impeccable! This story is gut-wrenching and so emotionally raw. I tear up every time I read it.One extension idea would be to have the students write down a tale that has been passed through several generations of their families. They could then tell the class the particular tale and why it is so important to their families. As a second extension, we could read this book after a unit on the Civil War and as a class, write down Union views and Confederate views, and explain why they are so different.
ksmitherman04 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
What a moving account of a two young men during the civil war. Say, a white soldier, and Pink, a black soldier, meet and become friends. They endure hardships, and part ways before the end of the war.
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.