Thank You, Mr. Falker

Thank You, Mr. Falker

by Patricia Polacco
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Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book writers and illustrators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.

Now this inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition with a personal letter to readers by Patricia Polacco. Thank You, Mr Falker will make a great end-of-year gift for the special child who needs encouragement-or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child's life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399257629
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/12/2012
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 21,840
Product dimensions: 7.28(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile: AD650L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 8 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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Thank You, Mr. Falker 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
AshleyWright More than 1 year ago
Thank you, Mr Falker by Patricia Polacco was a really lovely heart felt book. This book feels so honest and real. This book teaches about the struggles and the frustrations students face when learn a new curriculum but also the accomplishments and the gratitude that follows after students have become knowledgeable and successfully learned in the end. A good book for all ages.
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Mr_Leonard More than 1 year ago
This book nearly always brings me to tears. The autobiographical nature of the book, the difficulty so many children have with reading, and the portrayal of how cruel children can be all get me emotional when I read this to my class. I was a struggling reader as a child, though no one ever tormented me in a way similar to Patricia Polacco's main character. I always read this book to my class each year because of my experiences, and as a way of reassuring my students that we aren't all perfect at everything we do. I want all of my readers to feel comfortable that it's okay to struggle a bit with a text, and that they are supported in my class by all members of our learning community. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Thank You, Patricia Polacco for bringing a voice to so many who've struggled with reading. I'm so glad you decided to write. My own struggles inspired me to get my reading specialist credential, and a masters degree in teaching reading. I'm sure this book will inspire many more children and adults to stick with reading until it clicks for them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl who struggles with reading for longer than any teacher or parent would want to see. The illustrations show the emotions of the characters and are extremely colorful. This is a great read aloud book for children just starting out on their reading journey or children who have struggled or are still struggling. It is also a feel good book for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you Mr. Falker is about Patricia and Mr. Falker. In school Patricia has a problem. She didn't know how to read and the other kids were making fun of her. My favorite part was when she opens up a book and discovers she can read a paragraph by herself. I would recommend this book to teachers, students that struggle with reading, good readers, and fans of Patricia Polacco. This book is heart-warming. I give it 5 stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought Thank you, Mr. Falker was a great book. I wouldn't say it was a terribly sad book because it was happy at the end. It was sad when Tricia thought she was dumb. It wasn't fair for people to hurt Tricia in such a way that it would make her feel dumb. At the time in the book it made me stop and think how it would make me feel if someone called me dumb. I know I would't like it. It was amazing how Mr. Falker could help Tricia, and make her be able to read. It is so cool how Patricia Polacco started out not being able to read, and how well she writes books now. I enjoyed reading Thank you, Mr.Falker.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was extraordinary. It was sad but had some good parts too. The beginning of the book was a surprise because I learned that she could not read. The middle was very sad because Trisha found out she was different from the other kids. In the end, her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Falker, helper her with reading and she never forgot what her grandpa taught her about the honey even though he went up to the stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was extraordinary!!! It was very powerful and it was good about describing her life as a child. Trisha, the girl in the story, had a disability so she couldn¿t read or write. Everybody teased her because of that, but later in the book she overcomes that disability with the help of her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Falker. I recommend this book to anybody that likes reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! It gives a first hand account of what it is like for a child to go through school with a reading challenge like Dyslexia. I highly recommend it for all parents to read to their children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not expect to get emotional reading this children's book to my daughter that she got from her school library. If you remember that kid that was teased or were teased yourself you will feel for this girl and the triumphant end is totally surprising.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A girl in my class two years ago read this book to our sixth grade class and I fell in love with it! It was really inspirational! I think that even though this is a picture book, It is as strong as the thickest novel! It really has an amazing message too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patricia Polacco is a master. Her stories always strike a chord in my heart, but this is especially touching as a fictionalized account of Patricia's own shame and struggle with learning disabilities. Another theme of this book not to be overlooked is the devastation of childhood bullying. A must for teachers, but wonderful for any reader of any age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As most people have mentioned, this book is powerful and moving. A former teacher myself, I see the value of telling a story about learning disabilities and how good teachers can help students overcome them. But with that said, the writing still isn't very good. There are many awkward passages, and Patricia Polacco immediately dates the book by setting it when it happened, however many years ago that was. Just because it's autobiographical doesn't mean it can't be modernized to appeal more strongly to today's children. The dialogue is also badly forced and rarely sounds natural. So, a mixed review is appropriate. The story is worth four or five stars, but the words themselves are worth one or two. That's a shame, because this could have been an immediate classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding book. My student teacher's last day with my class, we read Thank You Mr.Falker. He started to cry.I just really really love this book. Go to the library and check this book out. Hopefuly you will buy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was good. I enjoyed this book through the eyes of my son Ben--inspirational!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
wen i was in 5th grade we had a librarian come to our school and read to us wen she brought out the book and i saw the cover i thought omg wat does she think she is doing we are in the 5th grade not 1st and then wen i heard her read it i started to cry. U have to check out this book it is awsome. and also dont judge a book by its cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was given to me by my daughters principal to read. She warned me, yet I still was unprepared for the tears that I would shed. When the little girl makes it to 4th grade and is still unable to read it is heartbreaking, then when she moves and meets an amazing teacher that works with her and teaches her to read, it is heartwarming. This book was so so moving that I recommend it for anyone of any age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On one of my mother's numerous visits, she insisted that we go to Barnes and Noble because I HAD to read this book by Patrica Polacco. She dragged me to the kids section (I am now 21 years old), sat me down, and stood over me while I read it. Well, the tears started to flow! The universality of her story is incredible. It applies to all ages and can inspire those having difficulty reading and those who take advantage of their skill. I have always found joy in the worlds that books create, and Thank You, Mr. Falker captures that joy vividly. Thank you, Patricia Polacco for writing this inspirational tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Patricia Palacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker the author created a story that was very heart touching. This story was one that many regardless of age could make a personal connection too. The story triggered feelings of helplessness, sadness, frustration,hope, and happiness amongst many other feelings. I found that i was able to make a persoanl connection to this story because i have had many struggles in my life that i have overcome through the guidance of believing and also support of family and friends. This story helped me to realize how important my role as a teacher in the lives of each student is. We the teachers are the molders of our Lawyers, Doctors, Presidents, Vice President, and the list goes on and on.... (Teachers Role- is just not a respected profession even though we wear many different hats in the lives of these kids.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was read to me and the 2nd through 3rd grade staff of my school. As a teacher, myself, I feel she has captured the true essence of teaching and caring. I must say, I cried. It is a great read aloud book and one that must be added to your collection at school and at home. This one's a keeper!!