Discover the 11 Best Patricia Polacco Books

If you’re looking for children’s books that are both engaging and heart-warming, look no further than Patricia Polacco. With over 115 books written and illustrated, Polacco is a prolific author whose works are beloved by children and adults alike. In this article, we’ll delve into her life and career, explore her unique art and storytelling style, and recommend her top books that you simply must read.

Discover the 11 Best Patricia Polacco Books

The Life and Career of Patricia Polacco

Early Life and Inspiration

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Her childhood was not an easy one, as she struggled with reading and was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. Despite this, Polacco found solace in the stories her family shared about their Ukrainian and Russian Jewish heritage. These stories were passed down from generation to generation and were an important part of her family’s history.

Polacco’s family was very close-knit and spent a lot of time together. Her grandparents, in particular, were a source of inspiration for her. They were both immigrants and had experienced many challenges in their lives. However, they never lost their sense of hope and optimism, and this was something that Polacco admired greatly.

As a child, Polacco was also fascinated by art. She loved to draw and paint, and spent many hours creating her own artwork. Her parents encouraged her creativity and provided her with the materials she needed to pursue her passion.

After college, Polacco briefly worked as a farmhand in California before pursuing a career in art. She earned a degree in Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in Art History, spending time teaching at both the high school and college level. During this time, she continued to create her own artwork and also began to write stories.

Becoming a Children’s Book Author


It wasn’t until the death of her mother that Polacco truly considered becoming a children’s book author. She realized that the stories her family had passed down to her were not only important to her family but could also teach valuable lessons to children. She began to write down these stories and eventually turned them into children’s books.

Polacco’s first book, “Meteor!” was published in 1987, launching her career as a children’s author. Since then, she has written and illustrated over 115 books, with many more to come. Her books are known for their heartwarming stories and beautiful illustrations, and have been beloved by children and adults alike.

Polacco’s writing is deeply personal and often draws on her own experiences. Many of her books deal with themes of family, friendship, and overcoming adversity. She has also written books about historical events, such as the Holocaust, and has used her writing to promote understanding and empathy.

Awards and Recognition

Polacco’s work has garnered widespread critical acclaim and numerous awards. In 1992, she received the Newbery Medal for her book “The Keeping Quilt.” This award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Polacco has also received the Christopher Medal, which is given to works that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit,” and the National Jewish Book Award, which recognizes outstanding works of Jewish literature.

Despite her success, Polacco remains humble and grateful for the opportunity to share her stories with the world. She continues to write and illustrate books, and her work continues to inspire and delight readers of all ages.

The Unique Art and Storytelling Style of Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is a renowned author and illustrator known for her unique style of storytelling and illustration. Her works are a reflection of her diverse cultural experiences and rich family history. In this piece, we will explore the various aspects of Polacco’s work that make her stand out as a writer and artist.

Illustration Techniques

Polacco’s illustrations are a blend of various techniques, including watercolors, pen and ink, and collage. Her use of mixed media adds depth and texture to her illustrations, making them come alive on the page. The combination of different techniques also reflects the diversity of cultures and experiences that inspire her work.

Polacco’s illustrations are not only visually stunning but also serve as a way to enhance the storytelling experience. Her illustrations often provide additional context and detail to the narrative, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story fully.

Themes and Messages in Her Stories

Polacco’s stories are not just entertaining but also offer valuable lessons and insights into different cultures and experiences. Her works often explore themes of family, heritage, and identity, providing readers with a window into different ways of life.

One of the most prominent themes in Polacco’s stories is the importance of empathy and understanding. Many of her books touch upon heavier topics such as bullying and discrimination, providing a way for children to process and understand difficult subjects. Her stories offer a message of hope and encourage readers to be kind and compassionate towards others.

The Importance of Family and Heritage

Family and heritage are at the core of Polacco’s work. Her stories are often inspired by the stories her family shared with her as a child, emphasizing the importance of tradition and cultural identity. Through her work, Polacco encourages readers to embrace their roots and celebrate their cultural heritage.

Polacco’s stories also highlight the importance of family and the bonds that tie us together. Her books often feature multigenerational families, showcasing the unique relationships between grandparents, parents, and children. Her stories remind us of the importance of cherishing our loved ones and the memories we create together.

In conclusion, Patricia Polacco’s unique style of storytelling and illustration has made her an influential figure in the world of children’s literature. Her stories offer valuable lessons and insights into different cultures and experiences, encouraging readers to be empathetic and understanding towards others. Her work is a celebration of family, heritage, and the bonds that tie us together.

Top Patricia Polacco Books You Must Read

Now that we’ve explored the life and career of Patricia Polacco and her unique style of storytelling, it’s time to dive into her top 10 books that you simply must read. Each of these books has touched the hearts of readers young and old, and they all showcase Polacco’s incredible talent for weaving together stories that are both heartwarming and thought-provoking.

Thank You, Mr. Falker

Thank you, Mr. Falker

This autobiographical story follows a young girl named Trisha who struggles with dyslexia, much like Polacco herself. It’s a touching and inspiring story about how a caring teacher can make all the difference in a child’s life. Through Mr. Falker’s patience and dedication, Trisha is able to overcome her struggles and discover a love of reading that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

You can find this book here.

The Keeping Quilt

The Keeping Quilt

A beautiful tale about the importance of family and tradition, “The Keeping Quilt” tells the story of a quilt made from the clothes of immigrant family members who came to America. As the quilt is passed down from generation to generation, it becomes a symbol of the family’s enduring love and connection to their roots.

Chicken Sunday

No products found.

Chicken Sunday” is a story about the power of friendship and community. When three friends decide to earn money for new Easter hats by selling Ukrainian eggs, they discover the importance of coming together for a common goal. Through their hard work and determination, they learn that anything is possible when you have the support of those you love.

Thunder Cake

Thunder Cake

In “Thunder Cake,” Polacco shares a heartwarming story about a young girl’s fear of thunderstorms. With the help of her grandmother, the girl overcomes her fear and learns the value of facing her fears head-on. Along the way, she discovers the joy of baking and the power of family traditions.

Pink and Say

Pink and Say (The Kindness Editions)

This powerful story touches on the harsh realities of the Civil War. “Pink and Say” tells the story of a friendship formed between a black Union soldier and a young white Confederate soldier, offering a unique perspective on this tumultuous time in American history. Through their bond, Pink and Say learn that true friendship knows no boundaries.

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother” is a fun and relatable story about sibling rivalry. Polacco draws on her own experiences growing up with an older brother to create this charming tale. Through the ups and downs of their relationship, the siblings learn the importance of love and forgiveness.

The Bee Tree

The Bee Tree

The Bee Tree” is a heartwarming story about the power of learning and curiosity. When a young girl expresses her desire to learn about bees, her grandfather takes her on a wild chase to find a bee tree. Along the way, they discover the beauty of nature and the joy of discovery.

Just Plain Fancy

Just Plain Fancy

This charming story tells the tale of a young Amish girl who longs to own a fancy hat like the ones she sees in the store window. When she finally gets her wish, she discovers that true beauty comes from within. Through her journey, she learns the importance of staying true to herself and her values.

You can find this book here.

The Junkyard Wonders

The Junkyard Wonders

The Junkyard Wonders” is a touching story about a group of kids who attend a special needs class housed in a junkyard trailer. With the help of their teacher, the kids learn to embrace their unique abilities and talents. Through their journey, they discover that they are capable of achieving great things, no matter what challenges they may face.

The Blessing Cup

The Blessing Cup

This heartwarming story tells the tale of a family who carries a special cup, passed down from generation to generation. As they celebrate their Passover Seder, they share the story of the cup and the blessings it holds. Through their traditions and rituals, they learn the importance of family, love, and gratitude.

You can find this book here.

So there you have it – Patricia Polacco’s top 10 books that you simply must read. Each of these stories offers a unique perspective on life, love, and the power of human connection. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Polacco’s work or you’re just discovering her for the first time, these books are sure to touch your heart and leave a lasting impression.


Whether you’re a seasoned fan of children’s literature or just looking for some heartwarming stories to share with the kids in your life, Patricia Polacco is an author you should definitely check out. Her unique storytelling style and emphasis on family and tradition make her books both engaging and meaningful. So go ahead, pick up one of her books today and discover the magic for yourself.

YouTube video
Eddison Monroe
Latest posts by Eddison Monroe (see all)