NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
October 12, 2015 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204
‘Meteor!’ author Patricia Polacco lands at Quail Summit
DIAMOND BAR, CA—Quail Summit Elementary rolled out the red carpet for children’s author and illustrator Patricia Polacco on Monday.
Polacco is like a rock star to educators and students around the country.
“This is the visit of a lifetime!” said elementary learning specialist Leann Legind.
The campus was decked out in honor of Polacco with balloons, banners and replicas of several book covers painted on canvas by students.
Every staff member and student wore a tiny “I love Patricia Polacco” button.
Polacco’s books are chocked-full of powerful messages for students about being kind and careful with their words.
“Her compassionate stories teach children how to be better human beings. She is my favorite author of all time. We are all so excited!” added Legind, a confessed Polacco Peep.
The acclaimed author delighted students with nostalgic stories of her ancestors and childhood experiences that inspired many of her books.
She recalled sitting by the fire listening to “fabulous stories” told by her Russian grandmother while munching on bowls of popcorn, snow apples and fudge.
With over 115 books to her credit, Polacco is still going strong with six more heartwarming personal narratives in the works.
“They come to me so fast, I can barely keep up with them,” she said.
The master storyteller weaved accounts from three popular books – Meteor!, Thank You, Mr. Falker, and The Keeping Quilt during three assemblies held in the multi-purpose room.
With thrilling sound effects, Polacco mesmerized the children re-counting the true-life tale of a falling star that landed on her great grandparents’ farm in rural Michigan.
“What would you do if you saw a shooting star?” she asked the children.
“Make a wish!” they shouted in unison.
At the end of the presentation, the kids got the chance to touch a piece of original the 200–pound magic rock and make a wish.
Polacco issued three requests taken from the legend: no wishing for money, to change people, or for toys, gadgets or things bought with money.
“You can change people with kindness,” suggested the clever writer.
“When somebody is really mean to you, throw kindness right back at them!”
She asked youngsters to show courage if they see a schoolmate sitting alone at recess or lunch.
“Walk up to them and say ‘you don’t have to be by yourself,’” she offered.
“Look around yourself and see somebody who needs you – and boom you’re there for them!”
Polacco shared personal childhood struggles with multiple learning disabilities, including dyslexia, and the terror she felt when asked to read in front of her class.
The teacher who discovered the challenges inspired the book Thank You, Mr. Falker.
Using her own experience as a teachable moment, she asked students to be kind to classmates.
”Please do not laugh at other children,” she urged. “Everyone of you is gifted. We don’t all open our gifts at the same time.”
A highlight of the event was when Polacco brought out a replica of the keeping quilt, from the book of the same name.
The Keeping Quilt was made from relatives’ clothing as a reminder of home and was passed down from generations.
Polacco used to sleep with the cheery blanket dotted with farm animals, trees and flowers.
“I can still hear my grandmother’s voice when I touch it,” she tenderly said.
“She inspires kids to not only think more deeply, but to be better human beings,” said second grade teacher Kathy McLean whose shelves are filled with Polacco favorites.
“We think her books are great and fabulous. They teach kids important lessons!” said second-graders Matias Jimeno, Jayden Shinjo, Alvin Hao and Max Nakama.
The Graves Family is one of their favorite stories from the Polacco collection.
“It’s about a boy named Ronnie and his family is a little unusual,” Shinjo said about a new family in the neighborhood that lives in a haunted house.
“His dad is a scientist and the mom flies like a ghost!” added Jimeno.
“We’ll read Polacco all year long!” McLean said.
Famed children’s author and illustrator wrapped Quail Summit Elementary students in a blanket of stories during three assemblies on October 12.
Quail Summit Elementary students made a wish on a piece of the magic falling star during a presentation by famed children’s author Patricia Polacco on October 12.
Students were eager to participate and ask questions about storylines and favorite characters, even author Patricia Polacco’s redheaded brother.
Quail Summit students eagerly joined a clapping, jumping, and spinning demonstration with author Patricia Polacco.