Polacco descends from a family of storytellers. “I loved family reunions,” she says, “sitting and listening to the older people talk about the old country, their lives, and their stories.” From an early age, Polacco knew she didn’t learn the way other children learned. Polacco remembers sitting at her grandmother’s knee, listening carefully to her words. “I drew pictures to keep a memory in my head if I knew this was something important to remember.” Even today, Polacco does not usually write out her stories in long hand. She prefers to sit in her rocking chair in the sunroom of her Victorian home in Union City, Michigan. “I was a head-banger and a rocker as a child,” she says. “Rocking is part of my process.” It helps flesh out the details after she picks up what she calls “the scent of the story.” Only after she addresses many of the problems in her mind does she sit at the typewriter and tap out a first draft. [Read more of Patricia’s profile.]
A visit with author/illustrator Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco’s childhood friends received “fat cards” for special occasions. Polacco’s family had no extra money for presents so she drew a wordless story featuring her friend as the main character. The edges of Polacco’s fat cards were bound and sewn like real books. Years later when Polacco sold her first children’s stories, she realized she’d been making picture book dummies or mock-ups all of her life.
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