I discovered Patricia Polacco when writing a book review on books about the Civil War. Polacco wrote a deeply moving picture book about a friendship between two boys in the Civil War, one from Michigan and one a runaway slave, called Pink and Say. (Pink and Say is not for younger children – I’d wait until at least eight.)
Since reading Pink and Say, I’ve read a dozen or so picture books by Polacco and have enjoyed every one of them. Polacco writes and illustrates books about her family, her childhood, her experiences growing up between California and Michigan. My children have picked up many of these books after I’ve read them and reread them again and again.
Polacco comes from a Russian immigrant family, so many of her stories revolve around her Babuska or her ancestors, including The Keeping Quilt and Thunder Cake. She also wrote a delightful story about learning to ride horses while spending a summer in Michigan with her father called Mrs. Mack. During the school year, Polacco lived in southern California with her mother, where her best friends were the neighboring African-American boys, Stewart and Winston. She commemorates their friendship in Chicken Sunday.
If you haven’t read any of Polacco’s books yet, I encourage you to find a couple and start reading.