In autobiographical story Thank You, Mr. Falker, Patricia Pollacco places the emphasis on the hardships some children face when learning. Some do not have the courage to fight the odds while others are lucky to find people who can assist them.
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I would use this book in a social studies classroom because it has a number of skills that can be gained. The way Trisha’s grandmother encouraged her to keep on reading poses a positive attitude that should be granted to those who feel dumb: “You are the brightest, fastest, dearest little thing ever” (Polacco). The girl went through various challenges while struggling to read. And the support she got from Mr. Falker, a teacher of her, also increased her self-esteem: “We are going to change everything, girl. You are going to read and excel—I promise you that” (Polacco). Appearance of a talented teacher in girl’s life helped her to overcome a feeling of fear before learning to read and not to shrink from the difficulties. The book also portrays the possession of talent. Each student ought to maximize on using his or her talent.
This book relates to the Culture social studies strand. The story teaches that young people can learn much from older family members, especially from their grandparents. It also displays due respect to the family setup and beliefs, for example, tasting honey from the cover of a book, in order to explain that honey is as sweet as knowledge: “ … and you have to chase it [knowledge] through the pages of a book!” (Polacco).
The children’s book can help teach to realize the importance of family traditions, use problem-solving skills in identifying a problem and choosing a solution.
Patricia Polacco is an American author and illustrator of numerous picture books. She has written other books such as Bully, The Art of Chew, Pink and Say and others.
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