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My favorite children’s author is Patricia Polacco. She has a way of inspiring me and my students to write. Her voice is so engaging and comforting. My students beg to have me read her books! We read as many of her books that we can before my students publish their own family stories. I have every single book she has written. I really had a hard time choosing my favorite…until now!
Patricia Polacco ‘s new book The Junkyard Wonders is a story that should be read by every educator. I believe that the teacher in this book is a role model for everyone that deals with children. She gets the most important lesson that all educators need to learn….the students need to come first. Mrs. Peterson works on building relationships with her students. She creates teams that work together, and the awesome effect is these kids believe in themselves.
My favorite part of the book, that still brings tears to my eyes when I read it, happens after the kids are upset when the other kids say the kids in her class are from the “Junkyard” because they are different from the other kids.
“We’re all junkyard kids, even though you try to make us feel better about it. We’re throwaways,
junk, and everyone knows it.”
These kids know, no matter how wonderful this teacher is, they still feel that something is different about them. Then this amazing teacher says what I feel about my students:
” Oh, my dear, that’s where you are wrong,”
“Everyone of you is my wonder!…Don’t you realize what a junkyard really is?”…
“Oh, it is a place full of wondrous possibilities! What some see as bent and broken throwaways are actually amazing things waiting to be made into something new. Something unexpected. Something surprising.”
A junkyard has lots of possibilities, just like our students. This books shows us how to look beyond the labels, and look at ALL children as a “Junkyard Wonder” something unexpected, something surprising and a wonder to all of us! I love that her kids come first, even when the principal tries to ruin it…she does what any teacher that loves her students would do…she fights back for them. This book has inspired me to keep fighting for my students, to continue to put their needs first over the curriculum because as you find out in this book…put the kids first and the rest will fall into place!
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