Thank You, Mr. Falker, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. 40 pages, published 1998.
This book is the autobiographical story of the Polacco and her horrible school experiences before finally learning to read in the 5th grade. It was hard to read about the bullying, but the message of being different and everyone learning on their own timeline will resonate with a lot of kids. And let me give a shout out to Mr. Falker. May all students have such a teacher in their lives! I’d recommend this book for everyone, although the 3-5 grade set is probably the target. It touches on so many painful childhood experiences and will enable you to have honest conversations with your kids.
This book is a memoir.
In kindergarten Trisha loved to draw but when she looked at a page to read she saw wiggling shapes. Numbers looked like a stack of wobbly blocks ready to fall.
Her grandma told her being different is the miracle of life and everyone is different. Her grandparents died.
It took five days to move from Michigan to California. The kids at her new school called her dummy, stupid, and ugly. In the 5th grade Mr. Falker came. When kids laughed at her he said, “Stop! Are all of you so perfect that you can look at another person and find fault with her?” The only time she was really happy was when she was around Mr. Falker. Mr. Falker kind of knew she couldn’t read, but not really. He told her, “you fooled many good teachers.”
In three to four months she could read a paragraph. She was happy, so very happy to read.