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Junkyard Wonders Hardcover – July 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (July 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250781
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5 Based on true events, this inspiring story celebrates the extraordinary influence a teacher can have on her students. As Trisha enters a new school in Michigan, she hopes she won't be relegated to a special class. At her old school, she had trouble learning to read. On the first day, she is disappointed to learn that Room 206 is known as the junkyard. Fortunately, their teacher, Mrs. Peterson, doesn't allow her students to feel like misfits. She divides her Junkyard Wonders into tribes, creating a sense of unity among them. One day, the children visit a local junkyard where they discover a place full of wondrous possibilities and collect objects for a class project. Trisha and her tribe retrieve an old model plane, which they refurbish. The whole class looks forward to the science fair when they will fly the plane from the roof of the school in remembrance of a classmate who has died. The school bully tries to foil their plans, but in the end the Junkyard Wonders launch the plane and watch it soar up into the stratosphere. The touching story is accompanied by Polacco's trademark illustrations in which a motherly Mrs. Peterson presides over her busy classroom. The children's expressive faces convey their devotion to her and to each other. Pair this title with Lester L. Laminack's Saturdays and Teacakes (Peachtree, 2004), another nod to a fondly remembered past. Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Looking forward to a fresh start at a new school, Trisha is crestfallen when she is assigned to a special class with children who are different. Their teacher, Mrs. Peterson, proudly calls them the junkyard and takes them to an actual junkyard, which she describes as a place of wondrous possibilities . . . amazing things waiting to be made into something new. It’s clear that she sees her class the same way as she divides them into tribes and urges their creativity. Reclaiming and rebuilding an old model plane they intend to send to the moon, Trisha’s tribe manages a triumphant launch. Illustrations, rendered in pencil and marker, portray children in saddle oxfords and poodle skirts brimming with energy and excitement, guided by a model teacher. Based on her own childhood, Polacco’s inspiring story will touch children and teachers alike. In an appended note, Polacco updates the subsequent successful lives of her former tribe members and reveals how they did make it to the moon after all. Grades 2-5. --Linda Perkins

More About the Author

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

Customer Reviews

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Just like Patricia Polacco's other books, it was well written and the story was very good.
Joyce Martin
This is a great book which provides a wonderful positive view of special education and special education teachers.
R. Peterson
This book is about one particular class with special needs student's and one incredible teacher.
Jess

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kendall Hinote on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely book, in the author's authentic style, that tells us in plain language that it is "not what we are given, but what we do with it" that is the key to life. Her story unfolds at an easy pace with poignancy all along the way. This is a book that many children and adults can relate to.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Martin on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the book the minute I received it in the mail. Just like Patricia Polacco's other books, it was well written and the story was very good. I have a collection of her books in school. Since I'm a teacher, many of her stories are great for teaching lessons about discrimination and different types of family structures and cultures. I definitely recommend this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. I. Better on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patricia Polacco is a favorite of mine and she doesn't disappoint with this powerful retelling of her young years. We cannot escape the influence we will have on others but we can decide if our actions will lift or repell. This book inspires me to be better, to remember the importance of all people and to value our differences. One person really can make a difference in someone's life. I love the epilogue!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beverly L. Archer VINE VOICE on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love Patricia Polacco's books. The illustrations are always beautiful and the stories inspiring and touching. This book is no exception.

The Junkyard Wonders is a wonderful and inspiring book based on a real-life event in author Patricia Polacco's childhood.

Young Trisha moved from her old town so she could attend a new school and not be in the special class anymore. She is disappointed to find out that her new class is a special class, known as "The Junkyard." Things begin to look up when Trisha meets her teacher, the wonderful Mrs. Peterson and her classmates who are a in fact, a brilliant group of students with their own unique talents. Trisha learns the true meaning of genius. Some might consider Trisha's class to be a group of misfits, but truly they are a group of wonders. This is a wonderful tribute to teachers. It's an inspiring read that just might put readers onto their own path to finding their inner genius.

Recommended for 3rd grade and up.

Mrs. Archer's Rating: 5 of 5!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kiddielitlover on October 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Again, Polacco gives readers a book that inspires and challenges us to celebrate the uniqueness in each individual. In this story, we hear what it was like for Tricia as she joins a special education class. We feel for her as she feels shunned by "regular" kids and gets labeled as junk. And, then we meet her teacher. A true hero that will inspire teachers to see beyond what tests say about students. One who will challenge teachers to build a community within their classrooms so that every student finds the wonder of learning and can grow to achieve beyond all expectations. The story will show students that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and work towards a goal. When you get to the end you will either stand up and applaud,or grab tissues and wipe off your tears. Who knows maybe you'll do both!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Wilber VINE VOICE on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My son's first grade teacher read this to the class and it made quite an impression on him. He came home from school telling me all about the story of the kids who were in the "junkyard" class and how some kids made fun of them for being different. Then they rebuilt a model airplane and one child died--which was sad--but the airplane really flew.

There's so much to unpack from Polacco's book: every life is important; having someone believe in you makes a difference; friends die--and we mourn them, but they live on in our memories; never give up; involved, caring parents and teachers have a huge impact on children's lives; real friends stick together and support each other.

Well written and illustrated, this is the sort of book you will talk about with your children, family and friends. It's not just a children's book, either, but one that speaks to adults. An amazing story based on the author's life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ap0455 on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book describes multiple students with disabilities that are under the 13 IDEA categories. Polacco wrote this story about her own experience as a student with a learning disability, dyslexia. The story begins when Trisha (Patricia Polacco) wants to live with her Dad and Gramma so that she can go to a new school. At her old school all of the kids knew she had just learned to read and that she was always in special classes. On her first day at her new school she finds out that she is once again in a special class, one that they call "The Junkyard." Class members included a student with Tourette's syndrome, a boy, Jody, with a disease that made him grow too fast, a boy with a visual impairment, and a girl who had never spoken. The class split into tribes and Trisha's tribe became best friends. After the students pridefully made badges that said "The Junkyard Wonders" they got bullied on the playground. Mrs. Peterson, their teacher, responded by taking them to the junkyard to find items they could make into something wonderful. Trisha's tribe found an old model airplane and for months they worked to get it running. After the death of Jody, the class was even more motivated to make their airplane fly, and they did, right to the moon, they were sure!
This book showed an inappropriate level of inclusion in society. Many, if not all, of the students described in this book would be placed in general education classes today. A classroom would also never be called "The Junkyard" today. This book shows students being excluded from society by both peers and adults and being openly made fun of. Even though this book shows an inappropriate level of inclusion by today's standards I would still use it in my classroom for exactly that reason.
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