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Patricia Polacco    

Award Winning Children's Author & Illustrator; Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities Advocate

Patricia Polacco was born on July 11th, 1944 in Lansing, Michigan. Her mother’s family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and The Ukraine. Her father's people were from The County of Limerick in Ireland. Both cultures valued and kept their history alive by storytelling.

She struggled in school because she was unable to read until age 14 due to dyslexia; she found relief by expressing herself through art. Polacco endured teasing and hid her disability until a school teacher recognized that she could not read and began to help her. Her book Thank You, Mr. Falker is Polacco's retelling of this encounter and its outcome. She also wrote such books as Mr. Lincoln's Way and The Lemonade Club.

Patricia has earned a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Art and Art History. She has studied in the U.S., England, France, Russia and Australia. She is a guest lecturer in many universities and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees in Arts and Letters. She has a distinguished record as an international advocate for the rights of children. She has also established literary and art courses of study for young people both nationally and internationally. She has traveled extensively to Russia and has established an art camp in Losovough which thrives today. She has been honored by heads of state both at the Kremlin and the White House.

She is a member of the National First Amendment Rights Coalition and has fought tirelessly for this cause. She is also known as a champion of classroom teachers in our country, a cause sharpened by her association with Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut as a guest author and artist in residence. The tragic loss of both members of the faculty as well as children on December 14th, 2012 affected her life profoundly. The shock of this event caused her to collapse, be hospitalized and undergo open heart surgery to save her life. The grief of this set her on a path of establishing a series of lectures designed to raise the awareness of the plight of our classroom teachers as well as encouraging students to reach out to each other and include those who are perceived to be "different". She has also designed an anti bullying campaign that has earned her national recognition. Patricia conducts school visits all over the country. She is known as a natural storyteller and is highly praised for her work with people of all ages.

To date she has written and illustrated over 115 books for children,. She is also a playwright and is in the process of penning for adults. She is a much sought after lecturer and keynote speaker and is considered one of the most inspiring speakers of our time.

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