Posts Tagged: Patricia Polacco

The Junkyard Wonders

The Junkyard Wonders book cover art

This book was incredibly fun to read. Not only were the illustrations interesting, but the story as well. It is the story of a dyslexic young girl who moves to Michigan to live with her dad for a year. When she gets to the new place, she’s hoping that she’s left the difficult part of her life behind but unfortunately, due to her disability, she still finds herself singled out and placed in “special” classes. However, this is where the story gets better instead of worse. The class that she is made to join is nicknamed the “Junkyard Wonders” and it is a collection of kids who don’t quite fit in with the others. Mrs. Peterson, the teacher, explains to them what a junkyard really is. “It is a place of wonderful possibilities! What some see as bent and broken throwaways are actually amazing things waiting to be made into something new. Something unexpected. Something surprising.” The very first day of class Mrs. Peterson reads the definition of genius that she had written on the board. She told them: “Read it, memorize it, genius describes each and every one of you.” Mrs. Peterson turned out to be one of those teachers who eventually leaves a lasting impact in your life. Everyone in the little group that Patricia is assigned to grows up to be amazing people with extraordinary lives. The boy who loved ballet grew up to be the artistic director of the American Ballet Theater Company, the girl who didn’t talk became a fashion designer, and the boy who liked to build things became an aeronautical engineer for NASA. If it wasn’t for the other kids in school, the kids in the Junkyard that they rudely called weirdos and retards would have lived to be pariahs and society rejects, but because of a caring and dedicated teacher they became much more than that. Mrs. Peterson went as far as bringing them to an actual junkyard and telling them to go ahead and find something to make beautiful and the kids did just that. The Vanilla group, which is the one that Patricia sniffed her way into, found everything they needed to make an airplane. Then one of the kids, Gibbie, said something about the airplane that stuck with me, “This baby is goin’ all the way to the moon!” Years later, as an engineer for NASA, Gibbie put the airplane that he made with his friends from the Junkyard Wonders on an aircraft which, you guessed it, found its way to the moon.


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