Monday, July 13, 2009

Michigander Monday: Patricia Polacco

What a great thrill to welcome Patricia Polacco to Michigander Monday! Patricia Polacco is an amazing talent in the world of children's books.

Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Patricia: I am the author and illustrator of over 50 children's picture books and I love to tell stories! Growing up in a family of marvelous storytellers, I was surrounded by glorious tales, each retelling gaining a little more umph! Many of those stories focused on what is near and dear to my heart; my family, my friends, and familiar places like my home town of Union City, Michigan.

Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your latest book.

Patricia: January's Sparrow is my latest book due for release on October 27th. It is about the Crosswhite family who were escaped slaves from Kentucky, who come up the underground railroad and eventually settled in Marshall, MI. The story is told through the eyes of Sadie, the youngest child in the Crosswhite family. The family lived in Marshall and became active in the African American community there, helping other runaway slaves escape to Canada through Marshall. A new baby was born to the family while there, but after four years of living in freedom and peace, the slave catchers from Kentucky came to steal them away and take them back to their plantation owner. The entire village of Marshall , black and white citizens alike, rioted and would not allow this family to be taken. It is said by some that this rebellion against the southern plantation owner was instrumental in starting the Civil War. It is a very heartbreaking, yet uplifting personal story that is true to the history of Marshall, MI. This is a novel with illustrations, There are 97 pages in this story!

Debbie: Other books, and and projects on the horizon?

Patricia: Junk Yard Wonders is a story about a Michigan teacher who was instrumental in helping me believe in myself. I was in her class of learning disabled students. This story takes place in Williamston, MI, which is where my father, William Barber, made his home for most of his life.

Debbie: Do you have any upcoming appearances?

Patricia: Fireside Books in Marshall, MI on October 29th for the release of January's Sparrow. (Watch Patricia's web site at for details to follow.)

Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?

Patricia: My farm here, called "Meteor Ridge Farm."

Debbie: And your favorite Michigan event or happening?

Patricia: The Meteor Festival that we hold here in Union City annually.

Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Patricia: David Small and Sarah Stewart who live in Mendon. Christopher Paul Curtis, a Michigan author. Joel and Donna Claar at their farm, "Welcome Comfort Farm." Marlin Mock, Larry and Sue Shroyer. Tammy Strong, Tom Lowande and Lori Miller. Judge Bill O'Grady and his family. And many more! Great people!!

Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?

Patricia: It is steeped in history and no matter where you are in Michigan, you are less than three miles away from a body of water.

Debbie: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Patricia: Michigander!

Debbie: Patricia, thank you so much for being here today! It's been a great honor.


Lori Van Hoesen said...

Thank you for interviewing Patricia Polacco! She is my very favorite storyteller. I heard her speak at the very first writer's conference I ever went to in Detroit back in the nineties. She made everyone laugh and cry with her amazing storytelling. I've sort of stalked her any time she's had a book signing close by. Incredible woman! Also love that she's creating books like In Our Mother's House.

Jacqui said...

Thanks so much, Debbie and Patricia, for a great interview! We are great fans around here; it stormed Saturday and neither of my kids was scared; instead they both said, "Can we make Thundercake???"