Polacco did not set out to become a writer in her early life. In
fact, she couldn’t even read until her later teen years because of a
condition known as dyslexia. This turmoil that came from that time will
lay the foundation for her book to come, Thank You, Mr. Falker.
Polacco grew up in Michigan from Russian descent. Her childhood up until
five was centered on her grandmother. One can see that her grandmother
had a profound effect on her life, even in the short time she had with
her grandmother; which is evident in several of her books.
Her parents divorced when Polacco was only three, possibly lending to
the state of mind that would help her with writing the children’s books
that she is so fondly known for. After her grandmother’s death, Polacco
along with her mother and brother moved to Coral Gables, Florida for a
bit. Then after only a short time they moved again, this time to
It was here, in Oakland that a special moment happened for her. While
attending Junior high school at teacher noticed that she could not read.
This, of course, created tremendous amounts of ridicule and teasing from
her peers. The teacher, Mr. Falker, took an interest in Polacco and
eventually realized that she had dyslexia and thus couldn’t read.
Shortly after this realization, steps were put in place to help her
learn to overcome her dyslexia and learn how to read. It was this time
the sparked the idea of a book and she wrote her experiences of that
time in the book titled, Thank You, Mr. Falker.