Prolific Author Can’t Help Sharing Stories

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Coming from a family of storytellers, Patricia Polacco says she “can’t help” her love for sharing stories.

Coming from a family of storytellers, Patricia Polacco says she “can’t help” her love for sharing stories.

Still getting red marks on her paper from her editor, the writing process is a complex part of Polacco’s job. To start, she sits in a rocking chair and pictures the story in her head. Afterwards, she writes the story down which is “like describing a movie I just saw,” according to Polacco. She then has to revise and edit her piece many more times before it gets published. “Any author that gets it right the first time is lying through their teeth.”

Not only does Polacco write her books, but she illustrates them too. Polacco’s many disabilities, such as dyslexia, actually helped her become better at art. People would laugh when she tried to read, but when they looked at her drawings they were amazed. Also, she has a PhD in art history.

“Everybody around me inspires me.” As you can tell, Polacco doesn’t have to look very hard for inspiration. She has written books inspired by her friends, teachers, grandparents, and other family members. Once during a school visit, students shared stories about their families. A young girl got up and started to read a paragraph about her two mothers, but was told to sit down, because she didn’t have a “real” family. Soon after this, Polacco wrote In Our Mothers’ House.

Her advice for aspiring authors is to “Start here in your heart. Keep (the story) small and close to you.” Over her magnificent career she has done just that.