Patricia Palacco: children’s author and illustrator.

Born: July 11, 1944

The author of more than 40 books for children, Patricia Palacco has successfully turned the pain of being misunderstood into the joy of helping others.

I thought I was dumb. I didn’t like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn’t do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero’s, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school.

Incidentally, that “hero” and the story of how he helped her is the subject of one of Palacco’s most popular books, Thank You, Mr. Falker. In fact, she wrote the book as a tribute to him and to encourage others to thank the teachers that have shaped their lives.

Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean dumb at all! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact most learning disabled children are actually geniuses! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

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