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The Junkyard Wonders

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,119 ratings  ·  245 reviews
When young Trisha finds out her class at the new school is known as The Junkyard, she is devastated. She moved from her old town so she wouldn't be in a special class anymore! But then she meets her teacher, the quirky and invincible Mrs. Peterson, and her classmates, an oddly brilliant group of students each with his or her own unique talent. And it is here in The Junkyar ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Philomel Books
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Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia PolaccoPink and Say by Patricia PolaccoThunder Cake by Patricia PolaccoThe Keeping Quilt by Patricia PolaccoMr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco
Best of Patricia Polacco
22nd out of 55 books — 43 voters
The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia PolaccoMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia PolaccoThe Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward
Books that Build Boys
1st out of 28 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

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Nov 10, 2012 Gundula rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: older children and adults who love inspiring stories of courage and love
The Junkyard Wonders (written and illustrated by the amazing Patricia Polacco) is, indeed, an absolute wonder, evocative, heartwarming, emotionally wrenching. When Tricia decides that she wants to live with her father for a while, she is dismayed when she is, yet again, put into a special education class, the junkyard. However, Mrs. Peterson's class has incredible, wonderful classmates (friends) for Tricia, and an extraordinary teacher, who inspires her students to be creative, imaginative, to b ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jul 22, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody; Patricia Polacco fans; children who have challenges; teachers & parents
Patricia Polacco is a wonder; she’s just wonderful. She contributes so much for children who are struggling, and for all readers, with the majority of her books; this is one of those books. It reminded me very much of two other of my favorite Polacco books: Thank You, Mr. Falker and Mr. Lincoln's Way. I love marvelous teacher stories and these three books tell about remarkable teachers.

Last autumn into early this year, 2010, I read my way through all of Polacco’s 51 books (this is the 52nd) star
3.5 stars in my own personal opinion. I love how this is a true story - a memoir. So not only can children learn the message of hope and joy and appreciation of everyone's contributions, they can learn one way how to read & write a memoir.
As a young girl, author Patricia Polacco was diagnosed as dyslexic and she was put inito special classes, however in this book, “The Junkyard Wonders,” young Patricia Polacco has discovered a very special teacher named Mrs. Peterson who teaches her and other students like her that they are special no matter what anyone says about them! “The Junkyard Wonders” is truly one of Patricia Polacco's best works ever created for children!

Beautiful, simply beautiful! I have read many books that depicts Pa
As readers, we are blessed that Patricia Polacco continues to find stories to tell us. In this touching book, Polacco shares a pivotal year in her life with the magical Mrs. Peterson and her schoolmates, the Junkyard Wonders. Every teacher and librarian who reads this book will remember the power we have to change children's lives.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This story picks up some time after Thank You, Mr. Falker. After Mr. Falker helps her learn to read, the young girl in the story chooses to live with her father and go to a different school, hoping to be put in a regular class. Instead, she finds herself in a special ed class again, but, luckily, with a very special teacher, Mrs. Peterson. Mrs. Peterson teaches the class how to see themselves as just as smart as the other children, as able to accomplish great things just like anyone else. I wish ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We really loved this book. Patricia Polacco has done it again, with another thoughtful, tear-jerking story that reveals a little more about her childhood. The way that one teacher can really make a group of children shine is so inspiring - I hope that one day I can make a child feel as special, as creative, as part of something as she did. I love how the teacher embraced the moniker of "The Junkyard" and showed the children how wonderful a junkyard can be. I love that she turned the "rejects" in ...more
Crystal Marcos
I love this book! I enjoy reading uplifting stories based on true events. I like Polacco’s use of light humor in a serious topic. Being different doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be quite a wonderful thing. Bravo to Mrs. Peterson for helping the children to see their full potential! I can only hope that my child has an experience with at least one teacher like this. This book made me remember my absolute favorite teacher Mrs. Nimitz. She was my 7th and 8th grade teacher. I was behind in re ...more
At her old school, Trisha was known for her struggles with reading, so she is disappointed to learn that she has been placed in the "junkyard" class at her new school. Trisha's disappointment lessens as she begins to make friends with the unique students in her class. Fortunately, for Trisha, Mrs. Peterson is an incredible teacher who shows her students that they are not "junk" but brilliant wonders.

Several events take place in this book to offer hope, inspiration, and encouragement to students
Wow. I will read more of Patricia Polacco's books. My family loved this book together, it made us cry with empathy and hope for all young minds. This was a beautifully written memoir type picture book, but for older kids. The illustrations are fantastic and the story lends itself well to open discussions with our 7 year old about how to treat people, how to see the beauty of differences within people, and the joy of learning.

1) Has anyone ever wanted a do over? A day where you could wake up and try again. Student respond. The girl in our story wants exactly that. She was living with her mom in California and now wants to live with her dad and her grandma in Michigan. Why do you think she might want to start all over? Live in a new place, go to a new school, and make new friends.
2) The opening I picked was drawing attention to the setting. The other opening is raising interest in the topic or theme.
3) I picked this
Jessica Schwartz
I recently read this book and thought it was just fantastic. Patricia Polacco tells the story of a girl who decides to stay in Michigan for the school year with her dad and grandma. She is placed into a special class called the "Junkyard." She struggles at first to deal with the fact that she is in yet another "different" class. However, the friendships she made and her teacher, Mrs. Peterson make this experience one of the most incredible.

This complex picture book can be implemented in the cla
Sarah Hamrick
Patricia Polacco, author of The Junkyard Wonders, writes about a young girl named Trisha who is ashamed of her special education class. She begs her parents to let her move schools for a fresh start at a new school where no one knows “she used to be dumb,” but much to her dismay, she is placed in another special class, referred to as the “Junkyard,” in her new school. The class got its name because all the students are “odd, like stuff in a junkyard.” However, Trisha comes to appreciate her cla ...more
Oh, I really loved this one! A story about kids with the stigma of special needs, and how the teacher believed in them and inspired them to be all that they could be. The story was both compelling and uplifting.
Trisha is thrilled when she is allowed to stay with her father in Michigan to go to school this year - here nobody knows that she only just started reading or that she used to be in a classes for "special" children. But her excitement is dulled when she learns that she has been placed in Mrs. Peterson's class, a class that is known as the Junkyard. Yet while others may think the students in Mrs. Peterson's class are all weird or stupid, those lucky enough to be a part of the Junkyard know otherw ...more
Eva Leger
Sep 16, 2010 Eva Leger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Eva by: library
Shelves: julias-books
After reading this book and a few of the reviews that are here on GR I'm definitely going to look into some more of Patricia Polacco's book.
When Julia and I started this I had no idea where it was going. Although I found out fairly quickly I was still surprised at her execution. Julia, at 5, "got" a lot more than I thought she would.
I like how this deals with so many things within something bigger. The main character, Trisha, starts school only to find out the few friends she had weren't speak
Patricia Polacco books are perfect for intermediate/junior high age teachers to share with their students. These books are not a quick five minute read, and no baby books as picture books are sometimes described by the misinformed. Such magical discussions and learning can take place after sharing one of these books.

This story could be a sequel or a companion book to Thank You, Mr. Falker, although it is not necessary to have read that to understand and enjoy this, a mini biography from Patrici
Patricia Polacco has written beautiful stories for children, some sweet, some melancholy, most encouraging. This book is all of these. When our narrator, a young girl, moves to a new school, she is upset to learn she has been placed in a classroom for special needs kids. A classroom called, by everyone at the school, apparently, "The Junkyard". The brilliant teacher of this class, whose members are called "the Junkyard Wonders", embraces the pejorative, though, and introduces her students to the ...more
She helps children and adults alike feel what it's like to struggle and to rise above our limitations. My 2nd grade students love her books!
Lexus Beedy
Personal Reaction:
I loved reading this book, along with man other books written by Patricia Polacco. Not only does it provide a great moral lesson, it tells about real life issues people face every day. Students have to learn that everyone is unique in some way, and know how to treat others no matter what differences they may have. This book also includes beautiful illustrations and new vocabulary that test readers.

This book would be appropriate for 2-3rd grade as a real aloud.
While thi
Megan Koval
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tianna Stephens
The Junkyard Wonders is a wonderful book about a young girl, suffering from a reading disability (dyslexia), who moves from California to Michigan to avoid being teased and bullied for being in the "slow class". She was upset when she learned that in this new school she was placed in a classroom that others referred to as the junkyard. A wonderful teacher named Mrs. Peterson takes this name that carries such a bad connotation and turns it into something beautiful. She helps her students see that ...more
Leanne Stoltzfus
In The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco is a realistic fiction complex picture book about a girl in special needs who just started in a new school. The book is told in first person and is about this child’s experience in school. She decided to live with her father in a different state because she wanted a new start, where children did not know that she was in the special class. This reason propelled this story of school- hood hierarchies of abled “normal” children verses the children labeled ...more
Rebecca Crull
This is an amazing (and true) story. It shows how sometimes it just takes someone believing in us, and giving us a chance, so we can have the confidence to do something amazing, no mater what our circumstances. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to help our children see themselves as the wonderful and unique individuals they are. This brings to mind a famous quote that I try to remind myself as often as I can (especially when my cherubs are driving me crazy :-).

“I have come to the frighteni
Rosa Cline
Ms Polacco does a wonderful job at taking her own experiences as a child and writing about them! In this story she takes her own 'special needs' and turns it into a very heart touching story for a child that might be a 'little' different than the other children at school. Those that have to attend special education classes and-or get teased because they stutter or anything that makes them a bit different.

As a little girl Patricia stayed the school year with her Dad and Grandma instead of going
Patricia Palacco superbly documents the struggles of being "new" and "different" through her character, Trisha, in "The Junkyard Wonders." The book is a wonderful resource to use in the classroom with children of all ages because it's message is so powerful, relatable and positive. It could be read individually with older readers who are better able to understand the more serious situations and words used in the book or it could be read to younger readers during interactive read-aloud sessions. ...more
Kate Reilly
The Junkyard Wonders is a story based on Patricia Polacco's early life. As a young girl, she struggled with learning to read due to dyslexia (this is established through the reading of Thank you Mr. Falker). This book picks up where Thank you Mr. Falker leaves off. She has moved to a new state and a new school and is excited for a fresh start. Things are going well until she realizes that she has been placed in the "special" class. She is then ostracized from several of the students but forms a ...more
Junkyard Wonders
by Patricia Palacco

Can you think of a time that you struggled with an assignment or subject in school? Where your friends and family there to help you through? I can think back to how reading was tough for me in first grade and how some kids would make fun of me because of my struggles. I was lucky and had my mom and dad there to help me along with some teachers. In this story we learn about a girl who struggles with reading and is placed in a class with other children who have
Summer Turner
As always, beautifully rendered artwork done by Patricia Polacco! I would adore her books for the artwork alone, but thankfully she tells a great story too!
"Junkyard Wonders" is a sequel to "Thank You, Mr. Falker" which tells the semi-autobiographical story of Patricia's own struggle with learning to read. After years of being in "special" classes, and everyone knowing it, Trisha wants to live with her dad for a year and go to a school where people don't know that she used to be "dumb." But, on
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: November 30th, 2014

Author: Patricia Polacco

Title: The Junkyard Wonders

Plot: Patricia Polacco's picture-book auto-biography focuses on her life as a young girl who moves to Michigan to be closer to her father and grandmother, and is placed in a special classroom called "The Junkyard" with Mrs. Peterson and a group of students with special needs.

Setting: Michigan; various locations

Characters: Mrs. Peterson; Thom; Ravanne Salze; Gilbert "Gibbie" McDonald; Jody Beach; Stuart Bean; Barton Pool
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