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The Junkyard Wonders

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,010 ratings  ·  367 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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Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: older children and adults who love inspiring stories of courage and love
This autobiographical wonder (written and illustrated by the incomparable Patricia Polacco) has it all so to speak; it is 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, imagin ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ronyell by: Manybooks
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
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
Crystal Marcos
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
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
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Lisa Vegan--thank you, thank you!
I absolutely loved this book! It touched me deeply. I will be back to write a more detailed review when I feel more coherent.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Suggested Grade Levels: 4th-8th grade
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Themes: Self-Discovery, Growing-Up, Understanding Death, Understanding Disabilities
Awards: Triple Crown Award Nominee and Rhode Island--Children’s Book Award Nominee

The beloved Patricia Polacco has done it again; changed readers’ perspectives through a picture book. The “Junkyard Wonders” is a story about a young girl who decides to live with her dad in Michigan rather than her mother so she can start in a new school wher
Eva Leger
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Schwartz
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
April Storm
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
'The Junkyard Wonders' by Patricia Polacco is a book based on an event that happened in Polacco's childhood. The story is about a girl named Tricia who moves to a new school, hoping to be seen as 'normal'. However, she is put in the special class again- called 'The Junkyard'. The story follows Tricia and her class as they each use their unique talents to help each other. Their motivating teacher, Mrs. Peterson, inspires them to be themselves. The colorful pictures combined with the well-written ...more
Lilly Smithdeal
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Junkyard Wonders was a great realistic fiction book that I would love to read with students in grades 3-5. The story talks about a group of students whose classroom is referred to as "the junkyard." The students realize they are all very different from one another and all have specials characteristics of their own. The students use these differences in a positive way in their class and begin to realize that the differences are positive. This would be a great book to read with students in ord ...more
M.M. Hudson
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Junkyard Wonders is a sweet tale about a group of kids who are tossed aside by society. They are nicknamed "The Junkyard Kids". They are bullied by the "normal" kids and seen as less.

Written in first person, each character is described in detail, first beginning with what makes them "special" but then what makes them superb! Together, along with an amazing teacher, who sees their potential, they rise together to become and do something great. Written within the pages is great parental suppor
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 not baby books as picture books are sometimes described by the misinformed. Such magical discussions and learning can take place after sharing one of these reads.

This story could be a sequel or a companion book to Thank You, Mr. Falker, although it's not necessary to have read to understand and enjoy this mini biography from Patricia Polaco
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

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
Anna Smith
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Book Summary: A little girls moves schools for a year and is palced into a "Special Needs" classroom and it is called the Junkyard. The teacher Mrs. Peterson teaches the children that they are all special. She takes them to the Junkyard to find something that can be remade. Her tribe find a model airplane and they decide to fix it up for the science fair. One of the boys die so then getting the plane going was to be for him. At the science fair the plane takes off for the moon and all the childr ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually rate and review children's books. In fact this will be the first.
My daughter is in first grade and brought this book home from the school library.

When we sat down to read this, I thought to myself my child brings home the strangest books. But as we started to read it, I got engrossed. I think this book was a bit too old for her and a bit too long, she lost interest in the middle of the book. She is only 6. But I made her sit and listen until the end of the book because I wanted
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read based on a real experience the author had when she was young. The situation she faces in school is very telling of a past era in how our country handled educating children with learning disabilities. Even so, there were parts of the book that I just could not get excited about...I hate that the group of special education students were called the Junkyard Wonders. While I love the message of the book and love the teacher who sees beyond the labels, there were also par ...more
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I thought Thank You, Mr. Falker told the story of one amazing teacher (and it did!) and it brings me to tears each time I read it. But Mrs. Peterson is remarkable. I had a teacher kind of like her...when I was in the gifted program... but to have a teacher work with kids who are different and to believe that completely in them and change their lives in such a profound way... WOW! And I loved the note at the end about where those wonders each ended up. I love Polacco's books, and this is one ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I was appalled when the teacher called her classroom the 'junkyard,' even after some explanation that still seems hurtful. Polacco usually includes an afterward which adds meaning to the story. I'd like to hear what kids have to say about this story.

Like some of the other Polacco stories, this targets an older audience than do most picture books.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful book. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of "Junkyard" misfits. I, also, liked the author's personal note at the end of the book, and that she still keeps in touch with her "special" friends from her school days.

I suggested that my husband read this book, and he did, and he liked it.
Mrs. Nelson's
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Classic Polacco that may elicit a few tears, this is great for readers that want a moral. Or from my perspective, a slightly subversive read where one discovers that some adults would break the rules for a good cause.

--Review by Andrea
Holly Mueller
Patricia Polacco is just brilliant. This is another wonderful book about treating people with dignity, teachers who inspire children, recognizing gifts, and overcoming odds. This would be a great companion to read with Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
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Patricia Polacco is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator with over 115 beloved and award-winning books to her credit, including The Keeping Quilt, Pink and Say, The Blessing Cup, Chicken Sunday, and Thank You, Mr. Falker. She resides in Michigan.