Books CORL (Check Off your Reading List) Challenge 2014 Fantasy and Paranormal GB Challenges Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Finding the Fire Within in Patricia Polacco’s “Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece”

Myra here.


We are excited to join Kidlit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year. For November-December, we are featuring Paranormal Fantasies: Dragons and Unicorns, Vampires and Elves.

Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.
Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.

As such, we are also sharing picture book biographies of word weavers and fantasy makers.

This picturebook explores the power of words and overcoming the world of fear that prevents one from saying the words aloud in public, as told through young Patricia Polacco’s eyes.


The story begins with young Patricia sharing one of her most innermost fears: reading words that she has written in front of the class. Her fear of speaking in public is so paralyzing that she simply clams up, her knees knocking together, her mouth dry, and her breathing audible to her ears. Her English teacher, Mr. Tranchina was kind enough to not force her to read her words aloud.


He did something even better. He introduced her to Mr. Wayne, the drama teacher, who happens to be organizing a winter play at the time. Patricia became a part of the crew: helping out in the painting of the sets; participating in the fun theatre exercises involving diaphragmmatic breathing, word games, and making loud noises; and listening to the actors rehearse their lines.


Soon enough, Patricia had all the actors’ lines memorized down pat. When a catastrophe stuck with the lead actress suddenly leaving town, everyone turned to Patricia whom they know has learned the entire play by heart. The challenge now is whether Patricia would be able to overcome her anxiety to be part of her theatre community and find the fire within her and shine on stage.


Like most of Patricia Polacco’s picturebooks, this is such an accessible read. Everything was coherent, tightly-woven, and presented with little drama and frills, jumping right into the core of the anxiety as Patricia found something within her that allowed her to transcend her fear. I thought that the gradual transition was credible and the build-up just right. Another wonderful addition to Polacco’s wealth of inspiring stories shared with the rest of the world. Definitely a must-read.

For teachers who want to have a list of picturebook titles that look into stress and anxiety management, click on this link from parentbooks.

Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece by Patricia Polacco. Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014. Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.



Reading Challenge Update: 286 (25)


Nonfiction PictureBook Challenge: 63 (25)

8 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Finding the Fire Within in Patricia Polacco’s “Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece”

  1. I loved Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece! Patricia Polacco is indeed a word weaver!!


  2. I don’t know this one, and perhaps it’s a good one for our future spring play? Some of the students are scared to act, & I know there’s hidden talent in them. Thanks, Myra.


  3. I haven’t read this one. I have loved and read almost all of her books since the late 1980s. She did a lot of book signings and I took my daughter to see her at a book store on many occasions. I knew she was dyslexic, but I didn’t know how fearful she was — she surely wasn’t fearful running around the little stage with her real “Keeping Quilt” and talking to kids. You indicated it is a recent book. Will check it out. Thank you so much. Nice review.


  4. I didn’t know about this one. Thanks!


  5. loveofxena

    Thank you for highlighting this title today Myra. I had completely forgotten about it. I have almost all of Patricia Polacco’s books. She has always been a favorite of mine. She makes her stories feel like our stories.


  6. This sounds amazing! I love Ms. Polacco’s books! 😀


  7. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] The Gift of Seeing in Polacco’s “The Art of Miss Chew” – Gathering Books

  8. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] Patricia Polacco’s Tribute To Mr. Falker – Gathering Books

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