"The Art of Miss Chew" by Patricia Polacco must be one of her best picture books ever. That's probably because it's written from her heart. It's an homage to an art teacher who helped Polacco through a tough time and helped her become an artist.
It's autobiographical, it's touching, and it's inspiring. I defy any teacher to read this without shedding at least one tear before the story ends.
It's about the difference a great teacher (or two great teachers) can make. It's also, unfortunately, about what a difference (horrible) a terrible teacher can make.
The story is about Patricia, a young girl who does not read quickly enough to pass her social studies test. Her teacher notices and gives her enough extra time to raise her test grades, so instead of flunking, she is at the head of the class.
This thoughtful teacher also notices Patricia's artistic talent and helps her attend special art classes. It's the art teacher to whom this book is dedicated. Miss Chew not only teaches Patricia art, she also intervenes when a cruel substitute teacher sees Patricia failing the weekly tests (because she refuses to allow her extra time) and decides to try to end the art classes.
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