When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco

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Synopsis

It's family reunion time! Trisha and her cousins can hardly wait to see one another again. They can't decide what they like best: the great feast (with zillions of meatloafs and gazillions of Jell-O salads), the softball game, the storytelling . . . the yearly rituals go on and on. But this year, Gramma has a new surprise in store: She promises to teach the grandchildren to catch lightning in a jar. Lightning in a jar! Trisha can't wait to find out what she means. It's a secret she will pass down to her own grandchildren one day, along with the family stories handed down with love through all the generations.
 

About Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography. After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything. Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her title The Art of Miss. Chew made The New York Times Best Seller list for 2012.
 
Published June 3, 2002 by Philomel. 40 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Though sentimental at times, this is a warm story of bridging the generation gap through heritage and togetherness—and it’s fun to see the author illustrate herself as an adult.

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Publishers Weekly

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Roly-poly aunties and Gramma, swathed in housedresses and flowered aprons and bearing "zillions of meatloafs" and "gazillions" of Jell-O salads, and other relatives gather on young Tricia's grandparents' farm for a day of baseball and croquet, bag races and leisurely stories about one-room school...

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