Session plan for interest level: 2, 3, 4


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 Junkyard that Trisha learns the true meaning of genius, and the group of misfits are, in fact, wonders Based on a real-life event in Patricia Polacco’s childhood, this ode to teachers will inspire all readers to find their inner genius.


Characterization is emphasized through the “Junkyard Wonders Character Chart” where students give character traits of each person in the story and analyze the text using the “Definition of Genius” poem in the story.

Girl with hands on her hips

Book Information

Junkyard Wonders
By Patricia Polacco
Penguin Random House, ©2010

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