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Patricia Polacco did not start writing children's books until she was 41, but she feels she has been an artist for a long time. Polacco says that storytelling has always been an important part of her family life: “My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists. ... With each retelling our stories gain a little more oomph!” She has just released “The Art of Miss Chew” (Putnam).