Beth Nieman's Reviews > Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

Small Steps by Peg Kehret
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's review
Oct 23, 09

Read in October, 2009

What a fantastic book. I just wish it had a recent copyright so I could recommend it for LOE! I literally could not put it down. Kehret writes in a straightforward and entertaining manner about her sudden polio symptons at age 13, her trip to the emergency room, and the experience of waking up paralyzed.

However, the story doesn't end there--in fact, it's just the beginning. She meets wonderful doctors, nurses and has four roommates, all girls, her own age, and they go through therapy together, share treats and baked goods brought by Kehret's parents, who treat all the girls as their own daughters. Kehret delves into the emotions she went through as she regained the use of her arms and legs, learned to use a wheelchair, graduated to walking with braces, and finally began to walk on her own again.

This story really underscores why vaccines were such an enormous medical breakthrough. In her epilogue, Kehret reminisces about how she was moved to tears when her own children received their polio vaccines. She also lets readers know how life turned out for herself and all the patients she met, so there is a sense of closure to the book.

This story is told simply enough for elementary age children to read, and yet I (far from being a child!) was so engrossed by Kehret's storytelling that I stayed up late reading it. It reminded me of "The Plague and I," another fantastic personal memoir by Betty MacDonald, about her experiences with tuberculosis.
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Jana almost everyone gave this book 5 stars!!!

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