Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

By Peg Kehret and Book Report By Vanessa Hiebner


As Peg excitedly gets ready to go to her first Homecoming Day parade, she unexpectedly falls during choir practice and later has trouble picking up things. Going home from school with a 102-degree fever, she is very disappointed that she has to miss the Homecoming parade. Soon, she finds out that she has polio and is immediately sent to the University Hospital where she discovers she has all three types of polio. After spending time in the iron tank and 'torturing' physical therapy, she upgrades to Sheltering Arms. Meeting many other girls the same age with the same health issues, she makes friends very quickly. Peg's parents come every Sunday to visit Peg, and all of her friends since their parents stopped coming to see them.

Going through a lot of physical therapy, Peg starts to heal very quickly and is moved to walking sticks and then even on to walking on her own a few more steps every day. Even though Peg gets better while her friends have no progress, they do not envy her but instead encourage and are so happy for her. She soon gets to the point where she is discharged and able to go home for good. As she gets back into the normal routine of her life at home, she is able to go back to school. She fears that they will only stare at her walking sticks and that no one would help her, but soon finds out that everyone more than welcomes her and offers her a helping hand whenever she needs it.

What did I enjoy about this book???

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio is a very easy read. With this book being about a young teenage girl, Peg likes to write from that viewpoint to give the best imagery of her story. I also liked this book because I was able to learn more about polio. Learning the struggles that polio patients deal with and how the pull through and walk again sparks my interest.

Which characters play important roles???

As Peg is the main character in this book, she becomes friends with many girls at Sheltering Arms; Dorothy, Alice, Renee, and Shirley. Mrs. Crab is Peg's first physical therapist that gives Peg 'Torture Time'. Miss Ballard is Peg's physical therapist at Sheltering Arms whom she is very fond of. Dr. Belvis is Peg's doctor at University Hospital where she grows to have a crush on and promises that one day she would come back and walk for him.

Why would I recommend this book???

I would recommend this book because as I said before it is an easy read. This book also shows the struggles of polio victims and their way of trying to beat the disease. Anybody who loves reading about struggles and how they are overcome would love this book!

What interesting or notable facts do I know about the author???

Peg Kehret married and had two children. She has written thirty-two books and spends time volunteering at their local Humane Society with her husband. Forty years after the events in this book happened, she started having muscle aches, foot cramps, back pain, and fatigue. She soon learned that it was because of her polio in her younger years, which they call post-polio syndrome.