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Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio [NOOK Book]

Overview

Almost twenty years ago, in a riveting story of courage and hope, Peg Kehret wrote of months spent in a hospital when she was twelve, first struggling to survive a severe case of polio, then slowly learning to walk again. The book deeply touched readers of all ages and received many awards and honors. This anniversary edition includes an updated and extended epilogue about the author’s experiences since the original publication. It also includes twelve pages of new photos and a ...
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Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

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NOOK Book (eBook - Digital Original, Anniversary Edition)
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Overview

Almost twenty years ago, in a riveting story of courage and hope, Peg Kehret wrote of months spent in a hospital when she was twelve, first struggling to survive a severe case of polio, then slowly learning to walk again. The book deeply touched readers of all ages and received many awards and honors. This anniversary edition includes an updated and extended epilogue about the author’s experiences since the original publication. It also includes twelve pages of new photos and a lengthy section about polio, past and present.
“From a writer known for her fiction, a moving memoir about a 12-year-old who got polio in 1949 in Austin, Minnesota, Kehret describes the disease, the diagnosis, the severe symptoms, treatments, physical therapy, slow recovery, and return home with walking sticks—and how she was forever changed . . . A simple, direct, and sometimes self-deprecating style of writing tenderly draws readers into Kehret’s experiences and the effects of the disease firsthand. Almost a half-century later, this lovely book refocuses attention on what matters most: health, love of family, friends, determination, generosity, and compassion.” —Kirkus Reviews

Peg Kehret has always loved to write. As a child she wanted to be a writer or a veterinarian. Now she includes animals in most of her books and, when she isn’t writing, she helps animal rescue groups. Peg’s books have won more than fifty state young reader awards. 

The author describes her battle against polio when she was thirteen and her efforts to overcome its debilitating effects.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
In 1949, at the age of twelve, Peg Kehret (then Schulze) became the only child in Austin, Minnesota to contract polio. She details the intense fear and horror the disease evoked in her and others. Many doctors, nurses and therapists who rendered care were instrumental in her recovery, but she clearly depicts how devastating the lack of empathy from health care workers can be for seriously ill patients. Most of her seven months of hospitalization were spent at a rehabilitation hospital where she formed intense friendships with her roommates, friendships she likens to those formed in wartime foxholes and trenches. Her story never descends to self-pity, in fact, she credits her experience for giving her character strengths she might never have developed. Humor bubbles up in this endearing, human saga. Vintage photographs are provided.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Although young readers today might only associate the word "polio" with a vaccination, this well-written account gives them a hard look at the devastating physical and emotional effects of the disease. In l949, there were 42,000 cases reported in the U.S.; the author was the only one stricken in her hometown that year. She writes in an approachable, familiar way, and readers will be hooked from the first page on. The author details her diagnosis, treatment, frustration, and pain. Perhaps the most startling part of the book is her description of the sudden onset of the illness, coming with no warning and leaving her paralyzed. Although this is an excellent record of the progress of the disease, it is also a fascinating account of how an ordinary girl with crushes and homecoming dreams had to live for part of her adolescence in an artificial, restricted environment. In the epilogue, Kehret describes her current battle with post-polio syndrome, and brings readers up to date on the lives of her fellow patients and friends at the Sheltering Arms Hospital. An honest and well-done book.-Christine A. Moesch, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
From a writer known for her fiction, a moving memoir about a 12-year-old who got polio in 1949 in Austin, Minnesota. Kehret (Earthquake Terror, 1996, etc.) describes the disease, the diagnosis, the severe symptoms, treatments, physical therapy, slow recovery, and return home with walking sticks—and how she was forever changed. After her fever broke and she lay paralyzed in the hospital, her parents delivered a big brown packet of letters from her classmates. "I had a strange feeling that I was reading about a different lifetime . . . none of this mattered. I had faced death. I had lived with excruciating pain and with loneliness and uncertainty about the future. Bad haircuts and lost ball games would never bother me again." There are touching black-and-white photographs of her roommates, who had already been there for ten years. Kehret's were the only parents who visited her each Sunday, and soon "adopted" her fellow polio victims.

A simple, direct, and sometimes self-deprecating style of writing tenderly draws readers into Kehret's experiences and the effects of the disease firsthand. Almost a half-century later, this lovely book refocuses attention on what matters most: health, love of family, friends, determination, generosity, and compassion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480461079
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 12/10/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Digital Original, Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 48,714
  • Age range: 8 - 13 Years
  • File size: 23 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Peg Kehret has always loved to write. As a child she wanted to be a writer or a veterinarian. Now she includes animals in most of her books and, when she isn’t writing, she helps animal rescue groups. Peg’s books have won more than fifty state young reader awards. 
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Table of Contents

Prologue 9
1 The Diagnosis 11
2 Paralyzed from the Neck Down 18
3 An Oxygen Tent and a Chocolate Milkshake 29
4 "You Can't Burn My Bear!" 39
5 Hot Packs 46
6 Torture Time 52
7 Star Patient Surprises Everyone 60
8 Roommates 69
9 Sunday Visitors 78
10 Happy Thirteenth Birthday 91
11 Dancing the Hula, Popping a Wheelie 99
12 A Disappointing Trip 109
13 The Great Accordion Concert 119
14 Good-bye, Silver; Hello, Sticks 130
15 Plans for a Pageant 135
16 Christmas 145
17 A Present for Dr. Bevis 156
18 Back to School 165
Epilogue 171
Special Thanks 177
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Small Steps

    Small Steps is my new absolute favorite book. It is the first interesting biography i've read ever, i could not put it down even when mom told me American Idol was on. You will just get lost in this world where you feel terribly sorry for Peg yet ready to know what happens next. My favorite chapter is the one where Peg's mom is so caring that even though it's against the rules she gets a chocolate milkshake for Peg after her surgery. She goes through a lot of angry nurses to give her this treat but if it will make her Peg happy she is willing to suffer. It is a sweet and emotional, funny also sad book and a great read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2000

    BE THANKFUL!!!!!

    This book looks so boring but since I had no other books to read, I decided to check it out. Thank goodness I did!! Amazing, it makes you be sooo thankful for what you have and that they have shots for polio! I recommend this book to all ages! So please read it, it is heartwarming!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A touching first-hand account of the great suffering that polio inflicted

    In our modern age of vaccinations, it seems inconceivable that in 1949, 42,033 cases of polio were diagnosed. It was a disease without a vaccine or antidote that meant excruciating pain, followed by extensive physical therapy assuming that the patient didn't die from complications. There are three main variants: spinal polio, which causes rapid paralysis of the arms and legs (generally asymmetrical), bulbar polio, which causes difficulty breathing and swallowing (and frequently requiring the use of iron lungs as breathing muscles and mechanisms are greatly weakened), and respiratory polio, a combination of the above two. Peg Kehret was twelve years old when she contracted respiratory polio; she was the only victim in her small Minnesota town that year. <BR/><BR/>Peg recounts her terrifying illness in a very matter-of-fact yet gripping narrative. Paralysis set in rapidly, and she had a fever of 102 for nearly a week as her muscles weakened, requiring her to use an oxygen tent. But Peg was lucky; once her fever breaks (aided by a contraband chocolate milkshake), her recovery is much more rapid than her fellow hospital and rehab roommates. Even though Peg is nearly a teenager, there are small poignant touches of the remnants of childhood; her brother Art sent her a teddy bear that had to be burned once she left the polio ward, and her mother recommended that she donate her old books and toys to the children's polio ward. Peg resists, recalling happy memories with her old books and toys, and is dismayed to find that her parents have redecorated her old room as a surprise. <BR/><BR/>Peg is an engaging narrator who brings a distant era to life through radio dramas such as The Lone Ranger and the simplicity of a time where books and friendships filled our hours instead of electronics. Her rehabilitation is tempered with humor and spirit; no self-pity here, only the desire to become the best she can be. The Sister Kenny method of polio treatment is described in detail, along with physical and occupational therapy exercises. Peg has a crush on Dr. Bevis, a handsome doctor who makes her feel special by painting her toenails when she's still in intensive care, and promises him that she'll return to walk for him. She makes friends with several other girls recovering from polio, including the bitter Alice, who's lived at the rehabilitation center for ten years after her parents couldn't care for her. The girls are brought together by their shared experiences as polio survivors, and Peg is apprehensive about rejoining her school and the outside world. <BR/><BR/>The novel is brought full-circle by the sad mention that Peg, along with her former roommates, suffers from post-polio syndrome; around 25% of childhood polio sufferers develop additional symptoms decades after the initial infection, including muscle weakness, fatigue, or paralysis. After working so hard to overcome polio, she's certainly not giving in now. There are also vintage photographs of the author and her roommates scattered throughout. A marvelous introduction to polio's debilitating effects and the power of positive thinking on recovery.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2000

    It really makes you think...

    When i first read this book, it was for a school assignment, and it was the only book on the shelf that we could get extra credit on, since it was a nomiee. My first though was 'this could be depressing', but my teachers insisted on me reading it. As i read it, i got caught up in the story. It was one of those books that just pull you in so you can't put it down. She was such a strong person, i don't think i would have been able to surive that. The book showed great courage on the part of a 12 year old girl. I am soo glad i read it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    fantabulious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Last year our class read a book called
    Small Steps the Year I got Polio. Then I read it again! You really need to read this book. It's about a girl named Peggy she ends up getting polio. But not just one type, three types! She got sick one day in school turns she has polio! My favorite part in the book is when Peggy meets Tommy. Tommy is her first roommate Peggy gets .Do you think she'll survive? Will the polio ever go away? If you like to cry during a book, read this book. After every chapter you'll need a new tissue box!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2010

    Best book ever!!!

    This book is awesome!! I know you here that in every review, but seriously READ IT!!! It gives alot of info. about polio in fun ways! When my teacher 1st told me we were reading it I was like really an autobiography?? I wasn't that excited but we read it and I loved it !! Well bye

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    Peg did a good job of retelling her story. Her writting makes the story fell so real.A really good read alloud!! =D

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    great book for every one

    this is an awesome book for everyone to read from fast readers people who hate books or just have problems reading it is a good biography to read and i would recommend this book to anybody it is also a good book for a classroom required book

    i am also a person who doesn't like reading much but i also couldn't put this book down that is how good it is

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Quick Read -- Great Book!

    My 11 year old daughter read this for Book Club and also for school. She doesn't enjoy reading, but just couldn't put this down! All the girls in the Book Club loved it -- the best book they've read to date. Highly recommend this one, even if your child isn't a self-motivated reader. For an activity at Book Club, they tried driving around an obstacle course in a wheel chair. I can't wait to read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    Megan

    ¿Now an iron lung loomed besides m bed, hoses hanging like gray tentacles¿a gray octopus read to swallow me any time.¿ (Kehret 30-31). This quote is from Small Steps: The Year I got Polio. This book is written by Peg Kehret. Ms. Kehret wrote this book because she had a really bad case of polio and lived through all of it. This book is a first hand book about what happened to her. Her friends and family wanted her to write a book about what had happened to her. Anyone who wants to know about or how it¿s like having polio should read this book. The book title is significance to the book because she as re-learning how to walk with walking sticks and on her own. I really didn¿t connect with anyone in the book; however I did watch a video on polio last year at skills. Anyone and everyone should read this book it¿s a really good story. I think that the ending was good; it leaves you thinking about other things. I would give this book at 4 because if someone didn¿t know medical words it might be hard for them to know what¿s going on in some parts of the book. I think over all the book is really good at keeping your attention through-out the book. The story was at the time right before the big polio break out. I think I did learn what it was like to have polio. In the book it talks about her roommates would sing at night and there is a part talking about how she had to move 75 marbles with her toes to make her muscles stronger. The kids were really young in this book and the nurse and doctors just try to keep the positive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2000

    ******Outstanding*******

    I thought that this book was awsome. I don't really like reading but this was different. A story of a girl my age fighting her own battles. I don't know if it was because the book was fiction or if it was just the words that drew me into this book. I hope one day to be as brave as Peg. I am looking forward to reading other books of hers.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2014

    Small steps

    AMAZING BOOK, it has so much detail!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2014

    I am speachless

    This is such a inspiring book if you like it then read the book breathing room. Back to small steps...its a great book for all ages (mostly 4-8graders(but you get the point:D))

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    Hi

    Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    LOVED IT

    It was a amazing story. I loved every minuete of it and didn't want it to end. Worth every penny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Loved it

    #1 top book to me. If you need a good book to read let me know on Frozen result 1. Love,
    Alyssa Fortson

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    So good u could not stop reading it i could not stop it was soe awsome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    J

    Hhhhh

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    LOVE IT SO MUCH

    Read it it will give you a wonderful feeling

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    I LOVE THIS BOOK

    it make you think man i got it good, when you think you really dont like your life think about peg kehret and how bad she had it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews

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