As a five-year-old, Shelley Fraser is known for mischief.
On Halloween in l949, she fancies her brother's devil costume and persuades her mother to hem it up for her. But her plan to scare the total baloney out of the neighbor's babies backfires.
At kindergarten, she throws a six-year-old birthday party never to be forgotten, falls in love at juice time, and learns to read.
Six weeks into first grade, she becomes one of over 30,000 falling down the Polio Hole—which is the way she thinks of the illness sweeping across America.
During those years of dealing with braces, crutches, the loss of muscles that will never come back, she finds she is still very much who she always was, only more aware of the world's miracles. With a lasting lesson from her night visitor in the Isolation Hospital and a second chance as the Halloween Queen with her sweetheart Richard, she also earns a dog named Buddy, a horse with the nickname Lightn', and the friendship of a woman who teaches the enchantment of letters that can be read only with a mirror.
Shelley's battle to overcome the nightmare illness that changed America is woven into the story of the scientific development of the vaccine that nailed shut the Polio Hole. The efforts to bury the Hole worldwide is a major challenge of the twenty-first century.
For The Polio Hole: author Shelley Fraser Mickle is the author of several award-winning books and a commentator for NPR's "Morning Edition."
Her first novel, The Queen of October, became a New York Times Notable Book, her second novel, Replacing Dad, became a CBS/Hallmark Channel movie in l999, and her third novel, The Turning Hour won the Florida Governor's Award in 2006 for the best suicide-prevention tool in an educational setting. She is also the author of a historical novel, The Assigned Visit, and 2007 published the children's nonfiction classic, Barbaro, America's Horse.