Julia Reviews! – ‘Small Steps’

TitleSmall Steps: The Year I Got Polio
AuthorPeg Kehret
Year It Was Published: 1996
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Summary…from the back of the book, “Acclaimed author Peg Kehret has written the true story of the year when she was stricken with polio. At first paralyzed and terrified, she fought her way to recovery, aided by doctors and therapists, a supportive family, and loving roommates fighting their own battles with the disease, and plenty of grit and luck. With the humor and suspense that are her trademarks, Peg Kehret vividly recreates a year of heartbreak and triumph.”
My View: My big sister, Emily, bought this book when she was my age because she loved reading the mysteries and adventures that Peg Kehret was writing for kids our age.  After she read Peg’s biography, Small Steps, the author became even more important and she began telling our family more and more about this wonderful lady.  I am now also a big fan of the Peg Kehret series of books, especially books like Cages and Don’t Tell Anyone.  When my dad told me that there was a biography about the author (and we even had it!), I was excited.  I learned a lot about things I knew nothing about before, especially about the time in our country when polio was such a big topic.  My favorite story in the book is about how much Peg loved her doctor during the time she was in the hospital.  It is a very funny story!  All I have to say now is that readers will be hooked from page one.

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The Book of People

Book of People

Monday’s blog has got me thinking more about the analogies between books (which I love) and people (which aren’t so bad either). It happened again the other day…

My brother-in-law and I met up for lunch in a hospital cafeteria. A family member was having surgery and it proved to be a good time for two busy dads to catch up while he was captive for a few hours in such a place.

The interesting thing about this hospital is its profound personal relationship with our family. This was the place where he and his sister’s (my wife) mother worked as a nurse before her untimely death more than twenty years ago. She gave her heart and soul to the place and worked the long and many times heartwrenching hours that nurses like her have given in places like this for centuries before and since. It had been her dream to do such things as far as back as her teenage years, and it fulfilled a place inside her that few other things ever did. I never knew this complicated, devoted lady and she has no other living relatives nearby, so her story for me and all of our children lies with my wife and her brother.

And now, here we are in this hospital, in the very place where she had written much of her life’s story. The moment we finished lunch and began to walk the winding hallways back to the small waiting area, my brother-in-law pointed out some favorite spots of childhood visits here, of seeing his mom do this or that…just remembering and reliving a page or two of the connections they made together inside these walls. Her memory, and his, still lingered in the shadows of an otherwise unassuming hospital hallway.

If you are in the book business, it is surprising how many people will tell you that they want to write a book, that they have a story to tell. For one reason or another most never take pen or keyboard in hand and begin the process. But let me tell you a secret that I recognized in that hospital..you’ve already started. As long as you are breathing, the story is being written. And when you are no longer here, bestseller status and wide distribution, even a publishing deal, won’t matter at all because this unprinted story will only be read by the very people who mattered to you most in the first place.

My brother-in-law simply opened one of those books that he knew and loved and read and lived…and began to read it to me. And the story of a life came to life once again.