My students and I are about to step back in history to study the Depression. Part of our studies lead us to learning about the “New Deal” and and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since President Roosevelt was affected by his contracting of polio, I wanted students to have a better understanding of the disease, the challenges it brings, and the treatments for polio. A great book that does this is the autobiography by the author Peg Kehret, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. After writing many other children’s books, Mrs. Kehret decided to write her own story and how her life was affected by polio. At the title says, the book focuses on the year she contracted polio. The story travels through her first symptoms, her hospitalization, her rehab, and returning back home. Through the stories she tells of other patients affected by polio that she meets, we get insight into just how destructive a disease polio is and how polio didn’t affect everyone in the same way.
Reading this novel to my students we would stop to discuss our thankfulness that this isn’t a disease we have to face today. We also had many opportunities to discuss how we often take each day and all our abilities for granted. We talked about how we are commanded by God to give thanks always and in every situation God’s puts us in life. We ended by being able to look at how God used and molded Mrs. Kehret for the plan he had for her later in life as a writer.
Although this novel isn’t written from a Christian perspective, it is a beneficial book for all readers and an enjoyable look into the world of polio.