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Children's Fiction Post-confederation (1867-)

Dear Canada: To Stand on My Own

The Polio Epidemic Diary of Noreen Robertson, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1937

by (author) Barbara Haworth-Attard

Scholastic Canada Ltd, Independent Publishers Group
Initial publish date
Dec 2015
Post-Confederation (1867-)
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 5
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2015
    List Price

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The dark threat of polio becomes a reality for a young Prairie girl.

In the summer of 1937, life on the Prairies is not easy. The Great Depression has brought great hardship, and young Noreen's family must scrimp to make ends meet.

In a horrible twist of fate, Noreen, like hundreds of other young Canadians, contracts polio and is placed in an isolation ward, unable to move her legs. After a few weeks she gains partial recovery, but her family makes the painful decision to send her to a hospital far away for further treatment.

To Stand On My Own is Noreen's diary account of her journey through recovery: her treatment; life in the ward; the other patients, some of them far worse off than her; adjustment to life in a wheelchair and on crutches; and ultimately, the emotional and physical hurdles she must face when she returns home.

In this moving addition to the Dear Canada series, award-winning author Barbara Haworth-Attard recreates a desolate time in Canadian history, and one girl's brave fight against a deadly disease.

About the author

Barbara Haworth-Attard is the acclaimed author of 13 children’s books, including Theories of Relativity, winner of two teen choice awards—the Snow Willow Award (Saskatchewan) and the Stellar Book Award (BC)—and finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her other popular titles include A Is For Angst, Forget- Me-Not, Irish Chain and Flying Geese. Haworth-Attard lives with her family in London, Ontario. Visit her online at

Barbara Haworth-Attard's profile page

Librarian Reviews

To Stand On My Own: The Polio Epidemic Diary of Noreen Robertson (Dear Canada)

Noreen, a young girl in Saskatoon, records her experiences with polio from July to November, 1937, in her diary. Frightened and alone, many children were sent to hospitals far from home for treatment. As she faces daily struggles and triumphs, she remains hopeful and proactive.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Barbara Haworth-Attard

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