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To Stand On My Own: The Polio Epidemic Diary of Noreen Robertson is a fictional diary written by Barbara Haworth-Attard. It is the twenty-seventh book in Scholastic Canada's Dear Canada . It is also Haworth-Attard's second book for the series. The book was released in October 2010 and was followed by the short story collection Hoping for Home.


"For Margie Eaton, my sister-in-law, who has stood with me for thirty-seven years"

Book description[]

"Friday, July 30, 1937
In the hospital

It has been a long time since I wrote in here. I am in the isolation ward. It's to keep our germs from spreading around.
Saturday, July 31, 1937
All the nurses and doctors wear masks so only their eyes show. I thought they were ghosts and screamed because I thought I was dead.
Sunday, August 1, 1937
I have polio.
I'm really scared. Mother and Aunt Ella have a school friend who had polio and she is crippled and has to lie in bed all day because she can't walk. Others who've had it have to use crutches. People can
die from polio!
Maybe if I say the word
polio enough times, it won't be so scary."



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of To Stand On My Own characters


Main article: Barbara Haworth-Attard



  • Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre (2011) - commended[3]
  • IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities (2011) - commended[3]
  • IODE Canada Violet Downey Recommended List (2011) - commended[3]
  • Red Cedar Award, BC Young Readers' Choice (2012) - short-listed[4]


"The publisher wishes to thank Dr. Stuart Houston, M.D., professor emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan, and author of Steps on the Road to Medicare and (with Dr. Bill Waiser) Tommy's Team: The People Behind the Douglas Years, for his detailed vetting of the text and his memories of the polio years in Saskaetchewan. Also our thanks to Barbara Hehner for her careful checking of the factual details."
"Many thanks go out to a lot of people who helped with the creation of this book: To Dr. Lou Horlick, Dr. Stuart Houston and Dr. Bryan Young for their medical direction; Blenda Ramsay for sharing her polio journey with me; Saskatoon and Regina reference librarians; City of Saskatoon Archivist Jeff O'Brien; Sandy Bogart Johnston for her wonderful editing; Scott Treimel, my agent, for always looking out for me; and last but not least, love to my husband, Joe."


  • The portrait on the cover is a photograph by George Marks labelled Teenage girl (14-15) posing, close-up, portrait. The background is a photograph from the Glenbow Museum Archives labelled Red Cross Children's Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta.[5][6]


See also[]

Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words

External links[]