One of the most exciting events of my career was the inclusion of six quotes from Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio in an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, titled “Whatever Happened To Polio?” was fantastic.
My daughter and son-in-law gave me a trip to Washington in April, 2006, to see it. They went with me, as did their two children. The exhibit’s curator gave us a private tour. It was overwhelming to see my words on the walls of such a prestigious museum. When you write books for kids, you don’t expect your words to end up on the walls of the Smithsonian.
Originally the exhibit was supposed to be displayed for a year but it proved to be so popular that it was extended. When it finally closed, I felt a sense of loss. Even though I knew I would not be returning to Washington, D.C., to see it again I had liked knowing that it was there. I enjoyed hearing from readers who had seen it and recognized the sections from Small Steps.
Today I had some wonderful news. With the help of Rotary, International, the “Whatever Happened to Polio?” exhibit will be reopened in Warm Springs, Georgia, on permanent loan from the Smithsonian. The grand opening is scheduled for August 11. I will be in Elmhurst, Illinois, that day giving a library talk so I’m not able to attend, but I am pleased that this wonderful compilation of an important part of our country’s history will continue to be available for public viewing, and I am thrilled to have had a small part in its creation.