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The Broken Veranda cover

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  • 216 pages
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  • 216 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches

polio, 1940s Canadian prairies, Children’s Hospital, farm life, young girl, treatment, one room school

The Broken Veranda
by Joanne E. Beattie

Joanne E. Beattie wrote The Broken Veranda as a fictionalized account of her older sister’s experience with polio. Although Joanne wasn’t alive when her sister contracted the disease, she often heard older members of her family talk about the challenging and heartbreaking experience. Over the years, she received newspaper clippings about Irene’s story, and continued to research polio. Through her love of books, she knew this was a story worth telling. Although many of the family members who lived through this time have passed away, she was able to recreate and fictionalize this era, with the hope that the younger generations could read about the hardships endured in the 1940s.

She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with her husband and her cat.

In the winter of 1943 in Saskatchewan, the Gall family is preparing for Christmas on their farm. But Irene, the eldest of six children, catches a terrible flu and cannot leave bed. When she doesn’t recover, her parents, Alice and Joe, consult the country doctor, who is dismayed to realize that eleven-year-old Irene is suffering from polio. Showing signs of paralysis, Irene is a serious medical case, and the family realizes her best chance for recovery involves moving her to the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital alone. It will take the help of a couple of generous, kind-hearted people to help Irene get the care she needs—and something of a miracle.

Although fictionalized, this story is based on the real lives of Irene and her family. The Broken Veranda is a remarkable record of polio and resiliency in the mid-twentieth century.


Joanne E. Beattie

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