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All the Way Home

By: Patricia Reilly Giff


Imagine what it would be like to have a disease that caused your legs to become twisted and almost useless. Living in Brooklyn most her life, polio survivor, Mariel Manning has had to live with her crippled legs since she was four. Although she's used to being stared at and whispered about, Loretta, the nurse who adopted her from the hospital, tells her she's the same as any other kid. Mariel isn't so sure about that. After all, not only are her legs twisted and funny looking, she doesn't even know who her real mother is. All she has are distant memories of her mother and the hospital she was in at Windy Hill, located about 250 miles away. Enter Brick. Brick lives in Windy Hill with his parents on an apple orchard farm. Claude and Julia, an older couple who treats Brick as their own grandson, live on an orchard right next to Bricks's. When a welcomed rain finally comes on Brick's way home from school, lightning strikes, setting both orchards on fire. Brick runs home, but is stopped by the sight of Claude and Julia trying to fight the fire by themselves. Noticing Claude's burned hands, Brick steps in to help him extinguish the fire; however, his own family's orchard couldn't be saved. His parents realize they'll have to move and send Brick to live with a friend of his mother's in Brooklyn--a friend that just happens to be Loretta. When Mariel and Brick finally meet, they end up helping each other in ways that neither could have imagined.


Prepared by Brenda Day, Library Media Specialist, Crowley Middle School, Crowley, TX