BLUE by Joyce Moyer Hostetter


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Blue, 13, writes of Hickory, N.C., January 1944-June 1945. Roosevelt is president; the war and a polio epidemic are underway; Hickory’s camp becomes an emergency polio hospital and Blue’s father goes off to war, giving her overalls to wear as “man of the house.” Blue, her twin sisters, young brother and mother try to carry on with the help of a teenaged neighbor and his mother, but it’s much harder than Blue could have anticipated. First, her brother contracts polio and her mother stays at the hospital with him, leaving Blue to cope with minding the twins and managing everything. Then, it’s Blue who is stricken. In the hospital, she meets and makes friends with Imogene, a black girl, the first she’s ever actually been close to. Imogene describes “a muddy wide river between your people and mines,” and indeed it is. Chock full of life, history and character development, this intriguing historical narrative tries almost too hard to fit everything in—the war, polio and its treatment, death, race relations, a family’s near disintegration and a mother’s breakdown. The density and the first-person voice will turn some away, but the subject of polio is a rare one in children’s fiction, and these characters and their story are worth getting to know. (endnotes, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 31st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59078-389-1
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2006


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