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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Blue" ~ Great Hickory NC Polio Epidemic of 1944


"Blue" is a lovely, small book that is both heart-warming and historic.  Written about the great Hickory, NC Polio Epidemic of 1944, during WWII, the novel involves a sweet, naive family whose father has left for war and who are left to carry on in a harsh and unprotected environment.  The little band consists of a young mother, her 13 yr. old daughter, Ann Fay, twin elementery-aged girls, and a pre-school little boy.

Just barely a teen-ager, Ann Fay, is given a set of overalls and instructions by her dad to be the "man of the house" while he's away...a daunting task for any child.  It is Ann Fay who takes on the burden of guilt when her baby brother is struck down with polio, and when she is also taken with polio and removed from her family.

"Blue" has won a bushelful of awards for children's literature.  It is a very special book.  However, its beauty also makes it a most worthy read for adults and those who enjoy YA fiction, as well. 

Having a mother who was a polio patient in Hickory, NC, at this epidemic in 1944, made me very interested in this book! (See my earlier interviews and mentions of this book on my blog) 

 Although it's a fiction novel, Ms Hostetter recounts the particulars of the disease, the hospital-like facilities, and the therapies as my own mother recalls them.  So, there is much truth to her fiction.

The book is also a moral tale.  So much of the simple values and morality of a common way of living in the South are protrayed in "Blue," and the faith that uplifts all of her friends and relatives in Ann Fay's community are deeply moving.

I recommend this book without reservation to my friends and all readers of  YA fiction, historic fiction and medical history.

5 comments:

Alex

Great review, Deborah. It was a real eye opening book for me, since polio was pretty much eradicated when I grew up.
Keep up the good work!

Regulo Zapata Jr.,

Hi Deborah, I like your review. I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for the friendly connection on Desperate Lands. Most important I will be following your reviews.

Regulo Zapata Jr.
Author Desperate Lands
http://desperatelands.blogspot.com/

Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Thank you, Deborah! I so appreciate this.

BTW - Did you tell me your mom was from the Whitnel area of Caldwell County? I was at Whitnel Elementary School this fall and I want to send the link to the media specialist so she can share your mom's interview with students. (Actually I spoke to all 4th graders in the county so I should get it to all of them.) This will make the story so much more personal to them.

Leanna Hicks

I loved this book. if I wouldn't of had work i would have finished it in one day.

Diana Mcnair

My daughter is reading this book at cotswold elem school she is really enjoying it thanks for such a wonderful yet informative book

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