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Bluish Paperback – June 1, 2002

3.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bluish is unlike any girl 10-year-old Dreenie has ever seen. At school she sits in a wheelchair, her skin so pale it's almost blue. Dreenie, herself new to the New York City magnet school, is fascinated by her, but wary as well. Unaware that the name Bluish could have derogatory connotations ("Blewish," for Black and Jewish), she fixates on the moonlight blue skin tones of this curiously fragile child. Together with Tuli, a bi-racial girl who pretends to be Spanish (often with poignantly comical results), the three carefully forge a bond of friendship, stumbling often as they confront issues of illness, ethnicity, culture, need, and hope.

This novel has an edgy quality that may disconcert some readers until they find the rhythm. Bouncing back and forth between Dreenie's first person journal entries and a third person narrative, the motion is a little unsettling. The overall theme is powerful, however, and Virginia Hamilton's skill in addressing the intense and subtle nuances of female friendships is impressive. No surprise, there; with over 30 books for young readers under her belt, and an armful of honors including the Newbery Medal for M.C. Higgins, the Great, three Newbery Honor Awards, the National Book Award, and many more, Hamilton is a formidable voice in children's literature. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

When she starts at a new school, Dreenie feels drawn to a frail classmate, whom everyone calls "Bluish." In a starred review, PW said, "Readers will come to cherish Dreenie's openheartedness." Ages 9-12. (June) Fiction REPRINTS
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 460 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Sky Press; Reprint edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439367867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439367868
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virginia Esther Hamilton was born, as she said, "on the outer edge of the Great Depression," on March 12, 1934. The youngest of five children of Kenneth James and Etta Belle Perry Hamilton, Virginia grew up amid a large extended family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The farmlands of southwestern Ohio had been home to her mother's family since the late 1850s, when Virginia's grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought into the state as an infant via the Underground Railroad.

Virginia graduated at the top of her high-school class and received a full scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs. In 1956, she transferred to the Ohio State University in Columbus and majored in literature and creative writing. She moved to New York City in 1958, working as a museum receptionist, cost accountant, and nightclub singer, while she pursued her dream of being a published writer. She studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research under Hiram Haydn, one of the founders of Atheneum Press.

It was also in New York that Virginia met poet Arnold Adoff. They were married in 1960. Arnold worked as a teacher, and Virginia was able to devote her full attention to writing, at least until daughter Leigh was born in 1963 and son Jaime in 1967. In 1969, Virginia and Arnold built their "dream home" in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement.

In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography. Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as "Liberation Literature." She won every major award in youth literature.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a girl now in remission from cancer, so I know how it really is, and I read every book there is to read on the subject. For a school report I have read this book Bluish and a book called Zink by Cherie Bennett. Bluish is sweet and Zink is bitter and sweet. Bluish is the way that my teachers would have liked for things to be with me when I was in school after chemo, and Zink is the way it really was. If you want to feel good, read Bluish. If you want to feel the real emotions of cancer, read Zink. I would love for you to feel the real emotions.
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Format: Hardcover
Bluish is a well crafted, insightful, interesting children's books about Dreenie, a fifth grader growing up in NYC and about her experiences making friends at a new school. It is a sensitive portrait of a girl coming to awareness of life--and of death. It isn't about being African American (as Dreenie is) or about being interracial (as Tuli is) or about being bi-cultural (as Natalie is). It isn't about being female or being an older or younger sister or a latchkey child. It isn't about having cancer or about holidays at Christmastime or about writing. It's not about getting a pet or being a New Yorker, although it touches on all of these as it shows Dreenie learning about the world--and about herself--one year when she is eleven years old and making friends with two girls very different from herself--and yet very similar. One friend happens to be--or wants to be--Spanish. One girl happens to have cancer. But we don't read the book to learn about cancer or how it fells to be growing up half Jewish or African American. We read it to experience what it is like to be Dreenie--to be all alone in a new school and then suddenly fascinated by a girl who is wrestling with a life threatening disease. Dreenie can't know what it's like to have cancer--and neither can we. We simply see things through Dreenie's eyes, feeling what she feels as she moves through the story. The obok is powerful because it takes us into Dreenie's skin and keeps us there from beginning to end, sharing her experiences and making these new friends.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is for middle school youngsters, 5th and 6th grade, although it would be appropriate for a precocious 4th grader and slower 7th grade readers. It is the story of three young girls who become friends after a very unlikely start. The title refers to the skin color of a sick young girl in the protagonist's Dreenie's class; a girl who is pale, weak and restricted to a wheelchair. All of the children, including Dreenie are afraid of the girl and try to avoid her. Later on it becomes clearer that most of them do not dislike her; instead they are afraid of her and the thought of sickness and dying.
Virginia Hamilton who has more than a few titles for young readers under her belt writes Bluish. Unlike some of her fantasy-based work, this is squarely set in contemporary New York with all the attendant urban problems we see on the news. For example, Dreenie almost jumps out of her skin while waiting for her father downstairs in their apartment building. Although she was warned not to go outside, she does just that, looking left and right for her father. Instead he comes in front of her and cautions her yet again that she has to look three ways: left, right and across. It isn't stated, but youngsters have received enough parental warnings and seen enough news shows about abduction to the author's point.
The book is written in a different type of style - it ping pongs back and forth between a journal format (Dreenie's diary) and a regular third person narrative style. While it was a bit unsettling for me as an adult to get used to the format, young people may not have as many preconceived notions of what a novel should look like.
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Format: Hardcover
"Bluish" is a novel by Virginia Hamilton, a prolific and multiple award-winning author of books for young readers. "Bluish" tells the story of Dreenie, a young girl who attends a magnet school in New York City with her brainy (but annoying) younger sister, Willie, and their eccentric friend Tuli. When a pale-skinned, apparently ill girl in a wheelchair joins her class, Dreenie is fascinated by her. The girl is nicknamed "Bluish" due to her bluish complexion. Dreenie begins a diary documenting her evolving relationship with Bluish.
"Bluish" is a gentle, moving novel about overcoming fear of someone who is different. The book is a hopeful celebration of childhood friendship. A nice touch is the fact that entries from Dreenie's journal are interspersed between the chapters of the novel. The book also offers an interesting perspective on the multicultural, multifaith world of NYC schoolkids; there's even a little primer on the celebration of Kwanzaa. Overall, an impressive effort from Hamilton.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes children can be unknowingly mean and brutal. Virginia Hamilton's characters seem real and natural. And how real and natural for children to tease and fear what they do not know. Hamilton's characters move smoothly from at first being fearful of Bluish to knowing her, understanding her illness, and becoming protective. Although not too many unexpected twists and turns, Bluish quickly draws you into a group of very likeable characters. "Girlfren'" Tuli is a hoot. Excellent reading for 5th or 6th grade.
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