Blue Jesus

I first heard mention of the book Blue Jesus on WABE back in April.  I was intrigued by the storyline, and after waiting eagerly for its release and wrapping up some other reading,  I recently finished the book.  My anticipation was rewarded.

Blue Jesus is a story of Buddy and Early, two pre-teens living in a small town in the North Georgia mountains.  Buddy is a sensitive type, viewed by many as a “sissy” and suffers indignities from his schoolmates because of it.  Early belongs to a group of “blue people,” whose skin has a blue tint instead of pink, and live apart from the townspeople as outcasts.  Things change for the boys when they find an infant’s body in the town dump.  Early picks up the child and appears to bring it back to life.  On hearing this, the townspeople hold up Early as a miracle worker, and he and Buddy become instant celebrities. 

The story centers on the friendship between the boys.  As each boy faces challenges at home and in the community and to their own characters, their mutual loyalty protects and sustains each other, even more than the love and support of family members.  Buddy looks after Early’s emotional and physical well-being during the frenzy of his newfound fame, while Early encourages Buddy’s spiritual growth and healing as he deals with the death of his mother.

Early and his family are based on an actual group of blue-skinned people who live in the Appalachian Mountain regions of Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.  The blue people’s appearance is due to a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia, a hereditary trait.  Isolation and intermarriage has kept the trait largely within a single community in the Appalachians.  Rather than be viewed and treated as curiosities, the blue people live in apart from general society.  Their detachment and the prejudice of the townspeople are a basis of conflict in Blue Jesus.  Both of these attitudes are tested when Early’s supernatural abilities are revealed and desired.  Early finds a way to use his power to bring the diverse peoples in the town together.

Blue Jesus is the debut novel of Atlanta writer Tom Edwards.  The book is not available in CCLS as of this writing, and the only copy in PINES is not yet available for request.  The book is available in stores and from online vendors, and is worth seeking out.


This article discusses a brief history of the blue people, methemoglobinemia and the doctor who discovered a cure.

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With Books

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th and continues through October 15th.  During this time five Latin American countries celebrate the anniversary of independence in 1821 – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  In addition to these countries, other Latin American countries also declared their independence during this time. Mexico declared its independence on September 16th, 1810 and Chili on September 18th, 1810.

This is a great time to recognize the contributions Hispanic Americans made to the United States, including excellent books!  Here is a list of wonderful children’s books with elements of Hispanic culture, family, and food.  Click on the image to link to our catalog and see if it is available.

Abuela by Arthur DorrosAbuela by Arthur Dorros

Gathering the Sun by Alma Flor AdaGathering the Sun by Alma Flor Ada

Pablo's Tree by Pat MoraPablo’s Tree by Pat Mora

Chato's Kitchen by Gary SotoChato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto

I Am Latino by Sandra PinkneyI Am Latino: The Beauty of Me by Sandra Pinkney

Some suggestions for Young Adults:
Cuba 15 by Nancy OsaCuba 15 by Nancy Osa

Buried Onions by Gary SotoBuried Onions by Gary Soto

For more titles related to hispanic culture for children and young adults click here. Hispanic heritage is more than good Mexican food. Enjoy the many flavors of Latin American culture…read a book.