Marita Conlon-McKenna
A Girl Called Blue

The orphanage is the only home Blue has ever known. She is desperate to find out who she really is. The closed file in stern Sister Regina's office holds the secret of her identity. And that is forbidden territory ...

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224 pages
196x130 mm

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Larch Hill is the only home Blue knows. She arrived there just a few days old, wrapped in a blue blanket. Her one hope is to find her mother or father and have a family of her own.

Fostered out several times, Blue finds it difficult to fit in. Is there no one out there who really wants her? No one who can really love her?

Blue must put up with the orphanage, with the distant and strict care of the nuns. She does have her friends, Mary and Jessie and Molly and Lil, but they're not family. They're not enough.

In her heart, Blue is desperate to find out who she really is. The closed file in stern Sister Regina's office holds the secret of her identity. And that is forbidden territory ...

Born in Dublin in 1956 and brought up in Goatstown, Marita went to school at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Mount Anville, later working in the family business, the bank, and a travel agency. She has four children with her husband James, and they live in the Stillorgan area of Dublin.

Marita was always fascinated by the Famine period in Irish history and read everything available on the subject. When she heard a radio report of an unmarked children's grave from the Famine period being found under a hawthorn tree, she decided to write her first book, Under the Hawthorn Tree.

Published in May 1990, the book was an immediate success and become a classic. It has been translated into over a dozen languages, including Arabic, Bahasa, French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese and Irish. The book has been read on RTÉ Radio and is very popular in schools, both with teachers and pupils. It has been made a supplementary curriculum reader in many schools and is also used by schools in Northern Ireland for EMU (Education through Mutual Understanding) projects. It was also filmed by Young Irish Film Makers, in association with RTÉ and Channel 4. This is available as a DVD.

Marita has written more books for children which were also very well received. The Blue Horse reached No. 1 on the Bestseller List and won the BISTO BOOK OF THE YEAR Award. No Goodbye, which tells of the heartbreak of a young family when their mother leaves home, was recommended by Book Trust in their guide for One Parent Families. Safe Harbour is the story of two English children evacuated from London during World War ll to live with their grandfather in Greystones, Co Wicklow and was shortlisted for the BISTO Book of the Year Award. A Girl Called Blue follows the life of an orphan, trying to find who she really is in a cold and strict orphanage. Marita has also explored the world of fantasy with her book In Deep Dark Wood.

Marita has won several awards, including the International Reading Association Award, the Osterreichischer Kinder und Jugendbuchpreis, the Reading Association of Ireland Award and the Bisto Book of the Year Award.

In her most recent bestselling novel for adults, The Hungry Road, Marita has returned to the subject of the Irish famine.

the details of the girls' daily lives and the characters of Blue, Sister Monica and Jimmy Mooney catch and sustain the reader's interest

The School Librarian
Lesley Martin - The School Librarian

there is a sense of moderation rather than sentimentality in Conlon-McKenna's writing, in so much as, the misfortunes and joys that befall Blue are very much within the realms of reality and probability. Set in the late 1960's, young modern readers should find its treatment of universal themes such as friendship, hope and acceptance relevant as well as poignant.

Deborah Buley - writeaway.org.uk


Reader Reviews

An excellent book. It was a brilliant and interesting story. I loved the whole book and I enjoyed reading it

Andrea on 8th March 2012

I think it was an amazing book, it really shows you how hard life was in an orpanage and how hard it was not having a mother or a father'.

Anna on 30th January 2012

Great book. I really enjoyed it. It is a great story. It's one of my favourite books ever. I love it and I could read it a million times

Nicole on 19th October 2011

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Other books by this author
  • Wildflower Girl
  • Under the Hawthorn Tree
  • No Goodbye
  • The Blue Horse

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