The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth George Speare
The 1959 winner of the Newbery Medal is NOT about a girl who learns to fly on a broomstick, brew potions, and make things
appear and disappear with a wave of her wand. There isnt really a witch in this book at all. But dont let that stop you
from reading it!
Set in the British colony of Connecticut in the year 1687, it is the story of Katherine Tyler, commonly known as Kit. Raised
by her grandfather in a carefree lifestyle in sunny Barbados, Kit is forced to leave the paradise where she grew up and move
in with her only surviving relatives. They are an aunt on her mothers side and her stern husband (sound familiar?).
Moreover, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Matthew live in a small settlement in the harsh climate of Connecticut, with their two
daughtersthe beautiful but haughty Judith, and the lame but warm-hearted Mercy.
Its a tough move for everyone concerned. Vivacious, headstrong Kit is used to a life of leisure, being served by black
slaves, and enjoying the pleasures of high culture, high fashion, and high spirits all around. Under the glowering
countenance of Uncle Matthew, she must acquaint herself with homespun garments, a life of constant toil, long church
meetings, and the easily offended sensibilities of her Puritan neighbors. And even though she makes the adjustment well
enough to be courted by a well-to-do young man, Kit remains homesick, lonely, and oppressed by drudgery and the hostile
stares of some of the villagers. Her few pleasures include the natural beauty of a swampy meadow, the changing of the
seasons, the company of a young seaman named Nat and an abused child named Prudence. And yes, Kit also enjoys the forbidden
company of a lonely old woman who has been branded as a heretic and even, in the minds of some of the neighbors, a witch.
The result is a drama full of surprising characters, horror, suspense, romance, and touching courage. The story isnt only
about a girl who risks being accused of witchcraft. It is also about a young woman finding lovefamily love and romantic
loveunder discouraging conditions. It is about the growth of a heroines character and what she learns about herself and
the people around her. It is about a communitys fight to preserve its freedom, about the struggle in the consciences of
young people and old, and about a young stranger finding her true home.
So what if it doesnt have magic. This story will cast its spell on you, too, making you feel like part of a place and a
story set far back in history, amid a culture and a way of life few of us can easily imagine. And in spite of its cold
climate, this story also glows with warmth, sympathy, and understanding. Like a good fantasy, it draws you into its
world. And, even better, it leaves you wanting to stay there a while longer.
Recommended Age: 12+
If you would like to contact Robbie, you may do so here.