September 13 – 19
After her grandfather dies, Kit Tyler moves from Barbados to Connecticut to live with her Puritan aunt, uncle, and cousins. Not used to their ways, Kit struggles to fit in. After making frowned upon friendships with the captain's son and the town's only Quaker resident, Kit's reputation begins to sour in the town members' eyes. After Hannah Tupper (the Quaker) is accused of being a witch, Kit must decide if she will stand by her friend or if she will conform to the community's ideas of what is proper behavior.
Speare, E.G. (1958). The witch of Blackbird Pond. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers.
This is such a classic story. I could not put this book down while I was reading! The story is eye-opening about intolerance for differences. I liked how Speare wrote Kit's character with strong conviction in her beliefs and views. Although the story was published in 1958 I think the lessons of listening to others, sticking with your friends, and doing what you think is right are wonderful for students to learn about today. I have a feeling I will be rereading this story over and over again.
Coming from Barbados to colonial Connecticut to live with her only remaining relatives, Kit Tyler finds it hard to conform to the bleak, uncompromising life of the ever-working, narrow-minded Puritans who disapprove of her clothes, her behavior, and her views. When she befriends a gentle Quaker woman believed to be a witch and rescues her from a witch hunt, Kit herself is brought to trial for witchcraft. Interwoven with Kit's stand against bigotry and superstition and her integration into the community is her romance with a young seaman. The author of Calico Captive has written another outstanding historical romance with a compelling theme and fully realized characters and background. ((Reviewed December 15, 1958))
[Review of Witch of Blackbird Pond]. (1958 December 15). Booklist. Retrieved from NoveList Plus database.
From Kirkus Reviews:
/* Starred Review */ When young Kit Tyler comes from her Barbados home to colonial Connecticut, she is unprepared for the austerity of her uncle's world. Kit, a staunch royalist, accustomed to the easy life of a slave-manned plantation, and her fanatic Puritan uncle are instinctive antagonists. But despite her tastes for finery, Kit is possessed with courage and conviction. Her spontaneous friendship with Hannah, an old woman whose Quaker affiliations have branded her as a witch, and her secret teaching of a young child who suddenly is stricken with a strange malady, seriously threaten her safety. For the townspeople are mistrustful of this strange girl who already has startled them with her "magic" ability to stay afloat in water. Kit's vindication, her gradual integration into the community, and the positive effect she has on those about her combine here in a well documented novel to rival the author's first work, Calico Captive, which received wide acclaim as a work of "superior historical fiction". Re-run from August 1, 1958 issue. (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1959)
[Review of The Witch of Blackbird Pond]. (1959 June 15). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from NoveList database.
Library Setting Uses:
Coordinating with local schools regarding curriculum and library programming is a great way to build relationships within the community. This is why I think a great library use for this book is to speak to teachers that might consider assigning it for class and then having the teens come to the library for extra credit meetings where they will do readings from the play version of the novel. This would allow teachers to discuss with the students the differences and similarities between the novel and the play script. At the library, students can even make their own costumes or change the play to modernize it and compare it to their lives today. Citation for book I found with play in it: Jennings, C.A. (Ed.). (1999). Eight Plays for Children: The New Generation Play Project. Austin: University of Texas Press.