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Kathleen: The Celtic Knot (Girls of Many Lands)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  700 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Life is noisy and hard but full of love for 12-year-old Kathleen Murphy and her family. Kathleen dreams of living with her favorite aunt, Polly, far from her crowded home and the strict nuns at the convent school. She's surprised to find that she has a talent for dancing--and a chance to win the dance competition! But Kathleen's family has no money for the costume she need ...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published November 28th 2003 by American Girl Publishing Inc (first published September 1st 2003)
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Addy by Connie Rose PorterFelicity by Valerie TrippMolly by Valerie TrippSpring Pearl by Laurence YepJosefina by Valerie Tripp
Dolls with Books
32nd out of 49 books — 3 voters
The Sons of Thestian by M.E.  VaughanFionn by Brian   O'SullivanAwake, King Arthur by Glen BatchelorLiath Luachra - The Grey One by Brian   O'SullivanHood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Celtic Stories
28th out of 42 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,146)
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Jun 18, 2014 Violet rated it really liked it
September 2009 review:

Kathleen Delaney lives in Dublin, Ireland in 1937. When she is given the chance to take Irish dancing lessons, she isn’t all that thrilled. But when she tries the first lesson, she finds out that she really has a gift for it, and that she loves it! Her family scrapes up just enough money to pay the rent for for their tiny apartment, and to buy food, so dancing lessons are out of the question for Kathleen. But when she tells that to the teacher, the teacher tells her that sh
Mar 16, 2014 Meghan rated it liked it
Shelves: american-girl
I love to dance so it was interesting reading about Irish dancing. The story went well throughout but I found the end lacking. The focus went from Kathleen to her aunt which disrupted the story. Still, it was a good example of Ireland in the 1930s.
Maddie Senator
Oct 28, 2009 Maddie Senator rated it really liked it
Way back when I still got American Girl doll catalogs, I was really excited to see that they were putting out a new line of dolls and books called Girls of Many Lands. I immediately wanted to read this book because it was Irish, and the girl in it is an Irish dancer, no less! I think this is the only novel I've ever read that's about Irish dancing, which I really appreciate, because that's what I do!
The story is about twelve-year-old Kathleen Murphy, who lives with her parents and four younge
Dec 19, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
The story titled “Kathleen and the Celtic Knot”, is about a little girl named Kathleen who after her first dance lesson her parents aren't able to pay. After that Kathleen's dance teacher allows her to go to the lesson for free because she can see how good kathleen dances and how she loves it. When time goes by Kathleen's dance class are going to a competition for dancing. Then Kathleen reveals her dance and waits for the future.
Feb 15, 2016 Katy rated it really liked it
It just bothers me that this girl has to do a lot for herself even though her parents are home a lot. I'm glad that the author choose to do it in first person because it describes how she is feeling a lot. Kathleen doesn't even know that she's passionate about dancing until she tries it and I think that she is very bold on the outside and very emotional on the inside. It must be pretty hard for her to get out the door to school with so many siblings. I would recomend this book for people who lik ...more
Anastasia Teske
Jun 22, 2015 Anastasia Teske rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-dance
I read this book before I started Irish dance. Honestly, it didn't give me a good look into the world of dance, but it's still a great book to read if you enjoy historical fiction, or about life in Ireland in this time period.

Kathleen's family is a typical, working-class family in Ireland shortly after the revolution. When Kathleen's inquisitive nature gets her in trouble at school, her teacher recommends she begin dance lessons as an outlet. At first Kathleen is reluctant, but she turns out to
Sarah Crawford
Feb 25, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing
This novel takes place in Ireland in 1937, so it's not centered on the Irish potato famine or anything like that. Rather, it's the story of the average life of an average poor family living in Ireland at that time, and how Kathleen is given a chance to learn how to do Irish dancing.

The story is done well, especially in showing the varied activities of the family members and how they have to struggle to make ends meet but still have a really good family relationship.

There is some passing referen
Joanna Mitchell
Apr 13, 2015 Joanna Mitchell rated it it was amazing
I think the story of Kathleen is funny,realistic,and kind of inspiring.A funny moment is when Kathleen burns the porridge so she and her sisters have to eat fried bread.
Jan 25, 2009 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kerry-s-books, 08-09
This is an entertaining tale of Kathleen, a young Irish girl. She is part of a large family, who lead their daily lives struggling for existence. Da is often out of work and there is barely enough food to get them through each day. Kathleen has dreams to carry her through. She dreams of dancing in fancy costumes, but often despairs that they will ever become a reality. The story ends on a high note, when Kathleen earns a medal in a dancing contest.
This is an uplifting story that I would recommen
Madeline Henricksen
Jun 11, 2012 Madeline Henricksen rated it it was amazing
"Kathleen The Celtic Knot" is about a girl named Kathleen who has a talent for dancing. Her dance teacher tells her that she is the best in the class, but when she tells her that she can be in the dancing competition, Kathleen's bubble bursts. She needs a green brat (short cloak), green dress, black tights, and black shoes, not to mention that the lesson costs ninepence! Her family can barely afford her lessons, not to mention feeding themselves. She ends up wearing green CURTAINS to the dance a ...more
Katelyn Snell
Jun 01, 2015 Katelyn Snell rated it it was amazing
Great book; easy read. I finished it in a fee hours.
Mar 17, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Irish, good book.
Jan 28, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I wish they had had this American Girl series when I was of the magical age! I'll probably have to read the rest of this series- this one had a good plot and was well written.
Jul 28, 2011 Ellie rated it liked it
Cute story about an Irish girl finding her talent in traditional Irish step dancing. Had some WEIRD subtext commentary about the roles of women and marriage (WOMEN MUST GET MARRIED TO HAVE VALUE - this is my favorite message). Not entirely sure what to make of it, but I think some of it could easily go over the heads of kids.

Also, fyi, there's one cigarette and a small discussion of having a baby out of wedlock. Helps make this one appropriate for 5-6th graders.
Jun 05, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
Kathleen is an Irish girl living during the Depression. Her family is poor, yet optimistic, lively and encouraging. A nun as Kathleen's school suggests Kathleen take Irish dance lessons and Kathleen discovers her hidden talent. Sweet, but predictable. Kathleen is a little immature for her age, but nevertheless, girls will find this a pleasant story. Grades 3 - 6.

No reviews available.
Nov 24, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
Kathleen takes place in old Ireland and begins with a regular day for the main character Kathleen. Accept when she is late for school and sent to the office. When she arrives the principal suggests she starts irish dance lessons and then one event leads to anouthor and she loves it! Along the way though there are some tough decisions and she might have to give up her lessons.
Anastasia Flesher
Dec 04, 2013 Anastasia Flesher rated it it was amazing
I got this book from Books a million for my 14th birthday.i remember going to the american girl section and seeing it.. They started coming out with an older version of american girl, if you will. This book kept me interested. I would like to read the others in the series if they still have them.
Jul 19, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of traditional Irish dancing and Riverdance, plus I love books with dancing motifs! So this book was really fun for me. One of my favorite parts was how she made a stylish dancing dress out of the green curtains!! Go Ireland!
Sep 30, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
I think this is my favorite of the Girls of Many Lands books (I have only read three or four, however). I liked the time period, learning more about why Ireland is now divided into two and I loved the dancing.
May 25, 2011 Denise rated it really liked it
This is another good story about Ireland after WWI. Teh eyar is 1937 and Ireland is a rather sad place amist the world wide depression. The characters are well developed and the story is well done.
Megan [I'm okay, I'm alright]
Wow, I haven't read this for so long. I know I loved these books when I was about 12. No idea if I'd still like the series still, but I might read them again, for old times' sake. :)
Apr 26, 2011 Hannah rated it really liked it
I read these books ages ago!!! And I heartily recommend them to any girl who wants to learn about another culture. Kathleen was my favorite... I *think*. It's been a while. =)
Feb 18, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Just in time for St. Patty's day, an American Girl book about Kathleen! Kathleen lives in the slums of Ireland in the 30s and is offered a chance to learn to Irish Dance.
Meadow Frisbie
Jan 24, 2010 Meadow Frisbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-girl
Kathleen is from Ireland, I'm part Irish, so it was a different experience knowing that is werer some of my roots are. Loved the cultural descriptions.
Meredith Henning
Oct 07, 2009 Meredith Henning rated it really liked it
Violet's 2009-2010 reading page:
Madison H.
Jul 02, 2011 Madison H. rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I have always been interested in Ireland and Irsh dancing so its the perfent mix.
Jun 28, 2008 Amy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: md-book-club
I only skimmed this book as Bethany informed me it was quite dull. Not what we expected from American Girl.
Feb 16, 2008 Katie rated it liked it
These aren't literary masterpieces, but they are very popular with middle elem girls
Katie  Wornson
Jun 25, 2009 Katie Wornson rated it liked it
Shelves: alright
I think it's supposed to inspire you. Maybe that's why I used to love it...
Feb 02, 2010 Balletprincess rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
a bit boring at times but pretty enjoyable for ages 12 and up
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Siobhán Parkinson is an Irish writer for both children and adults. Siobhán grew up in Galway and Donegal. Her books have won numerous awards and have been translated into several languages. She is currently a co-editor of Bookbird, the magazine of international children's literature organsation IBBY. She resides in The Republic of Ireland with her husband Roger Bennett and son Matthew.
More about Siobhán Parkinson...

Other Books in the Series

Girls of Many Lands (8 books)
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