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Kathleen: The Celtic Knot
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Kathleen: The Celtic Knot (Girls of Many Lands)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  638 ratings  ·  36 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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Cecile by Mary Casanovajillian McClout, Happy Scout by D.J. StamperIsabel by Annie DaltonKathleen by Siobhán ParkinsonBallet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
best kids chapter books
4th out of 7 books — 2 voters
The Sons of Thestian by M.E.  VaughanFionn by Brian   O'SullivanAwake, King Arthur by Glen BatchelorHood by Stephen R. LawheadJackboot Britain by Daniel S. Fletcher
Celtic Stories
23rd out of 37 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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.
Anastasia Teske
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
Joanna Mitchell
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.
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
"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
Great book; easy read. I finished it in a fee hours.
Jan 28, 2014 Ellen rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.

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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
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.
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!
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.
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. :)
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. =)
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.
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.
Madison H.
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 2 of 5 stars
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.
These aren't literary masterpieces, but they are very popular with middle elem girls
Katie  Wornson
I think it's supposed to inspire you. Maybe that's why I used to love it...
a bit boring at times but pretty enjoyable for ages 12 and up
Very good, I couldn't put it down. A must-read for Irish Dancers.
Sep 18, 2007 Annalise rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Girls between the ages of 10 and 15
Shelves: american-girls
I loved the stuff about dancing. and irish stuff is so cool.
This is a young adult book. It was a good easy read.
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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)
  • Isabel: Taking Wing (Girls of Many Lands, England)
  • Cecile: Gates of Gold (Girls of Many Lands, France)
  • Leyla: The Black Tulip
  • Saba: Under the Hyena's Foot (Girls of Many Lands, Ethiopia)
  • Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (Girls of Many Lands, China)
  • Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway
  • Neela: Victory Song
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