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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  145,703 ratings  ·  6,443 reviews
Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 15th 1978 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1958)
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Marc There are several deaths, starting with Kit Tyler's parents when she was young and then her grandfather. Both of these deaths are prior to the start o…moreThere are several deaths, starting with Kit Tyler's parents when she was young and then her grandfather. Both of these deaths are prior to the start of the story. Mercy and her older brother had caught an illness with the brother dying and Mercy being left an invalid. This also occurred before the start of the story.

While the deaths of Kit's parents and grandfather, and to a lesser extent, Mercy's brother, laid the foundation for the story all of the deaths during the story itself were a minor part of the story.

There are no deaths in the bulk of the story until an illness strikes many people in town. On page 182 is "John Wetherell's boy died today. That makes three dead." The Wetherells are never mentioned in the story other than that sentence.

More seriously, is a group of 20 young men leave a nearby town as part of the militia. They are ambushed by indians with only eight of them returning. While none of the young men killed were from Wethersfield one of the men taken prisoner by the indians was.
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, and have therefore come to the conclusion that books written for children can be higher quality writing than books written for adults because there isn't this pressure to impress with heavy metaphor and poignant statements about life. When adults write for adults there is too much pressure, adults writing for children understand that it is the story and the characters that matter most, and if those two are well written then I think you have a deep, satisfying book. ...more
A good witch is hard to find.

I should know; I've been searching for one my entire life.

So, I went into this read thinking. . . maybe this is her. . . the witch of blackbird pond. Maybe she will finally be the “tatter-haired witch” that Karla Kuskin decribes, or the “magical prognosticator, chanting, canting, calculator” that Felice Holman makes me want to meet.

I wasn't looking for a Bellatrix LeStrange, I just wanted the witch I've been waiting for. . .

And I didn't find her here.

Nope. No real w
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Barnes& says 9-12; I'll go ahead and add girl to that.
"Buy the truth, and do not sell it,
also wisdom and instruction and understanding"
-> Psalm 23:23

A wholly satisfying read (and respectable look at Puritan life)!

(I'm a 23 yr old [in college] guy, and->) Who knew I'd get so emotionally invested??

I certainly didn't.

There were several parts when I was legitimately frustrated, angry, and a little teary-eyed (to level with you...).

My favorite scenes were quite easily John's return home (the teary-eyes; c'mon-> I'm just trying to give you an honest
Joe Valdez
My autumn witch-a-thon continues with The Witch of Blackbird Pond, the Newberry Medal winning novel by Elizabeth George Speare. Published in 1958, I gather this is required reading in some public schools; The Bookman in Orange carries new copies, while a buddy of mine named Steve Green at McClain's Coffeehouse in Fullerton caught me reading this and experienced a bad flashback to his junior high days. I was enamored by the finesse with which Speare propels her narrative and the historical detail ...more
Anne Osterlund
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Kit, Katherine Tyler, is a free spirit. When her grandfather dies, she sells off his giant home in Barbados and sets sail to find her only remaining family in Connecticut colony. She weathers a storm, avoids seasickness, and even manages to wrangle two entire conversations out of the blue-eyed son of the ship’s captain.

However, the Connecticut mainland has a sharper edge than any of the challenges on board ship. How can Kit bear the insidious patience required to drop cornmeal in a bowl one pinc
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

By now you are probably familiar and tired of hearing about my project, but just in case you have somehow missed out on what I've been up to, let me tell you. While cleaning out my garage I found some old VHS tapes, my high school Nintendo Powers, and a whole bunch of my old books from high school and college. Naturally, some of them had to go, and naturally, I decided the best way to decide that was to give some of them a reread and see
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not anything like my preconceived notion, The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a wonderful young adult novel set in the late 1600s in New England among the Puritans. Kit Tyler has arrived on a ship from Barbados and doesn't fit in from her first moments in Connecticut when she reveals that she can swim. The neighbors think she must be a witch since she can float! Her relatives take her in reluctantly and Kit tried to make herself useful by working hard in this new grim environment, so unlike the tropi ...more
Katherine Arden
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book got me into historical fiction which is the genre perhaps closest to my heart. The conflict between freedom and responsibility, between individual and family and community ring as clear today as they did when I first read this book as a kid
Bren Let the sea enamor you
“What a pity every child couldn't learn to read under a willow tree...”
― Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

A book from my childhood and one of the best pieces of Historical of the best BOOKS..I have ever read.

PLEASE do not go into this..if you have not read it..thinking it is only for children or young adults. Do you know how many people I know who read this in adulthood? So have I although my first reading of it was in my childhood.

So Kit is a newcomer to the Uni
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All historical fiction fans
Recommended to Werner by: My wife
My wife Barb had read this back in the 90s, and mentioned to me at the time how much she liked it, which had put it on my radar. So last fall, when I was considering a new book to read aloud to her, I selected this one, guessing rightly that after the lapse of 25 years or so, it would be like a new read. The very short Goodreads description for this edition says it "brings to life the witch hysteria of Puritan New England." That's true as far as it goes, but very incomplete; one plot strand depi ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, history

"She ​snatched at the dream that had comforted her for so long. It was faded and thin, like a letter too often read."

A search of identity, belonging, friendship, and breaking social class boundaries, this book is uncharacteristically deep for young adult novels. Not only is the time period historically accurate, but Elizabeth George Spear incorporates easy to read, yet distinct and complex, accents. From the Quaker 'witch', to the Barbados
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all young readers
This is one of my favorite books in a middle grade range. This, Heidi, little princess, Secret Garden, and Little Women are some of the best books the grade level has to offer.

We meet Kit who is on a boat heading to the colonies with a group of Puritans. Her parents died and she is moving to live with her strict uncle. She wasn't a puritan and so the life she comes into is difficult and people don't trust her.

The genius of the books is the old woman who lives next to Blackbird pond. This is a
2020 Re-Read

Me: I re-read this book every year!
Also me: * lets 3 years go by between reading*

Considering I own 3 copies you'd think this one would come up more.

Re-read 3.22.17
I've read this book easily over 20, maybe 30, times yet it still remains one of my all-time favorites.

Re-read 2013

I was around 11 years old the first time Mom read The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare out loud to us. That was a good year for read-out-louds. We were studying America
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wethersfield, Connecticut Colony, 1687

As the granddaughter of a wealthy plantation owner, Katherine “Kit” Tyler was considered a person of importance in her childhood home on Barbados. Now that Grandfather is dead, Kit has pleaded with her Aunt Rachel in Connecticut to take her in.

Aunt Rachel gladly opens her home to Kit, but Rachel’s husband, Puritan elder Matthew Wood, is less enthused. Kit is very much a part of the mainstream Anglican culture of the day—she’s a fan of playacting and colorfu
Sarah Mac
So. I read this for the first time since 5th grade.

As a kid, the romance between Kit & Nat gave me great anxiety. I really wanted them to end up together. The idea that they might not was excruciating because it was SO OBVIOUS!!! that they were the OTP of this when I picked it up again after so many years, I remembered little else about the story.

But as an adult, two things stand out: the relationship between Kit & her uncle Matthew, & the complete lack of sexual menace in a period ri
Corinne Edwards
This is a breathtaking book. It takes us to Puritan New England, in the colony of Connecticut. Sixteen year old Katherine (Kit) arrives in America after having been brought up by her grandfather in Barbados. Her liberal Shakespeare-reading, ocean-swimming, silk-dress wearing upbringing did nothing to prepare her for the inflexibility and piousness of her aunt’s family that takes her in. In fact, Kit’s free thinking and outspoken ways create suspicion and irrational fear.

Speare’s characters are f
This is my 9th Newbery Medal book and maybe the best so far. Well written with good characters, especially Kit Tyler, the young lady who is the heroine of the novel. There is a bit of a history lesson here also since the setting is 1687 in Wethersfield of the Connecticut Colony where the heavy handed Puritan's are dispensing their brand of religion and law. You can get an idea of the plot from the book description, but it plays out on the pages so well with such a strong, young female character ...more
The Captain
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there mateys! This being Banned Books Week and having just finished a historical fiction about witchcraft in England, I thought it be high time to read the beloved favorite. I reread this in one delightful sitting.

This book is a young adult historical fiction about a girl named Katherine, i.e. Kit, who is forced to leave her home in Barbados and move to Connecticut to live with her Aunt and Uncle. She goes from a care-free rich island lifestyle to a hard-working Puritan one in America. It i
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
I know this is a classic. A Newberry award winner for juvenile fiction, I can hardly criticize such a loved book. Sadly, I did not read this when it was meant to be read, as a youth struggling to know it's more important to do the right thing than to fit in with what everybody else is doing.

Important, worthy lesson, but after reading two young adult novels this week with very similar themes (does this happen to anyone else? I always seem to inadvertently read books in "themes"), I feel there is
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3.5 Stars

The problem with re-reading childhood favorites, is they very rarely live up to my memories. I still really liked this one, but I'm not sure if I found the ending a let-down because of the high expectations nostalgia had cultivated, or if it's actually a let-down.
Amy Greenfield
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved-books
A fish-out-of-water story that brought the seventeenth century alive for me.

What did I love about it when I was a teen? Its restless, stubborn, impulsive heroine, Kit. Its confident, outspoken, sea-faring hero, Nat. Steadfast Mercy and shy John — whose story still makes my heart beat a little faster. A historical setting so vivid that my real life paled beside it. And - sigh - one of the most romantic last scenes ever.

Re-reading it now, I can see that it was shaped by the time it was written i
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh, my heart. I have a new favorite. <3 <3 <3 (Thanks to Olivia for mentioning it in a recent blog post, for that is what inspired me to pick it up at the library. :))

(I want to do a real review at some point but no promises because I'm bad at keeping them when it comes to blogging and such. :P)
Jody Hedlund
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
LOVED this book! Is my new favorite! I'd give it six stars if I could! But then again, I love Elizabeth George Speare's writing. It's beautifully lyrical and riveting at the same time. Love. ...more
Jan Rice
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jan by: Richard
Shelves: audio, history, fiction

Sticks and stones will break my bones,
but words will never hurt me....

Well, unless you happen to be in court being tried for witchcraft:

"You will listen to the charges against you."
A clerk read from a parchment, giving full weight and due to every awful word.
"________ _____, thou art here accused that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast had familiarity with Satan the grand enemy of God and man, and that by his instigation and help thou hast in a preternatural way afflic
Now I recall why I wasn't a huge fan of his book while I was a kid. Between the main character lamenting every single moment that she's being worked like a slave and the Puritans sounding scarily familiar about people being evil if they don't worship as they do, I was over this book almost as soon as I started it.

Taking place in 1687, we get a sneak peek at the colonies prior to the American revolution. The main character Kit who has lived in Barbados her whole life with her grandfather as her o
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auth-f, kids-and-ya
3.5 stars. Read this forever ago, and enjoyed it a lot then.
Susan's Reviews
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this as a teen and can't remember the plot to save my life now. I remember loving this author, though. ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
My last book of 2019. (So I lied a few hours ago about the other book I thought would be my last. But this one really is, I promise.)

I recently recommended this book to a Good Reads friend because I had fond memories of it from childhood. Re-reading it now as an adult reminded me once again that I was a much more patient reader as a youngster than I am now. The book is well-researched and finely written, but it doesn't really get interesting until 40% of the way through when Kit finally meets Ha
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I’ve been muddling through a few “serious” books for the last several days, so I finally picked up an old friend instead: Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

The book’s protagonist, sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler, leaves 17th-century Barbados to live with her aunt in Puritan New England. Not too surprisingly, Kit does not fit well in her new environment. She has been pampered and spoiled. She is a Royalist and an Anglican. She can swim.

Kit is not the ideal heroine for a 21st-centur
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I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908. I have lived all my life in New England, and though I love to travel I can't imagine ever calling any other place on earth home. Since I can't remember a time when I didn't intend to write, it is hard to explain why I took so long getting around to it in earnest. But the years seemed to go by very quickly. In 1936 I married Alden Speare a ...more

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