The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare


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Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547550299
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 01/10/2011
Pages: 249
Sales rank: 9,968
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

ELIZABETH GEORGE SPEARE (1908-1994) won the 1959 Newbery Medal for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and the 1962 Newbery Medal for The Bronze Bow. She also received a Newbery Honor in 1983 for The Sign of the Beaver, and in 1989 she was presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her substantial and enduring contribution to children’s literature. Of her beginings as a writer working on Witch of Blackbird Pond she said: "Then one day I stumbled on a true story from New England history with a character who seemed to me an ideal heroine. Though I had my first historical novel almost by accident it soon proved to be an absorbing hobby."

Read an Excerpt

On a morning in mid-April; 1687, the brigantine Dolphin left the open sea, sailed briskly across the Sound to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River and into Saybrook harbor. Kit Tyler had been on the forecastle deck since daybreak, standing close to the rail, staring hungrily at the first sight of land for five weeks.

"There's Connecticut Colony," a voice spoke in her ear . "You've come a long way to see it."

She looked up, surprised and flattered. On the whole long voyage the captain's son had spoken scarcely a dozen words to her, She had noticed him often, his thin wiry figure swinging easily hand over hand up the rigging, his sandy, sun-bleached head bent over a coil of rope. Nathaniel Eaton, first mate, but his mother called him Nat. Now, seeing him so close beside her, she was surprised that, for all he looked so slight, the top of her head barely reached his shoulder.

"How does it look to you?" he questioned.

Kit hesitated. She didn't want to admit how disappointing she found this first glimpse of America. The bleak line of shore surrounding *the gray harbor was a disheartening contrast to the shimmering green and white that fringed the turquoise bay of Barbados which was her home. The earthen wall of the fortification that faced the river was bare and ugly, and the houses beyond were no more than plain wooden boxes.

"Is that Wethersfield?" she inquired instead.

"Oh, no, Wethersfield is some way up the river. This is the port of Saybrook. Home to us Eatons. There's my father's shipyard, just beyond the dock."

She could just make out the row of unimpressive shacks and the flash of raw new lumber. Her smile was admiring from pure relief. At least this grim place was not her destination, and surely the colony at Wethersfield would prove more inviting.

"We've made good time this year," Nat went on. "It's been a fair passage, hasn't it?"

"Oh, yes," she sparkled. "Though I'm glad now 'tis over."

"Aye," he agreed. "I never know myself which is best, the setting out or the coming back to harbor. Ever been on a ship before?"

"Just the little pinnaces in the islands. I've sailed' on those all my life."

He nodded. "That's where you learned to keep your balance."

So he had noticed! To her pride, she had proved to be a natural sailor. Certainly she had not spent the voyage groaning and retching like some of the passengers.

"You're not afraid of the wind and the salt, anyway. At least, you haven't spent much time below."

"Not if I could help it," she laughed. Did he think anyone would stay in that stuffy cabin by choice? Would she ever have had the courage to sail at all had she known, before she booked passage, that the sugar and molasses -in the hold had been paid for by a load of Connecticut horses, and that all the winds of the Atlantic could never blow the ship clean of that unbearable stench? "That's what I minded most about the storm," she added, "four days shut away down there with the deadlights up."

"Were you scared?"

"Scared to death. Especially when the ship stood right on end, and the water leaked under the cabin door. But now I wouldn't have missed it for anything. 'Twas the most exciting thing I ever knew."

His face lighted with admiration, but all for the ship. "She's a stout one, the Dolphin," he said "She's come through many a worse blow than that." His eyes dwelt fondly on the topsails.

"What is happening?" Kit asked, noting the sudden activity along the deck, -Four husky sailors in blue jackets and bright kerchiefs had hurried forward to man the capstan bars. Captain Eaton, in his good blue coat, was shouting orders from the quarterdeck. "Are we stopping here?"

"There are passengers to go ashore," Nat explained. "And we need food and water for the trip upriver. But we've missed the tide, and the wind is blowing too hard from the west for us to make the landing. We're going to anchor out here and take the longboat in to shore. That means I'd better look to the oars." He swung away, moving lightly and confidently; there was a bounce in his step that matched the laughter in his eyes.
With dismay, Kit saw the captain's wife among the passengers preparing to disembark. Must she say goodbye so soon to to Mistress Eaton? They had shared the bond of being the only two women aboard the Dolphin and the older woman had been sociable and kindly. Now, catching Kit's eye, she came hurrying along the deck.

"Are you leaving the ship, Mistress Eaton?" Kit greeted her wistfully.

"Aye, didn't I tell you I'd be leaving you at Say brook? But don't look so sad, child. 'Tis not far to Wethersfield, and we'll be meeting again."

"But I thought the Dolphin was your home!"

"In the wintertime it is, when we sail to the West Indies. But I was born in Saybrook, and in the spring I get to hankering for my house and garden. Besides,, l'd never let on to my husband, but the summer trips are tedious, just back and forth up and down the river. I stay at home and tend my vegetables and my spinning like a proper housewife. Then, come November, when he sails for Barbados again, I'm ready enough to. go with him. 'Tis a good life, and one of the best things about it is coming home in the springtime.

Kit glanced again -- at the forbidding shore. She could see nothing about it to put such a twinkle of anticipation in anyone's eye. Could there be some charm that was not visible from out here in the harbor? She spoke on a sudden impulse.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The book has a lively plot and excellent characterizations. The background has every dimension of reality.” The New York Times

“Rarely has a book taken us back into seventeenth-century life as this does.” The New York Herald-Tribune

"Strong plot, fully realized characters, and convincing atmosphere distinguish this historical narrative." Booklist, ALA

Customer Reviews

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 625 reviews.
gumbaya More than 1 year ago
I really liked the plot of this story. I had to read an award winning book for my 5th grade book report. I chose this and I suspected it would be boring, but it was really fun! It is about a girl who used to be rich, but whose circumstances change when her grandfather dies. She goes to live with her puritan Aunt and Uncle then she mets Hannah, a Quaker who is suspected of witchcraft. A really eye-opening view of Puritan times. If you enjoy learning about different periods in history set within a great story, then this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fabulous, sweetly romantic read. Kit and Nat will stay with you long after the last sentence is read.
LivelyRach More than 1 year ago
I am easily swept up in this period book. From the first few lines I ache for the tropical flare of Kit's beloved home. Now, an adventure awaits a newly blossoming girl in such drab settings. I feel that Kit's character is someone that a lot of people can indenify with despite the period. This book teachs you not to be afraid of the unknown, that through hard work and determination one really finds themselves, and finally never to settle. Never go looking outside of yourself to appease the masses. Love is and always will be there with you. In the words of Hannah herself, "There is no escape if love is not there." Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is all about a girl named Kit from Barbous (the Indies). She lived with her grandfather in Barbous, and a friend of her grandfather stole his money. His friend asked for Kit's hand in marriage, and he tried to make her believe that her grandfather wanted to. But, she still refused to marry and refused to believe him. So, that is why she left Barbous and went to Connectict by boat. On the way she met a boy named Nat. When they were on a smaller boat a child lost it's toy in the water. So, she got in the water, swam towards the toy , and gave it back to the child. Nobody knew that she was able to swim so they thought she floated like a with in the water. When they got to shore, she went to her relative's home, and they decided to let her stay. Kit got out her clothes & she let her cousins try them on. They looked beautiful on them. But, her uncle was rude to her & told her to get the clothes out of his sight. I better not spoil the book for all of you. Also, he said something else mean to Kit & I read the book at school. So, I know that it is a really good book! Trust me!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that The Witch Of Blackbird Pond, is a novel that is hard to determind the rating because of it's weak begining but strong ending. In my opinion, there wasn't enough detail, or excitment, I didn't like how the unimportant things were brought up more than important things, like when Kit was locked up, the author didn't share her feelings much, like Kit was just another object in the shead. However I did enjoy the trial, and how Nat came back. I would recomend this book to someone who can wait to get excited, but not to someone, who wants thrills from cover to cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first 3 quarters of this book (for school. Would have finished it had I not changed schools.)and was genuinely glad with it. The beginning was a little slow and most of my class (eighth grade) hardly understood it, but it gets better and faster paced as you go. I would reccomend reading it to see for yourself but if you don't trust my word than don't. As far as I was able to read it was very good. I apologize if there u any errors in my review, I am using my nook to write
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this novel when I was in elementary my mom bought it for me, because it was a favorite of hers, and I reread it till today. I continue to read it because it takes me to another time in history, I love the descriptions that she used, and how the novel flowed.This novel shows how a girl can be true to herself and not give in to convention or what is popular.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best book i have on my nook! You should buy it because it has mystery, action, and maybe a hint of romance!!!! This is an interesting book!! Bunnygirl () () (. .) (' ')
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thi book i wonderful. Kit is an amazing girl. I totally enjoyed this book, especially when my mom read it to me out loud. It starred slow, but the book worked itself into an exciting frenzy. Highly recomended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a very good book, for any age. It left me wondering what was going to happen as I read each page. I would highly reccommend it for any age, including anyone who loves to read. Although the tittle says Witch, it is not a scary book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The behinning was a little dry. At first I hated it. Then in the 6th chapter I started to enjoy it!!!! The ending was cool!
P.Clark More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler knew the time that she arrived in the cold state of Connecticut that it was not going to be anything like her old home in the Caribbean islands. Kit knew that her life would not be the same. She now has to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins, who do not seem to like her very much. Soon, Kit meets someone who feels just like she does, like she does not belong. This person is the old woman known as the `Witch of Blackbird Pond.¿ Kit was soon faced with many issues while she was staying in Connecticut, one of them being, she was accused of doing witchcraft.
I read the interesting book THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, a very famous and well-written book by Elizabeth George Speare. It received a John Newberry Medal in 1921, for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children
My opinion of this book is it has a strong plot, fully realistic characters, and a convincing atmosphere with a great picture on how our country worked during the 1600-1700s. The book starts slow, but overall it is a great book!
This book is about a free-spirited girl named Kit who comes to live with her relatives in Connecticut after her grandfather passes. Very soon Kit¿s aunt, uncle, and cousins start to like her and Kit starts to like them too. But, the only place where she finds herself feeling comfortable is in the small home of Hannah Tupper--`The Witch of Blackbird Pond.' A sudden illness that overcomes the town leads to certain members to form a mob and attack Hannah. Kit finds herself forced to save this new friend of hers and is then accused of doing witchcraft herself. Other plots in this story also make it a great book to read, like the romantic mess Kit and her cousin find themselves.
I think that Kit was the protagonist. Protagonist meaning the main character and/or the hero in the book. The person I think was the antagonist was Hannah Tupper. Antagonist meaning the character/friend that helps the story flow.
Over all, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND was a fantastic book. The characters were well described and the book was well written!! I do recommend this book to anyone! It was GREAT!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book for the look at a young woman in puritan NEW England.
book_lover123 More than 1 year ago
Good book. I had to read it for a project, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have if I'd read it some other time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How could you not lik this book? It is one of the best! Read it in middle school and and in Jr. High still loven it! To everyone else awsome book. You need to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book just shows how wrong we all view people's own individual rights. Yes,I would recommend this for young and old alike. very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Be carfull dont stop reading if u think its borring because every word counts very good i prafer for u to read this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't really like it at first because it very slow ,but the end is really good. I just wish she keep going at the end for a little while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to ask if it is good then it is i read it in mrs.fords class with my class mates p.s im in fith grade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little wierd at first but i guess as u get into it a bit more things start speeding up a bit In fifth grade i had to do a big report on historical fiction and my teacher chose this one for me to read! I dont think its a good sit at home and relax book nut definatly if u were doing a project i might choose this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved sooo much im willing to read it over and over again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book. Im a person who really doesnt like historical things. Take it from me its amazing!!!!!
book-lover99 More than 1 year ago
I'm in 7th grade so my teacher is making us read it and I just finished it!! I LOVE IT! At first I was like "Ew another stupid boring book that makes no sense" but now I'm like " I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AFTERWARDS!!!" I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was great
acgEDRD3301 More than 1 year ago
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare is a historical fiction novel about Katherine ¿Kit¿ Tyler, a teenage girl who leaves her sunny home of Barbados to live with her aunt and uncle in Connecticut in April of 1687. In Kit¿s new home and town, she is treated as an outsider for not fitting in the mold that the townspeople hold. The reader is left questioning how Kit is going to cope with living in this strange, new town. This novel showed the view of Puritans back in the 1600s. As a future teacher, I believe students would be entertained by this book, and would begin to question why people treat others a certain way. The Witch of Blackbird Pond is great for 4th grade and older.