If you’ve read the About Us page, you’ll know that The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear is the inspiration behind Land of Lost Books. As a child, I’d stay up late reading it, squinting in the dim light filtering in from the hallway, barely able to make out the words on the page. Which, now that I think about it, is probably why I needed glasses by middle school.
I didn’t sneak it late at night because there was anything particularly scandalous about it – in fact it’s full of rich historical detail and a nice assortment of real life characters and events mingling with Ms. Spear’s fictional world – but because I couldn’t put it down. So even though I was supposed to be long since lost to my dreams, I was instead lost in a book.
And the passing years haven’t changed the way I feel about it. When re-reading it to my nine-year old daughter before bed, I found (to her profound joy) that I read far past her normal bedtime without even realizing it. Some habits are hard to break, I guess.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is the Newbery Award winning story of Katherine (Kit) Tyler, a fish out of water in puritanical Connecticut in the year 1687. Used to the fine things and warm weather she enjoyed in Barbados, Kit finds Wethersfield, CT and her strict aunt and uncle to be quite a shock. Then there are her two cousins, pretty Judith, with whom Kit will compete for the affections of a local boy, and selfless Mercy, who always puts others first. Kit struggles to find her place, and discovers a friend in Hannah Tupper, an old woman who lives out by Blackbird Pond, and Nat Eaton, the son of a ship’s captain who keeps an eye on Hannah, and Kit, whenever his ship docks in town.
When Hannah, and then Kit, are accused by the townspeople of being a witch, Kit realizes that her life is on the line not because of anything she did, but simply because she is different. And in this time and place, different isn’t acceptable.
So much of this story still resonates today. Kit’s journey from pampered rich girl to hard-working niece to understanding and loyal friend amid great bias and prejudice is a perilous and rewarding one, and one not to be missed.
Do you have a favorite book from childhood that you still love today?
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Interested in reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond? Find it at your local library or one of the retailers below.
Available in E-book format.