Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabethe George Speare

A classic YA novel and winner of the Newbery Medal, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, is a work of wonderful historic fiction. It is the story of Katherine "Kit" Tyler, an orphaned girl from Barbados who journeys to Connecticut in 1687. A forward thinking young woman who is thrust into the Puritan society of her aunt and uncle.

Kit is an outsider in the strict community, likened to a tropical bird, she feels isolated and alone. That is until she meets a kindly old woman who has been labeled a witch by the local townspeople. In reality she is not a witch, but a Quaker who is considered to be just as bad by Puritan society.

Not only is this a story of prejudice and isolation, it is a love story. Kit is courted by a local wealthy young man, while having friendships also with a young sailor and a minister-in-training. All of this makes for an interesting love triangle of sorts that has a predictable but happy ending.

Modern teens will be able to identify with Kit's feelings of being an outsider. Most teens will probably not even notice that this book dates from the 1950s since it has such a contemporary feel. I recommend it to all.