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Elizabeth George Speare (1908–1994)

Author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond

24+ Works 26,172 Members 380 Reviews 17 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: (c) Houghton Mifflin Books


Works by Elizabeth George Speare

Associated Works


17th century (127) 18th century (119) adventure (147) American history (268) chapter book (164) children (184) children's (414) children's fiction (120) children's literature (191) classic (113) classics (112) Colonial America (181) Connecticut (147) fiction (1,403) friendship (154) historical (228) historical fiction (1,997) history (316) Indians (83) juvenile (146) juvenile fiction (133) literature (147) Maine (117) Native American (147) Native Americans (203) New England (183) Newberry (102) Newbery (407) Newbery Honor (209) Newbery Medal (461) novel (112) Puritans (245) read (177) Sonlight (106) survival (170) to-read (331) witchcraft (112) witches (193) YA (273) young adult (477)

Common Knowledge



Y/A fiction, 18th century Massachusetts in Name that Book (May 2013)
fiction set during Jesus' time in Name that Book (December 2010)
The Bronze Bow and bias in Read YA Lit (November 2009)


A moving re-read, a decade after memorizing portions of the story to perform. My perspective has changed and new elements stood out to me. But it's still interesting historically and culturally, and both inspiring and challenging religiously and personally.
johanna.florez21 | 51 other reviews | May 27, 2024 |
“Why do they say she’s a witch?” Prudence demanded, as the two walked slowly back along the path. “Because they have never tried to get to know her. People are afraid of things they don’t understand. You won’t be afraid of her now, will you? You will go to see her when you can, even if I’m not there?”

Sixteen year old Kit has lost all of her family in Barbados. Under some vague circumstances, she hastily gets passage in the first available ship to seek out relatives in the colony of Connecticut. Kits rather privileged upbringing causes an immediate clash with her Puritan relatives, and she seeks out the company of a Quaker woman who has been ostracized from the community some people believe she is a witch. Not all people or things are what they initially seem to be in this story though.

This book was written in 1959 and won the Newbery Medal. The writing still holds up well and is equally readable for adults and children.
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Ann_R | 208 other reviews | May 25, 2024 |
Louisa Knight Goodreads.com Review:
Age: 10 - 12
Reading Level: 5th - 7th grades


Children's Bad Words
Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 5 Incidents: demmed, golly
Scatological Terms - 2 Incidents: bl**dy (This is used biologically to describe blood flow but has been noted as this word is offensive in some cultures.)

Religious & Supernatural - 3 Incidents: A Native American speaks ritualistically to a fish and later to a bear after he kills them. An Indian Religious story told in response to a Bible story. The Indian says that he goes to find his "manitou," meaning spirit. (Indian coming of age ritual).

Romance Related - 1 Incident: Indians are mentioned a few times as being "half-naked," wearing only breechclothes.

Attitudes/Disobedience - 2 Incidents: A boy lies to a stranger saying his father would be back "anytime now" when in fact his father is away for months. (Lies for safety reasons). "The boy glowered at his grandfather, but he did not dare to speak again. With a black scowl, he stalked out of the cabin." To avoid offending his Indian friend, Matt lies about the character Friday not being a slave to Crusoe when he reads him the story. "When the Indian got that disdainful look in his eyes, Matt hated him." Later in the same paragraph, however, it describes how although they still don't like each other, they are no longer enemies.

Conversation Topics - 5 Incidents: A boy wonders if he actually could shoot a man, "even a criminal". The main characters read Robinson Crusoe together and a section of the story they read says," One of the captives they mercilessly slaughtered. The fire was set blazing for a cannibal feast." A pipe and smoking are mentioned a few times. Racism: "My grandmother hate all white men." His father had always "forbidden him to gamble."

Parent Takeaway
There is some racism throughout the story (from the Indians side), but as the two boys spend a summer together, this is overcome and a close friendship is formed. When winter is setting and it doesn't seem that Matt's father will ever return, the Indians tell Matt they will take care of him, but he must leave with them to a far away land. In the end, Matt decides he can't let his father down but must keep the house and land secure for if/when he does return.
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MamaBearLendingDen | 83 other reviews | Mar 29, 2024 |


1970s (2)


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