Elizabeth George Spear is the author of this Newberry Medal Winner. This books is great for young readers because of the historical context and simple story.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond takes place in 1687 and is about Kit, a young girl who leaves her comfortable home and life in Barbados after her grandfather’s death to come to America to live with her aunt and only living relative.
The story is about Kit and her adaptation to a completely different lifestyle, from wealth and ease in Barbados to a hard working Puritan community in America. She struggles with her new situation, but finds comfort in Mercy, her disabled cousin, and Hannah, an old Quaker woman. Kit is forbidden to associate with Hannah but continues to befriend the lonely old woman and is accused of being a witch because of it. Thrown into the mix are several suitors for Kit, Mercy, and her other cousin Judith.
Although the plot and characters were very simple and the story was obviously geared toward younger audiences, I liked it. I liked reading about life in colonial America, about the witch trial nonsense, and general practices of daily life among Puritans. The themes of the book were good for all ages, since we all need to be reminded about accepting differences in others and not making broad generalizations about any group of people. And there was just enough romance so that everyone ended up happy in the end.
I would recommend this book to all ages, but particularly to middle school students.