Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond is very dear to me. It's one of the first chapter books I remember choosing and reading on my own. I probably read it in 3rd grade (around the same time as Kävik: The Wolf Dog), before I knew much about accusations of witchcraft in the New World, Quakers, or discrimination of any kind. Yes, it covers all three topics. But it's also a book about friendship and family, love and kindness, standing by your principles regardless of the consequences, and a young woman finding her way in the world...
My copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond is the one I had a child, and at some point I must have placed it beneath a paper on which I proceeded to write because if I tilt the cover at just the right angle, I can see several words in my elementary school block letters. I can make out Little House on the Prairie, AAA, $12.95, and part of a division problem. This novel spent some serious time on my desk.
Then her restless thoughts would drift after the Dolphin. Nat had offered to take her with him. Suppose she had accepted his offer? If she had never come back, would anyone here in this house really have cared very much? By now she would be in Barbados. At this very moment she might be -- The broom in her hand, or the treadle under her foot would idle to a stop as she walked in imagination up the wide drive to her grandfather's house, and stepped up to the long shady veranda. Then she would shake herself free. Such daydreaming was weakness. The house was sold, and she was here in New England, and perhaps Nat had never really meant his offer at all. --Elizabeth George Speare
The Witch of Blackbird Pond isn't a novel caught up in a lot of intrigue and action--much of the book is filled with day-to-day life--but there is danger, jail time, deadly illness, treason, a faithful cat, and love. If I ever have a daughter, this will be on her bookshelf alongside Charlotte's Web, Tuck Everlasting, Little House on the Prairie, Treasure Island, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and all those Christopher Pike books she's set to inherit from me. So, my advice: give this book to a girl you love.
1. Girl at window, via Come Back to Me; 2. "Cornline Closeup", by FOTOMOG; 3. Connecticut River, by Lucy Guiliano; 4. Country window, by Stepan Bogatyryov, via The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Story; 5. Table and chairs, via Modern Hepburn; 6. Old spinning wheel, by Joanna via Flickr; 7. Moon & Stars shawl, by Shui Kuen Kozinski, Brooklyn Tweed; 8. Pioneer dress, by Very Sweet Life; 9. Blue dress, by Donna Karan, via Ann Street Studio; 10. Orange cat, by Sonos Sacra via Flickr; 11. Man swimming, by Oh, Pioneer!; 12. Lady Washington, by Ron Kacmarcik via Flickr.