The Constitution State
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Witch of Blackbird Pond takes place in 1687, well before the idea of the colonies uniting to form one independent country took root. Even so, there is plenty of tension and trouble brewing between England and the Puritans as to who will rule the Connecticut Colony.
Kit Tyler lives on her wealthy grandfather’s slave plantation in tropical Barbados. At 16 her life of luxury and privilege comes to an abrupt end when her grandfather dies and she must sail to the Puritan town of Wethersfield in the Connecticut Colony to live with her Aunt Rachel’s family.
Kit is shocked when she arrives. Everything from the bleak climate to the austere and douer people are foreign to her. Her Aunt Rachel, Uncle Matthew and cousins Mercy and Judith are equally shocked by Kit’s arrival and by her extravagant clothes, lack of manners and disgraceful behavior. Kit struggles with her new frugal life of rules, restrictions, hard work and plenty of expectations and hard consequences.
While her independence and strong-willed nature get her into a lot of trouble, her compassionate heart helps those less fortunate than she is. Should she marry the wealthy William Ashby like her Uncle expects her to, even though she doesn’t love him? How can she help Prudence, an abused and neglected child, find her own inner strength and happiness? And what can she do now that she has been branded a witch by befriending Hannah Tupper, the “witch of Blackbird Pond” and has been blamed for the illness sweeping the town? In the end Kit finds that by having the courage to help others she can also find the courage and wisdom to help herself.
Awards: Newbery Medal 1959
Other Connecticut Books: My Brother Sam is Dead by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier. This anti-war story takes place during the American Revolutionary war and highlights the pain and suffering wars cause.