A studied and alarming look at the real threat of mob mentality, Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond is noteworthy for its authentic historical context, including the directed focus on Puritan history and witch trials. Kit Tyler, a vibrant and lively sixteen-year-old, who has previously lived in Barbados with her doting grandfather, has arrived in the staid and stoic Puritan community of Wethersfield, Connecticut. Living with her aunt and uncle, Kit feels suffocated by the stern atmosphere, and the locals view the new girl’s lavish wardrobe and colorful character with suspicion. When the lonely Kit finally finds a friend in Hannah Tupper, the town’s qualms about the young girl are further solidified, as the elderly Hannah is believed to be a witch, a pronouncement that appears to also ring true in Kit’s case. In amongst Kit’s struggle to make a home for herself amid a torrent of suspicion, she must also navigate her strained relationship with jealous cousin Judith, a prospective relationship with sedate William Ashby, and blossoming friendship with the sailor Nat Eaton. Critically acclaimed for its beautiful characterization, rapid action, and astute social commentary, The Witch of Blackbird Pond delights due to its independent, strong female character, and students ages 9 and up will enjoy Speare’s Newbery Medal award-winning novel.