A Gathering of Days
Front cover of unknown edition
|Cover artist||Robert Papp|
|Published||1979 (Prentice Hall)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.B6237 Gat|
A Gathering of Days; A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32 (1979) is a historical novel by Joan Blos that won the 1980 National Book Award for Children's Books (hardcover)[a] and the 1980 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature.
The book is written in the form of a journal kept by Catherine Hall, a young girl living in a rural village in New England with her widower father and younger sister. The journal details her daily life between the years of 1830 and 1832. Among the events of these two years are several that would have a profound impact on the rest of her life. These include her assistance to an escaped slave, her father's remarriage, and the sudden death of her best friend.
The book begins with a letter, dated Nov. 20, 1899, from the 82-year-old owner of the journal, now Catherine Hall Onesti, to her great-granddaughter, Catherine. The writer tells the recipient about the journal she is sending her, of her own life at age fourteen. Then the journal begins.
Catherine introduces herself as 'aged 13 years, 6 months, 29 days, of Meredith in the state of New Hampshire'. She then goes on the give an almost day-to-day report of the happenings that occur. At various intervals, she also includes quotes from her speller or her school textbook.
Catherine, called Cath by her friends, is thirteen at the start of the book, and has a birthday in May, so for most of the journal she is thirteen. Her best friend is Cassie, who dies during the course of the journal. She has blue eyes.
Catherine has a younger sister, Matty. Her mother died four years before the journal takes place. Her father remarried in May 1831, and his wife, a widow, brought her own son to live with them, Daniel.
Catherine is a beautiful spirit despite her losses in life that no one should ever go through.
Cassie is Catherine's best friend. She is a year older than Catherine, fourteen, but the girls are the same height. She has three brothers: David Horatio (two years older), Asa Hale (Catherine's age), and William Mason, the baby. In the summer of 1831, Cassie was suddenly struck with a high fever. Her condition worsened over the next nine days, and she died in her sleep on August 20, 1831.
In her 1899 letter to her great-granddaughter, Catherine Hall mentioned that "of all of us, (Cassie) was the only one never to grow old."
- From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories. Almost all of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1980 children's paperback.
The Westing Game
|Newbery Medal recipient
Jacob Have I Loved