A Gathering of Days

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A Gathering of Days
A Gathering of Days.jpg
Front cover of unknown edition
Author Joan Blos
Cover artist Robert Papp
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical novel
Published 1979 (Prentice Hall)
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 144
ISBN 978-0-684-16340-6
OCLC 5171140
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)[1][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.


Catherine introduces herself as 'aged 13 years, 7 months, 8 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 school textbook.


Cathrine, Charles, Hannah, Mary, Martha, Cassise, Charlie, Uncle Jack, Sophy, Joshua Nelson, Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Shipman, David, Asa, Matty, Mr. Perkins, Williams, Danial, Mrs. Preston, Josh, Zedidiah, Uncle Edw, Mammann, and Emma.

Catherine Hall[edit]

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.

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.

Cassie Shipman[edit]

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 said of her dear childhood friend, "of all of us, the only one never to grow old."


  1. ^ 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.


Preceded by
The Westing Game
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Jacob Have I Loved