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A Taste of Blackberries Paperback – December 28, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Smith's moving story, a prank ends in tragedy, and a boy must learn to live not only with the loss of a friend, but with the feeling that he could have prevented it. Ages 7-10.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The sensitivity with which the attendant sorrow and guilt are treated makes this an outstanding book. It blazed the way for the many other grief books that quickly followed, but few have approached the place of honor this one holds."  Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, Sixth Edition, 2006

"Smith deals honestly and emphatically with the range of emotions... the story is not, however, an elegy; but a celebration of the continuity of the life-death cycle." The Atlanta Journal, 1973, Cynthia Westway

"It will be difficult to find a children's book this autumn by a new author as good as Doris Buchanan Smith's A Taste of Blackberries."  Times Literary Supplement, 1975, David Rees

"Rightfully viewed, along with Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, 1977, as one of the seminal children's books on the subject of death."  School Library Journal, Ann Welton, 2002

"An honest, touching story." -- ALA Booklist
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 640 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (December 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006440238X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064402385
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read A Taste of Blackberries as required reading in a Children's Literature class in college. It's the story of a young boy and how he deals with the sudden death of his best friend due to an allergic reaction to a bee sting. My mother had died unexpectedly of a heart attack only weeks before I read it. I'm so glad our instructor chose to include this book in our curriculum! It gave me the opportunity I needed to participate in class discussions of the fears and pain associated with death. And I found I was not alone. Many among us had already lost someone dear to them. Death is a univeral experience, and yet one for which I, and many of my classmates had been totally unprepared. I wish I had been exposed more to that particular reality of life as a child and believe that A Taste of Blackberries opens the door for just such discussions between parent and child or between children and their friends. I find, because it is fiction, that it can be an easy way to broach a difficult and frightening subject with children, then encourage a sharing of feelings.
I'd like also to say that this is a fairly short book, written for children. It does not deal with all of the more complex, dark issues and feelings that can be associated with death, nor should it. As I said it's written for kids. I personally found the ending of the book to be realistic, yet uplifting and hopeful.
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Format: Paperback
I came across this book in my sister's bedroom. She's only 7 and i think one of her teachers recommended it to her. Anyways, i picked it up and began reading it for no particular reason. This is a fantastic book. This will become my 2nd favorite book. I'm only in high school but this book moved me deeply. I'm not ashamed to say that i cried while i was reading it. This is such a touching story and i'm sad that jamie had to die but i liked the way that the book ending. It didn't end up really sad. ( i hate sad endings) Normally i don't like books where people die but in this book it was so pure and simple that i don't mind it. I would recommend this book to anyone it is a wonderful book that everyone needs to read. The most heartwarming part of this book is where the main character offered (silently) to be Jamie's mom's "substitue son." That part made me cry too. The most interesting part of this book is that the name of the character is never revealed. It makes the story seem so much more personal, as if the reader is actually the main character and is experiencing everything along with him. I can't tell you how many times i love this book, but i love this book! Read it or else you are missing out on one of the best books ever written! :-)
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in 3rd grade. It taught me to appreciate the friendships that I have because you never know when something is going to happen to your friends. I never knew that a bee sting could kill a little boy. I would recommend this book to anyone no matter the age. I will tell my children about this book.
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By Koto on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book in thrid grade and I don't think any of us had experienced a book so sad. This book is based on the death of the narrerator's best friend due to a bee sting. It shows how the narrerator copes with the trajity. It is a very good book I reccomend to kids in grades 3-5.
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Format: Library Binding
I read this book over 20 years ago, when it first came out. I was in the third grade. I can still remember sitting in my house, on my front porch, carrying this book around with me and finishing it as soon as possible. Jamie was the kind of kid we all knew and sometimes didn't like. We may have even wished something bad would happen to him as we read the story. But when it does, we are taken aback, and just can't believe that he will never play another trick again. The descriptions of picking and eating the blackberries, of attending Jamie's funeral, of eating food that still tastes good even after Jamie's death, are so very vivid to me today, 26 years later. This book is such a classic. I'm so glad you continue to offer it.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book on a whim one day when I was in the mood for a short, young adult book. I was deeply moved by it. It tells the story of a young boy dealing with his friend's sudden, accidental death. It's told in a straight-forward, plain way, but touches one deeply. If it has any fault at all, it might be that the ending is a little rushed, but that's easily overlooked. Anyone who likes childrens' literature should read this book, as should anyone who likes a lovely, humane story.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was in the 4th grade and I absolutely loved it!!! That was almost 30 years ago, and the story has remained with me ever since. I haven't been able to eat a popsicle in all that time without thinking about the passage where Jamie is so careful not to let his tongue freeze to his own popsicle. I've just purchased the book for my own 4th grade daughter even though I have told her the story repeatedly. This one will stay with you forever!
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in 2nd grade, and now in 7th it haunts me still. In second grade when I picked it up, something struck a chord, and something about it made me feel so...in my place, if i can say that. Something about the way I kept reliving what I pictured when I read the book, and that one phrase that I remember to this day "Jamie is dead darling,dead darling", made me realize- this was the first book I'de chosen that would fit in my real reading style. I learned a lot about what I like to read by this book, because it so perffectly quenched my thirst for a book. Something about the way the friendship, and thee personalities, and thoughts, and situations, and reaction...it all just clicked with me. So now I'm reading edgy, bittersweet books filled with tragedy, friendship, loss, and emotions, and all because of this book. And you know what? I wouldnt have it any other way.
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