Doris Buchanan Smith

a taste of blackberries

Selected Works

Juvenile Fiction
A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES 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, Giant Treasury Of Great Read-Aloud Books
A Taste of Blackberries, 19th Edition

Doris Buchanan Smith (1934-2002)

FEW HAVE APPROACHED THE PLACE OF HONOR THIS ONE HOLDS

Doris Buchanan Smith (June 1, 1934-August 8, 2002)


When A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES was published in 1973 I had exceeded the books target age of 7 to 10, but having obtained permission from a teacher to write a book report on it, I read mother’s first published work two or three times, and each time was reduced to tears. I was convinced my mother was a great writer, and that her first book was a winner.

Over the years I have listened with pride to readers, students, and authors speak about A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES with a kind of reverence. In 2013, some 10 years after her death, I was drafting an essay about my mother for Wikipedia, and found that I lacked multiple, credible, and reliable sources. The oral praise I had become so familiar with would not suffice for an encyclopedic article.

As it so happened, my job as a legal word processor in New York City placed me within a few blocks of The Main Branch of the New York Public Library. The Beaux-Arts landmark on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, whose entrance is flanked by Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions, had been one my mother’s favorite places to hang out when she visited New York.

“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

“A celebration of the continuity of the life-death cycle.” ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

“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.” PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

“Rightfully viewed, along with Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, as one of the seminal children’s books on the subject of death.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“It blazed the way for the many other grief books that quickly followed, but few have approached the place of honor this one holds.” GIANT TREASURY OF GREAT READ-ALOUD BOOKS Jim Trelease

Howard Randall Smith

"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

"The author weaves a believable and poignant tale of friendship, loss, and acceptance." Book Links

"It blazed the way for the many other grief books that quickly followed, but few have approached the place of honor this one holds." GIANT TREASURY OF GREAT READ-ALOUD BOOKS Jim Trelease

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