Doris Buchanan Smith

Doris Buchanan Smith at Tree Song, her home in Hayesville, North Carolina

Doris Buchanan Smith, age ten. Atlanta, Georgia

Selected Works

Juvenile Fiction
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

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"Few have approached the place of honor this one holds." Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

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


My mother was an award-winning author of children’s books. Her most recognized book, A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES (HarperCollins 1973), earned critical acclaim and comparisons with CHARLOTTE’S WEB (HarperCollins 1952). In the early 1970s, along with such authors as Katherine Paterson and Judy Blume, Smith established “a solid reputation for accessible fiction with serious themes.”

“A Taste of Blackberries deals honestly and emphatically with the range of emotions,” wrote Cynthia Westway in The Atlanta Journal, 1973, “... the story is not, however an elegy; but a celebration of the continuity of the life-death cycle.” In The Times Literary Supplement, 1975, David Rees declared, “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.”

In THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK (Penguin, Sixth Edition, 2006), Jim Trelease commends Smith’s first published novel, saying “It blazed the way for the many other grief books that quickly followed, but few have approached the place of honor this one holds.” A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES won the Josette Frank Award, the Georgia Children’s Book Award, and the Best Translated Children’s Book Prize in the Netherlands (Zilveren Griffel). It is an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a 1974 Newbery Medal finalist, and has been translated into Dutch, Danish, French, Spanish and Japanese. In a review for the School Library Journal (2002), Ann Welton wrote that Smith’s book is “rightfully viewed, along with Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, 1977, as one of the seminal children’s books on the subject of death.

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

After a quiet beginning, this exceptional chapter book gains momentum as 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: THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK by Jim Trelease