Doris Buchanan Smith

A Taste of Blackberries

Doris Buchanan Smith

A Taste of Blackberries

Few have approached the place of honor this one holds.

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


Have you read A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES? When it debuted in 1973 I was sixteen years old, older than the fourth and fifth graders the book was written for. I read it three times, and cried every time. I'm grateful for every student, teacher and writer who still talks about the impact A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES had on them.

When I was drafting an essay for Wikipedia about my mother, I needed to cite credible and reliable sources before making any claims about the book's importance. My firsthand knowledge, the oral praise I had listened to all of my life, would not be sufficient for an encyclopedic article.

It so happened that my job as a legal word processor in Manhattan put me near The Main Branch of the New York Public Library. The Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue landmark, flanked by the famous pair of marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, had been one of my mother’s favorite places to hangout whenever she visited New York.

Here is some of what my research on A Taste of Blackberries turned up:

“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.” JIM TRELEASE GIANT TREASURY OF GREAT READ-ALOUD BOOKS


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


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

Quick Links

Find Authors