Booktalks

The Starving Times: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary Book Two Booktalk

In this second installment, Lizzie continues to record her struggles as a settler in Jamestown.

  • Grades: 3–5

Scholastic Booktalk

I still live at Jamestown in 1609, but every day I wonder if I, or anyone else in the fort, will survive this horrible winter of starvation and sickness.

October 9, 1609

My name is Elizabeth and this is my second diary. I live in Jamestown, Virginia, and today I watched my first diary sail away on a ship bound for England. I wrote it for my twin brother Caleb, who did not sail with us to America. Just before they sailed away, Captain Smith sent a sailor back with blank pages from the ship’s log, so now I have another diary to write in.

October 25, 1609

There is a girl here named Amanda Quick, who might be my friend, if it was not for her family. Her mother died on the voyage, and her father becomes more confused every day, wandering around looking for his dead wife. It is left to Amanda to care for her twin brothers, who are six, and her sister, who is two. She is much too busy being a mother to even consider being a friend too. It must be hard having to be a mother when you’re only 8-years old.

November 6, 1609

Food is getting more and more scarce, and we will not see a supply ship till next spring. We must make plans if we are to survive the winter, for the storehouse is almost empty. There is much food in the forests, rivers and fields, but we cannot get to it if the Indians continue to attack us when we leave the fort.

November 16, 1609

I am so angry! Our food is all gone! All the wonderful things Papa and I risked our lives for yesterday are gone. And I know the Bridgers are the thieves. I saw them early this morning, all huddled together, and I smelled the fish Mama had cooked for us. When other men found out what had happened, they were ready to cast the Bridgers out. But Papa persuaded them to give the Bridgers another chance. I don’t agree – the Bridgers have had a second, a third, and a hundred other chances!

December 4, 1609

Nights are very cold now, and we have had our first snow, and with it, disease. So many are sick, the men have built a sick house, so they can all be cared for at once.

December 17, 1609

Everyone is sick or getting sicker, including Mama, me, and baby Abigail. There is no food, no medicine, no help anywhere. How will we ever survive this terrible winter?

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This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart

  • Subjects:
    Pilgrims, Communities and Ways of Life, Social Studies through Literature
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