Bewitched!

Article by marycatherine

I wasn’t allowed to read books about witches when I was a kid. Perhaps that’s why, as an adult, I’m drawn to any and every book that features witches, wizards, magic...I love them all. Is there such a thing as retroactive rebellion? Let this be a warning to you against censoring your children’s reading materials. (But that’s a different post altogether…)

 

After reading Katherine Howe’s brilliant CONVERSION, I was inspired to write about some of my new favorites and old friends that feature witches and witchcraft in a variety of circumstances: suspected, whimsical, familial, historical, and creepy. 

 

Staff Pick Logo
Conversion Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399167775
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Putnam Publishing Group - July 1st, 2014

Fascinating dual storylines jump between Salem Village post-witch-trials and modern day Danvers, Massachusetts. In Salem, Ann Putnam is telling her version of the events leading up to the infamous witch hunts and dramatic “possessions” of girls in the community. In Danvers, girls at an elite Catholic day school begin to show symptoms of a “Mystery Illness” that throws the community, and the nation, into a frenzy. Ann Putnam’s story of Salem sheds light on (and misleads you in) the search for answers at St. Joan’s Academy. This book hits the pitch of both time periods perfectly, whether it be religious paranoia in early America or twenty-four hour news chaos today. It’s smart, fast-paced, and definitely takes twists you won’t expect.


The Witch's Boy Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616203511
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 16th, 2014

This is one of my big favorites from last year! Kelly Barnhill’s middle grade novel reads like a folk tale about ancient magic, the village witch who controls it, and her son, who is forced to carry it when unexpected tragedy endangers everything. The boy teams up with a wolf and a bandit’s daughter to escape his magic-seeking pursuers and restore his family and life to normal. The girl has a mission of her own, but finds that she can’t trust everything she was raised believing--and maybe doesn’t want to. Adventure, friendship, and fantastical world-building combine to make this really special, can’t-put-it-down, high middle grade masterpiece!


Half Bad Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780147511461
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - January 13th, 2015

Fans of gritty, raw, emotional stories, rejoice! HALF BAD tells the story of Nathan, whose mother was a good White Witch and whose father is the most evil Black Witch around. The ruling councils of White Witches see Nathan as a key weapon against his father, so they imprison and abuse him, while training him to kill his father. However, knowing that his survival depends on finding his father and keeping him alive, he escapes and embarks on a mission that challenges all of his community’s darkest taboos. It’s a series and I CAN’T WAIT to find out what happens next.


The Power of Poppy Pendle Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781442449268
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - September 3rd, 2013

The Courage of Cat Campbell Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481418706
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - January 6th, 2015

This charming duo about a young witch (Poppy Pendle) who would rather be a baker, and later her daughter (Cat Campbell) who is a late bloomer and desperate to be a witch, will charm and engage young readers. Both books can be read independently, but they really shine as a set. It’s also great fun to see Poppy as a young girl, desperate to escape her witchcraft, and as a mom, learning to support a daughter who loves being a witch. I’m a sucker for a mother/daughter story and think this one is particularly special.


The Witch of Blackbird Pond Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547550299
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - January 10th, 2011

A classic! I was actually allowed to read this one as a kid, but probably only because it was historical fiction and not magical magic fiction. It stands out as one of the most immersive reading experiences of my life and one that I can’t wait to share with my kids one day. Sixteen-year-old Kit moves from Barbados to Connecticut in 1687, and creates quite a splash! Bright, floral dresses, undesirable friends in the village, and a sailor boy who seems to keep popping up make her the talk of her small, Puritan town. As suspicion and gossip surround Kit, life becomes increasingly harder and for the island native, much more confusing. This is as close to perfect as you can get when it comes to historical fiction.


The Witches Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142410110
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - August 16th, 2007

This book is not historical fiction, but oh how I wish it was! Roald Dahl’s classic about a boy and his grandmother who outsmart a group of witches intent on turning the world’s children into mice is hilarious and creepy in equal measure. Need I say more? There’s a reason it’s a classic.


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