Stellar comedic timing and whimsy galore combine in this magical friendship story.

WITCHES OF BROOKLYN

WHAT THE HEX?!

From the Witches of Brooklyn series , Vol. 2

A humorous, magical romp about a modern-day apprentice witch who is struggling to be a good friend.

Effie, a young apprentice witch, is back in the sequel to Witches of Brooklyn (2020). In her first outing, Effie learned she was a witch and began figuring out her magical powers. Now Effie learns more about the caring witching community and helps them create a clever solution to a cursed neighborhood intersection. Effie also works through friendship woes, kicked off by the appearance of Garance, a new French girl at school. Is Garance the source of all Effie’s problems, or could she possibly be a part of the solution? At its heart a relationship story, this modern fantasy with a realistic setting is lighthearted and whimsical. Humor and emotion are conveyed through dialogue using a wide variety of typefaces. The comedic timing of sequential panels is especially strong, creating mini-episodes within larger chapters. The characters’ specificity, from their facial expressions to apparel, adds even more humor, and the witches are delightfully diverse in body shape, skin color, gender presentation, profession, and more. While this title works as a stand-alone, the story is much richer when experienced as a sequel. In the previous title, visual elements hinted at Effie’s Asian/White heritage. Garance is Black; Effie’s lesbian aunts read as White, and secondary characters represent the diversity of New York City.

Stellar comedic timing and whimsy galore combine in this magical friendship story. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12544-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House Graphic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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