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The okay witch
2019
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A graphic novel author-and-artist debut by the Eisner-nominated illustrator of Quince finds 13-year-old Moth Hush discovering her abilities and her family’s secret magical heritage while foiling a group of bullies on Halloween. 10,000 first printing. Simultaneous and eBook. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

A School Library Journal Best Graphic Novel of 2019
A YALSA 2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
A YALSA 2020 Great Graphic Novel for Teens

Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Roller Girl in this hilarious, one-of-a-kind graphic novel about a half-witch who has just discovered the truth about herself, her family, and her town and is doing her best to survive middle school now that she knows everything!

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she&;s about to discover that witches aren&;t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder&;s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth&;s family is at the center of it all! When Moth&;s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

In this spellbinding graphic novel debut, Emma Steinkellner spins a story packed with humor and heart about the weird and wonderful adventures of a witch-in-progress. - (Simon and Schuster)

Author Biography

Emma Steinkellner is an illustrator, writer, and cartoonist living in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the illustrator of the Eisner-nominated comic Quince. She is the author and illustrator of The Okay Witch graphic novel series. - (Simon and Schuster)

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Booklist Reviews

Three generations of brown-skinned witches work out their family drama over 300 years as Moth, a modern-day 13-year-old, discovers her magical heritage. While the story beats are mostly familiar, debut author Steinkellner wisely doesn't linger on the necessary tropes. Her story moves quickly, wielding a lighter tone that favors humor and pacing over world building to great effect. With the backstory out of the way, the focus turns to the compelling grandmother-mother-daughter dynamic that forms the story's racing heart. Moth's mother—in self-imposed exile from her own controlling mother's witch community—doesn't want her practicing magic, but when Grandma comes to indoctrinate the young girl, Moth must choose between her mother's rebellion and her grandmother's legacy. The art is perfectly inviting; smooth, colorful panels center on emotive faces, allowing for a breezy read. A school play about the town's history ties Moth's era to her grandmother's dark, colonial past and shows how prejudice can carry across centuries. This only adds richness to what is largely a fun, enchanting tale featuring complex women of color. Grades 3-7. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

PW Annex Reviews

The creator of the Quince comic makes her graphic novel debut in this time-traveling yarn about gangly 13-year-old Moth, who attends school as a witch on Halloween. "You have to dress for the job you want," she tells her mother, Calendula. Her wish inadvertently comes true after she renders two bullies temporarily speechless with her thoughts. At home, Calendula reveals that witchery is "genetic.... Mommy looks a lot younger than she actually is." Calendula was 16 during a 1692 witch hunt in their hometown of Founders Bluff, Mass. Back then, local leader Judge Kramer wanted "a town of sober, obedient, lily-white Pilgrims." Her remarks put readers on alert: Calendula, like Moth, has brown skin, and as the ghosts and witches of the past reawaken, the story questions the whitewashing of American history. Meanwhile, a subplot about Moth's animal familiar—a talking black cat who specializes in borscht belt repartee—provides levity in perilous moments. In Steinkeller's fluid drawing style, the characters' body language and motions are occasionally indistinct. But contrary to the uninspired title, Moth's magic proves better than "okay," and readers will hope for a sequel for the intriguing characters. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–8—With her frizzy hair, her gap teeth, and her lack of friends, 13-year-old Moth Hush doesn't fit in at school. She discovers why she doesn't belong—she's not like everyone else. As her powers activate for the first time, Moth learns that she's from a family of witches. Moth's mother, herself a former witch who gave up her powers, reveals their family's dark past of the 1600s witch hunts and forbids Moth from practicing her abilities. But when Moth obtains a talking-cat familiar and the diary her mother kept as a teen, she is forced to confront witch hunters, ancient family drama, and, worst of all, irritating school bullies. Steinkellner's debut graphic novel is a tour de force of middle grade storytelling. The wordy, quirky, character-rich dialogue and emotional narrative guide readers through what's simultaneously a coming-of-age tale, a mother-daughter story, and a supernatural roller coaster. Conflicts with bullies and witch hunters evoke themes of inclusion and diversity vs. ignorance and fear. Fans of Steven Universe and the "Cucumber Quest" books will adore the energetic art. This title has a deceptively low page count; younger readers might miss many deeper themes. VERDICT A must-have for libraries that serve middle graders, but recommended for comics fans of all ages.–Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

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