The Okay Witch is a page-turner of a graphic novel about an unlikely witch just discovering the truth about her new powers and her family’s centuries-old history as outcasts in a small Massachusetts town. 13-year-old Moth is a relatable heroine with quirks, insecurities, and a wicked sense of humor. The crisp vibrant illustrations perfectly capture Moth’s larger-than-life emotions and the kinetics of her journey. From the bright colors of Moth’s cozy home, to the drab earth tones of 1600’s New England, to the cool pastels of ethereal Hecate (the mystical realm of witches), the changing color pallets beautifully express changes in mood and energy from scene to scene and across various settings.
I especially love how the panels are composed to convey spot-on comedic timing in some scenes, and a hushed sense of wonder in other scenes. Despite all the supernatural content, this story portrays some very realistic mother-daughter relationship challenges. Anyone who has ever felt dismissed, underestimated, or disallowed from seeking adventure will surely find a friend in Moth.
A dark story with gentle characters that ends triumphantly, Matilda Wood’s The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker grabbed me from the first page. It reads like a fairy tale — one with lots of death and disease and a desperate flight from domestic violence (mostly in the back story). The story itself is full of magic and whimsy and fun crazy details, like the flying fish that keep landing around the town. Enter the grim but tender world of the story and let it brace you for bravery, love and loyalty. The beautiful blue text and side art are marvelous and add richly to the story experience.
My name is Rosie Roche. I have lived in Evanston for 8 years and have worked for the city and NU as an educator and teaching artist. I have 2 young boys who love the library and ask to visit at least once a week. I have never seen such an impressive public library and consider it a gem in Evanston’s crown in terms of inviting space, helpfulness of staff and breadth of collection.
1) The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel (2014)
Her mastery is to write short stories that are intriguing and compelling to read and – in a way that is hard to pinpoint – leave the reader unsettled and disturbed. I see images from the stories at the most unexpected times, many months after reading them. She is so cutting in her condemnation that I wince and laugh to read them.
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