The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy

Book - 2017
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From the illustrator of the web comic Strong Female Protagonist comes a debut middle-grade graphic novel about family, identity, courage -- and magic.

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Publisher: New York : Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, 2017
ISBN: 9781338089523
Branch Call Number: J 741 .5973 OST
Characteristics: 210 p. :,chiefly col. ill. ;,24 cm


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forbesrachel Nov 28, 2017

In Aster’s family, boys are to learn the power of shapeshifting, while girls are to develop their skills in witchcraft. This is how it has always been, and it is how they think it is meant to be. The young Aster though, feels in his heart that shapeshifting isn’t meant for him, and he already knows that he is fairly adept at the teachings of the witches. From the bits and pieces of secret knowledge he gleans, he is able to do very helpful things. Aster lacks the confidence to defy his family outright though, and he is aware that there are consequences to dabbling in such things. It is only when the other boys in his family start to go missing, along with the encouragement of a sports loving girl, that he finds the courage to answer the call. Ostertag has created a genuinely thoughtful and accessible graphic novel for the middle grade reader with characters that break gender norms. Their story should prove encouraging to children questioning their own identities; that the things they are “allowed” to love isn’t defined by their gender, and that as long as they are true to themselves, others will also accept them for who they are. Ostertag’s artwork will equally appeal to this age group. Those looking for an art style similar to Faith Erin Hicks or Raina Telgemeier, should be directed to this creator. Ostertag’s pacing and use of colour are especially good. The Witch Boy is an outstanding graphic novel with broad appeal, it has enough threads left open at the end to hint at a possible sequel, and it is sure to help a child or two feel good about their identity.

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