Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review: Witches (YA)

Author: Rosalyn Schanzer
Title: Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem
Description: A nonfiction account of the Salem witch trials, written for grades 6-10.
Source: ALA
Writing style: Documentary, and incorporating primary source material from time to time. There are some accounts of torture and stories of supposed devil-worship that might bother some kids (or their parents).
Major ideas: The author speculates about what might have caused the witch hunts, but she does not go out on a limb to assert any radical theories. She tells the story chronologically and points out—rather subtly—the opportunities that people had to make moral choices and the outcomes of those choices.
Wrap-up: This was an engaging tale of a truly horrifying period in America’s history. I should also mention the scratchboard illustrations, which I thought lent some sophistication to the book. 3/5* (just because I’m not the target audience)

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