Witches! Malevolent or good-hearted, the presence of these ionic beings always intensifies as we approach the end of October. Personally, I’m here for witches year-round, especially when it comes to great literature. Here is a smattering of witch books for all ages and interests and seasons.
Baby and Toddler (Board Books)
My Magical Witch By Yujin Shin
A sweet rhyming tale for your littlest kiddos with pull tabs and flaps.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Awesome rhymes, cheerful illustrations, and charming characters (a witch, a cat, a dog, a dragon and more) make this the perfect read aloud for kiddos of all ages. It’s worth noting that rhyming books are wonderful for young language learners.
Preschool (Picture Book)
Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
“I’m Heckedy Peg. I’ve lost my leg. Let me in!” In this imaginative classic, seven children get turned into various foods by the menacing witch Heckedy Peg. Will their mother be able to save them?
A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall and illustrated by Vera Brosgol
Turns out it’s a tricky business adding a spoonful of frogs to a cauldron, but this adorable (and not at all scary) picture book will educate you on the hilarious process.
Little Witch Hazel by Phoebe Wahl
Artist and writer Phoebe Wahl lives in Bellingham WA, and the Pacific Northwest’s flora and fauna—owls, mushrooms, moles, moss, thimbleberries—loom large in this whimsical collection of four stories (one for each season) that follow the adventures of the world’s most industrious gnome witch, Hazel. The book highlights community work while also demonstrating how important it is for relationships to involve a give-and-take: After a year of helping others, Hazel must rely on the assistance of an old friend.
Leila the Perfect Witch by Flavia Z. Drago
Mexican writer and artist Drago stole our hearts with Gustavo The Shy Ghost, and now she’s authored an equally lovable book featuring a perfectionist witch. When Leila takes up baking and finds it more difficult that she imagined, she must learn that it’s okay and even essential to make mistakes. Hooray for growth-mindset!
The Three Witches by Zora Neale Hurston (adapted by Joyce Carole Oates), Illustrated by Faith Ringgold
Two kids, a dog, and a grandma must outsmart three hungry witches in this adaptation of Southern folklore, illustrated by Faith Ringgold. This is always a fun read aloud, with rich oral repetition in the language—Block eye, chip!—and heaps of excitement to keep kids riveted.
Middle Grade (approx. ages 8-12)
Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas
This book has an engaging first-person narration from a likable—and magical!—7th grader named Hasani, who discovers after an emotional episode that she’s a witch. Kirkus Reviews says that the book is “a wonderful world of witchcraft that highlights the contributions of the diaspora…Readers will relate to the struggles of standing out, feeling inadequate, and accepting change.”
The Witchlings by Claribel Ortega
Outcasts unite in this imaginative and socially-conscious story about a trio of brave witches who must rely on each other to confront the terrifying Night Beast. The girls’ reputations and magic are at stake, and they soon learn who really threatens the community (yup, greedy adults). My ten y.o. daughter’s favorite character was a toad named—wait for it—Edgar Allan Toad.
The Witch Boy: A Graphic Novel by Molly Knox Osterag
Both of my kids have read and re-read this wonderful series of graphic novels. Aster lives in a community where only girls are allowed to be witches and boys allowed to be shape-shifters, but he longs to become a witch, despite knowing he could be exiled. A close friend helps Aster practice in secret. As a review in the New York Times says, this graphic novel “reaches children at an age when they are trying to figure out which box they fit in—and shows them that no one has to be confined to a single box.”
Hooky by Míriam Bonastre Tur
Hooky features a delightful set of twin witches who miss a bus to magic school and end up tripping into some wild adventures. The manga-style graphics and major magic make this a big hit with kids.
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Witches control our climate—and then begin to lose control of it—in this debut hardcover. The main character, Clara, is an omnipotent Everwitch with the magic to heal all, but her abilities are volatile and unwieldy. As she doubts herself, she falls in love with the witch training her, and as the threats thicken around them, so grow her powers and her love.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
This comforting and romantic new novel from Mandanna features a lonely witch in Britain, Mika Moon, who travels to the mysterious Nowhere House to instruct three young witches. There she encounters a “prickly and handsome” librarian. Slowly Mika realizes she has finally found a new chosen family and a place to belong.
Witches: A Novel by Brenda Lozano, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
An act of extreme violence in rural Mexico draws the two distinct main characters of this novel together, one of them a journalist, the other a curandera (healer). The themes highlight storytelling, healing, and feminine power, illuminating how, despite the world’s contempt of women and women-presenting people, the spirit of the witch prevails. As Lozano writes, “All women are born with a bit of bruja in them for protection.”