‘Tis the season for truly bewitching stories. Here are our picks for new graphic novels filled with witches, magic, curses, and more!
Real witches are all around us. You might never know it, though, because they’re in disguise. They wear gloves to hide their crooked fingers, wigs to cover their scaly bald heads, and perfume to cover the stench of the thing they hate most – children! In this full-color graphic novel adaptation of Roald Dahl’s darkly humorous classic, an eight-year-old boy travels to a seaside resort with this grandmama where he encounters all of the witches in England and goes head-to-head with the Grand High Witch. Eisner-winning artist Penelope Bagieu brings a quirky sense of child-like fun to a classic spooky story.
In the middle of the night, Effie, who has just lost her mother, is brought to live with her elderly aunts she’s never met. Her aunts, named Carlota and Selimene, run a holistic healing practice from their Brooklyn home, specializing in acupuncture, healing herbs, and more. Not long after Effie arrives, the aunts get another surprise visitor – Tilly Shoo, the biggest pop-star on the planet, who has been cursed with a bright-red face and needs their help. Luckily, Carlota and Selimene are more than just healers – they are witches, and it apparently runs in the family. A heartfelt series opener and a celebration of good witches everywhere.
Beetle is a 12-year-old goblin who has grown pretty tired of staying at home learning goblin magic with her grandma, the town witch. She longs to go to school to learn sorcery – like her old friend Kat Hollowbone, who has just returned from a prestigious boarding school. Beetle and Kat struggle to pick up where they left off, as new feelings seem to change the relationship between the two girls. This is only made more complicated by Kat’s aunt, Marla, an ambitious and powerful sorceress who longs to return their town to the way it was generations before – with a Hollowbone as town witch and the Hollowbone home on the site of the town mall. The mall to which Beetle’s best friend Blob Ghost is tied. For older middle grade readers, this is a colorful and unexpected coming of age story featuring a diversely witchy world.
Moth is… a little obsessed with witches. So imagine her excitement when she discovers that witches are real, and she is one! In fact, Moth is descended from a long line of witches in her hometown of Founders Bluff, Mass. Her mother, a witch who gave up her own powers during the witch hunts in 1692, warns Moth never to use her powers. In an act of rebellion, Moth decides to teach herself magic by stealing her mom’s diary which inadvertently transports her to the magical realm of Hecate where their family’s coven escaped. Touching on serious topics like racism and misogyny, this middle grade graphic novel is as sophisticated as it is fun. Moth is a relatable and winning narrator and her familiar (a talking cat) adds comic relief throughout.
Blackwell was supposed to be a safe haven for witches. In Blackwell, women hold magical powers and their powers are protected by law, as long as they never leave Blackwell. Things seem idyllic. Then, fifteen-year-old Bucky Orson’s little sister Heidi goes missing. His dad, the town sheriff, can’t work around town politics to investigate the case and his mother becomes so bereaved that torrential downpours start to flood Blackwell – a side effect of powers. With the help of his estranged friend Chamomille, Bucky takes the investigation into his own hands and uncovers centuries of hidden secrets in the meantime. This is a spooky and atmospheric witch-read, well suited for fall. As the title suggests, the story takes on a Noir quality with artwork to match – mostly black and white with dabs of colors. Appropriate for middle school readers and older.
I’m not awesome at keeping a journal. I kept a private blog when I was younger, but now I don’t worry about journaling so much. There’s always something else I could be doing. It was therefore very out of the ordinary for me the other day when I suddenly thought to myself, “I should write in my journal.” It turned out I had a lot that I needed to say.
As I’ve thought about this, and as I’ve read some really interesting articles about this topic (like this one), I’ve realized how important it is for all of us to record what we’re going through right now. It will help us process our emotions and make sense of the world around us. And since this time is literally different from all other times that have come before, you never know how what you write down will help future generations.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I have nothing to say,” or even, “Are you kidding me? My life is crazy right now! How am I supposed to add another thing to my To Do list?” Here are some suggestions of ways to ease into the process.
One thing that keeps me from journaling is the thought that I have to summarize everything that’s happened since the last time I attempted to journal. Don’t do that. Instead, focus on just writing down what you’re thinking of in the moment. Still don’t know what to say? Try answering one of these questions, or check out a longer list here (https://www.libraries.wright.edu/community/outofthebox/2020/03/25/so-youve-decided-to-keep-a-coronavirus-diary-now-what/):
Journals come in all shapes and forms. If the task of writing out a traditional journal entry seems daunting, try a different format. Some examples:
One thing that helped inspire writing this blog post was finding out about the University of Utah’s COVID-19 Digital Project. You can submit your photographs and experiences to this project.
While we don’t want to take away from the above project, the Provo Library would like to do something similar. We want to record Provo’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in submitting journal entries, photographs, or artwork that represent this time, please let us know! While it’s probably best that you keep your journals private, a summarized snapshot of your time in quarantine could be good for future generations to see. When you look back on this year, what will you remember?
As I was looking up some books, I realized that a lot of picture book titles can be foreboding. Some sounded like they belonged to horror films rather than picture books. With that thought spiraling out of control, I decided to create my own horror film synopses for different children’s book titles.
Actual Book: This is a story for children who are about to become older siblings. It addresses the jealousy children may feel when they have to share their parents.
Horror Movie Idea: An older sibling decides to oust their new baby brother. Is there a changeling in the midst? Or a demonic spirit? Don’t know. But this title could be truly frightening.
Actual Book: This book is about a rabbit named Ruby and her life with her grandmother. They love quilts, buttons, tea and more. This book is a calming and lovely.
Horror Movie Idea: Think a twisted Wizard of Oz prequel that explains how the ruby slippers got their color. The Witch of the East loved the blood of her victims (I know. The original slippers were silver, but the movie slippers are so pretty!).
Actual Book: This book is told in rhyme and encourages hope throughout the grieving process. Losing someone can be hard, and this story helps create a space for parent-child conversations on the tough topic.
Horror Movie Idea: A girl with a loving boyfriend starts receiving life threatening notes. She and her boyfriend go to the police but they can’t find substantial evidence. She eventually figures out that her boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder and his alternate personality is a serial killer who’s chosen her as the next target. The nice side of her boyfriend tells her to run away when he finds out the truth. Now the question is, will the crazy half of the boyfriend find her or will her feminine wiles find the hero beneath the monster?
Actual Book: This is a cute book about three ducklings following their mama out for a swim, but then something strange happens. One of the ducklings sink! The little one tries and tries again to swim but it takes a little creativity to keep the duckling afloat.
Horror Movie Idea: A family decides to vacation at a rented beach house. A storm comes in and they spend the day indoors. Then they realize the house is flooding and slowly sinking into the ocean. They try to leave, but they’ve been locked in with no way out. The family swims from furniture to rafters as the house sinks deeper into the ocean. Oh, and there’s a creature in the water.
Actual Book: Told in rhyme, this book talks about what happens when everyone stays awake at night. Someone practices their trapeze skills while others do house chores. The whimsical illustrations bring the story together in a delightful way.
Horror Movie Idea: No one on earth has been able to fall asleep for 42 days. Anesthesiologists can’t even put their patients to sleep for surgery. Everyone is growing tired, weary, and more irritable. Then people start seeing things and people realize that their childhood nightmares are coming to life. What are some titles you’d rewrite as horror movies?
BOO! It’s that time of year, my favorite time of year, with cooler weather, pumpkins, hot chocolate, and of course ghosts and ghouls. As human beings, many of us have a weird fascination with the strange and macabre. We tell stories around the campfire, go on haunted tours or visit haunted houses, and watch movies that scare us to the point that sleep is just not an option.
There are of course many things in the paranormal and horror realm that can capture our attention. There are skeletons, witches, vampires, serial killers, and monsters such as Big Foot or the Wendigo. The most popular of the paranormal that we often dive deep and become detectives is that of ghostly visitations. There are countless people through the ages that have experienced their own ghostly visitor - maybe you have your own experience - and have shared the creeks, the chills, and the apparitions in various stories. Some places even become landmarks as must-see attractions when visiting a city.
The most interesting part of telling or reading ghost stories is being invested in a person’s life when you otherwise have no connection. It’s genealogy with a spooky twist. With many stories we not only learn about the dead’s active spiritual life but we dive deep into their mortal lives as well. We learn about where they were from, what they were like in life from family or friends, read journals and notes, learn about loss and illness they went through, and look at old photographs as we paint a picture in our heads of who these people were and why they are not resting in the afterlife. If this is something that interests you and you are wanting to get into the Halloween spirit then do we have you covered. To get started, check out these books that have some fascinating and spooky tales. They range from ghostly love affairs to performers who can’t let go of the spotlight. Get caught up in the ghosts of our past.
Talented entrepreneur Carl Laemmle led and won the fight against Thomas Edison's filming monopoly and built Universal City out of the dirt of Hollywood. He created a place of wonder and imagination, and now, decades later, Universal Studios is filled with rumors of ghosts.
Uncovering ghost stories in Salt Lake City leads to a spooky mixture of legend, lore, and local history. The guides of Story Tours' Salt Lake City Ghost Tour reveal characters who just can't seem to leave the valley.
Romance is undeniably otherworldly. Heart racing, breath quickening, senses ablaze -it’s all apart of what makes love so frighteningly grand. As the French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld said four centuries ago, “it is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.” And yet, there are those who have seen both. Welcome to HAUNTED LOVE.
Thirty-five gripping tales of ghostly goings-on and other worldly encounters in theaters across North America and London. The hard part isn't finding theaters that are haunted-it's finding theaters that aren't!
Packed with rich illustrations, National Geographic's first-ever guide to the world's supernatural places showcases more than 250 spooky destinations around the globe, revealing a dazzling array of haunted castles, forbidden hideaways and otherwise eerie landmarks.