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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Eden Royce's Root Magic is about 11-year-old Jezebel and her twin brother, Jay, two African American children who are growing up in South Carolina in 1963, just as their school is being racially desegregated. They come from a family of "rootworkers" with supernatural knowledge. Their mother abandons her study of these folk teachings, but her brother, Doc, persuades her to let him pass the knowledge to the children. Police conduct unwarranted searches, intimidate and beat citizens, and make unjust arrests. A man is attacked by a supernatural creature in cooperation with wild animals. There's a murder. In one scene, animals are harmed in the process of making traditional medicines. A girl is called a "bastard" at school, and her mother explains what it means and why the term shouldn't shame her.
Beautiful and intense book
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What's the Story?
When ROOT MAGIC begins, 11-year-old Jezebel and her brother, Jay, are at their grandmother's funeral. Grandmother was a "rootworker." The community came to her for magical protection and healing. Jezebel's uncle, Doc, tells their mother he wants to instruct the children in these magical arts. Their mother wants them to focus on the education they'll get in school because she believes that knowledge is most important as they go forward in life. Doc convinces her that they should pursue both kinds of wisdom.
Is It Any Good?
In this tender story, a family learns to cherish its history, heal from its traumas, and take advantages of the changing world. In Root Magic, first-time author Eden Royce artfully presents the universal challenge of straddling two worlds by introducing a family who has to do that in more ways than one: They practice a form of folk magic that originates in Africa, but live in the United States. The younger generation are in the final months of their childhood, with Jezebel anticipating getting her first period. The twins are approaching the time when their lives move apart, as their gender begins to matter more. And South Carolina is desegregating the schools, thrusting the family out of its familiar community into a new world of possibilities. A strength of this novel is the combination of a luxuriously slow pace with moments of intense drama and excitement.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the special family tradition in Root Magic. What's something special in your family history?
Is there someone from your family who has had an especially great influence on you?
Have you ever had a friend who was very different from you? How did you see past your differences?
- Author: Eden Royce
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Walden Pond Press
- Publication date: January 5, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
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