A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in 1930s Alabama, Hoodoo explores African-American culture and folklore, painting a detailed portrait of one aspect of Southern small-town life.
Sometimes you have to face up to what you fear the most. Family history is important and can help you prevail over adversity. Keeping secrets can be destructive.
Positive Role Models
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher thinks he's the only member of his family who can't do magic, but he still finds the courage to face down those who threaten them. He doesn't want to put his loved ones in danger, so he keeps secrets about the Stranger's black magic.
Violence & Scariness
Murder and a hanging play parts in Hoodoo's family history. A couple of bullies accost Hoodoo and his friend Bunny. The Stranger causes a supporting character to die of a stroke. Hoodoo and the Stranger have a magical showdown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Hoodoo and Bunny have crushes on each other, but they don't know what to do about it, beyond holding hands and kissing on the cheek.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Ass," "piss," and "hell" one or two times each.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters smoke cigars and drink liquor. Hoodoo tries a sip of moonshine and quickly regrets it.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hoodoo is a supernatural fantasy set in 1930s rural Alabama. The plot draws upon African-American tall tales, local legends, and folklore of the South. Although the story's villain causes the death of a supporting character, Hoodoo contains relatively little violence: a fight with bullies, scary dreams, talk of murder and a hanging, and a magical showdown. Strong language includes a couple of instances each of "ass," "piss," and "hell." Sexual content is limited to some first-crush flirting. Adult characters drink hard liquor and smoke cigars. Author Ronald L. Smith won the Steptoe Award for New Talent, one of the 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards.
Is It Any Good?
A vividly rendered setting, a deep background in Southern tall tales and folklore, and a likable reluctant hero of a protagonist distinguish this creepy supernatural thriller. Author Ronald L. Smith hits the middle-grade sweet spot with a gripping historical tale, providing plenty of suspense without overindulging in gore. Readers are likely to be captivated by Hoodoo's first-person voice and will root for him as he struggles to define his identity while facing off against a nemesis schooled in the arts of black magic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.