A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nightbooks by J.A. White (The Thickety) is a creepy tale with elements of the Brothers Grimm and the Arabian Nights, in which a boy is held captive by a witch in a magical apartment and forced to tell stories every night to stay alive. Between the creepiness of the situation and the relatable description of young Alex's feelings as he thinks of his mom discovering him gone, this tale may be too much for sensitive souls, but the rewards are huge: a thrilling plot, with strong messages of self-acceptance, being who you are, being a good friend, and problem-solving -- as well as quite a few short, creepy stories and much discussion of the writer's craft and how to make storytelling work for you.
What's the story?
Alex, who loves monsters and creepy stuff, hates being called a weirdo, so in the dead of night he goes to burn his NIGHTBOOKS, in which he's been writing his own scary tales, so that he can be a normal person. Unfortunately, he's taken captive -- in a magic apartment in his building in New York City -- by a witch, who makes it pretty clear that he's never going home. However, she needs a storyteller to appease whatever it is that's trying to destroy the building, so some of those scary tales come in handy. Meanwhile, Alex finds another kid being held captive, along with evidence that there used to be lots more. What happened to them?
Is it any good?
Author J.A. White is in top form in this tale of a horror-loving kid who's captured by a witch in modern-day New York City and forced to tell scary stories. Nightbooks isn't for everyone, especially more sensitive readers, but it's full of rewards, from lots of useful information for budding writers to strong messages of friendship and self-acceptance, as its relatable characters face numerous perils.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories that use elements from other stories (like "Hansel and Gretel" here) to create something new. Do you think this approach works well in Nightbooks? What elements do you recognize from other stories?
Have you ever been stuck in a bad situation you didn't think you'd ever escape? What happened?
If someone you knew plastered stickers of monsters all over his notebook, would you think he was weird or cool?
- Author: J.A. White
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: July 24, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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