Parents' Guide to

The Witch Boy

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Sensitive fantasy graphic novel explores gender roles.

The Witch Boy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 8+

Fantasy story without sexuality

My 7 year-old is a strong reader and it can be hard to find things that are challenging reading that are age appropriate. The Witch Boy seems to meet that need. The plot is compelling; issues of gender, identity, and fitting in with your family are explored but in a way that is accessible for younger audiences. The world of The Witch Boy is well-thought-out and explained, without feeling false or tacked on. And, unlike many "identity books," there is no preoccupation with crushes or other romantic relationships. A great fit for my fantasy-loving kid!

This title has:

Great messages
age 8+

Thought-provoking, may raise questions

My 8 year old boy (a traditional "boy" in most areas, I think the term is "cis"?) devoured this book when it came from the library and asked for more in the series. He explained to me that, in the book, boys and girls weren't allowed to do the same things, but this boy, "who looks like a girl", wants to learn magic. I read it on his advice. It stars a boy, Aster, who is good at magic despite being a boy (boys in this universe are shape-shifters), and his friend Charlotte (known as Charlie, an African-American girl from the nonmagical part of society). The kids are thoughtful and persistent. I love that this book questions society's gender roles and has people of color. The scary parts are a bit scary, and some parents might be concerned over the witchcraft side of things (pentagrams and the like). Really, that was my biggest concern, that the "witchy" elements of the book would lead to it being rejected by some people who otherwise might enjoy its messages.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (2):

Although it's sometimes a little too obvious in its intentions, this middle grade graphic novel promotes the idea that boys should be allowed to explore the things that interest girls and vice versa. Aster is a sensitive and compassionate protagonist, and author-illustrator Molly Ostertag gives him enough edges to make him interesting. With lively and accessible art, she choreographs a compelling confrontation between Aster and the mysterious villain and devises a satisfying resolution, leaving the door open to further adventures. No matter what happens next, The Witch Boy is an engaging middle grade graphic novel, one likely to appeal to a wide range of readers.

Book Details

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