The Thickety by J. A. White
Kara saw her mother killed for being a witch when she was just six years old. Ever since then, she and her sickly little brother have been treated horribly by the village they live near. Her father played a role in accusing her mother of witchcraft, and now he cannot function well at all, spending his days writing the same thing over and over again in a notebook. So Kara at age 12 takes care of her brother and tries to keep their small farm functioning and her family fed. The entire village lives in fear of the Thickety, a deep woods nearby. So when a strange crow leads Kara deep into the woods right to the heart of the Thickety, she almost doesn’t follow. There she discovers a book of spells that seems to promise great power, a book that will mark Kara as a witch in everyone’s eyes. What is a witch’s daughter to do?
White creates a book that is just as dark and tangled as the Thickety itself. Her writing is a treat to read, focused on creating characters that are complicated in their motivations in a world that is lush and vivid. She doesn’t shirk away from truly frightening scenes in the book, including the opening scene of the mother’s death and Kara being accused as a small child of witchcraft. That scene alone warns you of the horrors to come, horrors that are scary in a deep, dark way but ones that are also appropriate for the middle grade readers.
Kara is a strong heroine. She is an outsider from a young age, shunned by her peers, beloved by her younger brother. Even the adults in the community have abandoned their family, leaving them to fend for themselves. Speaking of the community, it is another strength in this novel, a tight-knit and fanatical community on an isolated island that shuns magic. White manages to stay away from any sort of Salem-type setting while still maintaining clear links to that puritanical rage.
Well written with a strong protagonist and impressive world building, this dark fantasy is ideal for middle grade readers. Appropriate for ages 11-13.
Reviewed from library copy.
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:
14 Children’s Books that Challenge Gender Stereotypes – What Do We Do All Day? http://buff.ly/1iMNVuY
19 Of The Most Inappropriately Named Children’s Books. Truly Bizarre http://buff.ly/1pWS4uQ
Books on Film: Kate DiCamillo on NBC – a lesson in perseverance – http://buff.ly/1rUMSZy
Growing Int’l Latino Book Awards Reflect Booming Market – NBC http://buff.ly/1qrIWSG http://buff.ly/1qrIUKr
#latino #kidlit #yalit
How to Build a Bestseller with Non-White Characters | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/1wUyJOW
Let’s Go On An Adventure: 20 Books to Inspire Adventurous Mighty Girls / A Mighty Girl | A Mighty Girl http://buff.ly/1pWE4kA
Michael Morpurgo tells teachers to cry when reading to children – Telegraph http://buff.ly/1qrJHuZ
My hero: William Steig by Jon Klassen | Books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1pJhqkf
A Profile of Rita Williams-Garcia: Being Eleven – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1rULaYb
Reflecting on 20 Years of The Giver | Lois Lowry | http://buff.ly/1wFpRMX
What are the best first world war books for children? | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1rPpcpD
Go To Hellman: Overdrive is Making My Crazy Dream Come True http://buff.ly/1qmRR7U
#ebooks #libraries #bing
America’s 10 Most Unique Libraries (PHOTOS) http://buff.ly/1rTy1yJ
Banned Books Week Announces Comics Focus | ALA 2014 http://buff.ly/1pJoa1m
#comics #books #banned #libraries
OCLC Researchers Reorder and Reinterpret Ranganathan’s 5 Laws of Library Science For Today | LJ INFOdocket http://buff.ly/1o4m5Ye
Does Your State Protect Your Privacy in the Digital Age? | American Civil Liberties Union http://buff.ly/1iQVv7L
Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets : Shots – Health News : NPR http://buff.ly/1rPoQ28
2014 ALA Guide to ARCs & Signings | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/1rTsJmG
#ala #kidlit #yalit
Writing Teen Lives: A YA Roundtable http://pwne.ws/1pUiAFf
The winners of the new Booktrust Best Book Awards have been announced. The winners were selected by 12,000 schoolchildren in the UK, selecting titles from shortlisted titles in six categories. Here are the winners in each category:
BEST PICTURE BOOK
Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins
BEST STORY FOR AGES 6-8
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
BEST STORY FOR AGES 9-11
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
BEST FACT FOR AGES 9-11
Operation Ouch!: Your Brilliant Body by Doctor Chris and Xand van Tulleken
BEST STORY FOR AGES 12-14
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green