The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Hello, Molly Ostertag! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for finishing my sentences and for celebrating The Witch Boy with me. 

Molly Ostertag: Hi, Mr. Schu! I'm happy to be chatting with you! 

Let's get started! :) 

The Witch Boy tells the story of Aster, a boy who lives with his whole family in a big, rambling house in the woods. Everyone in Aster’s family has magic. The boys can shape-shift into different animals, and all the girls are witches. The thing is, Aster really wants to be a witch. He sneaks out of shape-shifting classes to listen in on witchery lessons. He can’t seem to master any animal forms, but he can scry in pools of water and make berries grow. His family doesn’t approve, however, and he has to hide his interests and his powers. The only person who he can show off to is his friend Charlie, a tomboy who lives in the non-magical town nearby and thinks Aster’s magic is pretty cool. When boys from Aster’s family start disappearing mysteriously, and a monster is found in the woods, only Aster’s unusual powers and his friendship with Charlie can help save his family.

Aster’s family want the best for him, but they don’t quite understand what that means. They have done things one way for as long as anyone can remember, and they don’t want to change their ways just because Aster wants to be a witch. Although they don’t look exactly like a traditional modern American family, they have strong magical traditions, and they stick to them.

I hope The Witch Boy reaches kids who might relate to Aster or Charlie, and who would like to see a character like themselves in fiction. There are lots of kids who are pushed into roles that they don’t want and aren’t suited for, especially but not limited to gender roles, and I hope that this book helps them feel good about being themselves.

School libraries are amazing, honestly. I tore through a lot of books when I was a kid, and my elementary school library was a haven. I have very fond memories of Scholastic Book Fairs being set up in the library, which gives me warm fuzzy feelings when I think about the Witch Boy being sold there! Comics and graphic novels can be kind of expensive, so I love the idea of comics in libraries – it gives kids access to so many amazing stories and beautiful, inspiring visuals.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me for my recipe for making a really, really good cast-iron steak! I know it’s not related to the book at all, but cooking is my favorite way to take a mental break in between drawing and writing. 

Look for The Witch Boy on October 31, 2017. 


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