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Root Magic



by
Eden Royce

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Walden Pond Press
ISBN
9780062899576
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Gun Violence
$18.30   $15.25
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QTY
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From debut writer Eden Royce comes a wondrous historical ghost story set in South Carolina in the 1960s—an unforgettable tale of courage, friendship, and Black Girl Magic.

It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven—and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going train them in rootwork.

Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of her family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs...and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.

Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Gun Violence

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

352

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.6: points 12

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Mar 2021

Book Genres

Fantasy

Topics

Twentieth-century US history. South Carolina. Fairy tales and folklore. Fantasy and magic. African American. Friendship. Family. Paranormal. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Eleven-year-old Jezebel’s family has done “rootwork” for generations. In 1963, many of the people on their South Carolina island frequent her grandmother and uncle’s cabin for the healing potions they make while others, including “other Negroes,” ridicule them as old-fashioned and ignorant. Deputy Collins, a white police officer, has made it his mission to harass and terrorize the root workers. When Gran dies, Jezebel and her twin brother, Jay, begin lessons in rootwork with Uncle Doc. As Jezebel begins to learn “root magic,” she also begins to notice more about her own powers. After hearing a voice in the marsh, Jezebel discovers that her spirit can fly free from her body and begins to take nightly trips around the island. But those trips come at a cost. Over time, Jezebel learns how to use her powers to protect those she loves. Royce sets her novel during a time of social change (the integration of South Carolina schools, the assassination of JFK) while introducing readers to centuries-old Gullah traditions. For fans of Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies, this book, with its rich language and evocative setting, is a great addition to the literature based on the folklore that sustained many people of color in their island communities. NICHOLL DENICE MONTGOMERY

School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up-Eleven-year-old Jezebel "Jez" Turner, who is Black, doesn't fit in. All she wants is a friend. While some people embrace the root magic her family specializes in, others look down on it. Following her grandmother's passing, Jez and her twin brother Jay get the opportunity to learn the root work that has been a part of their family for generations. These lessons and the protection they teach come just in time, as a racist deputy harasses their family and community and all kinds of evil come after them. It's up to Jez to take what she's learned and apply it in a way that allows her to remain true to herself. Though this seems like an overwhelming task, she luckily doesn't have to face it alone. From chapter one, this title immerses the reader in the Gullah Geechee culture of South Carolina, giving readers a look into their funeral rites, spiritual practices, root work, language, and food. Throughout her lessons, Jez proves to be a natural root worker, and though she recognizes the value in her culture's traditions, she also challenges these beliefs in order to decide for herself who her allies and enemies are. In Jez, readers will find a kindred spirit and will relate to her desire to protect her family and the people she cares about, even when it causes her to feel like she has an enormous weight on her shoulders. Readers, like Jez, will learn the importance of sharing that weight with the people who love them. VERDICT A fantastical tale brimming with family traditions, friendship, and #BlackGirlMagic that is sure to be an excellent addition to any library's middle grade collection.-Myiesha Speight, Towson Univ., Baltimore

Praise & Reviews

Horn Book

Eleven-year-old Jezebel’s family has done “rootwork” for generations. In 1963, many of the people on their South Carolina island frequent her grandmother and uncle’s cabin for the healing potions they make while others, including “other Negroes,” ridicule them as old-fashioned and ignorant. Deputy Collins, a white police officer, has made it his mission to harass and terrorize the root workers. When Gran dies, Jezebel and her twin brother, Jay, begin lessons in rootwork with Uncle Doc. As Jezebel begins to learn “root magic,” she also begins to notice more about her own powers. After hearing a voice in the marsh, Jezebel discovers that her spirit can fly free from her body and begins to take nightly trips around the island. But those trips come at a cost. Over time, Jezebel learns how to use her powers to protect those she loves. Royce sets her novel during a time of social change (the integration of South Carolina schools, the assassination of JFK) while introducing readers to centuries-old Gullah traditions. For fans of Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies, this book, with its rich language and evocative setting, is a great addition to the literature based on the folklore that sustained many people of color in their island communities. NICHOLL DENICE MONTGOMERY

School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up-Eleven-year-old Jezebel "Jez" Turner, who is Black, doesn't fit in. All she wants is a friend. While some people embrace the root magic her family specializes in, others look down on it. Following her grandmother's passing, Jez and her twin brother Jay get the opportunity to learn the root work that has been a part of their family for generations. These lessons and the protection they teach come just in time, as a racist deputy harasses their family and community and all kinds of evil come after them. It's up to Jez to take what she's learned and apply it in a way that allows her to remain true to herself. Though this seems like an overwhelming task, she luckily doesn't have to face it alone. From chapter one, this title immerses the reader in the Gullah Geechee culture of South Carolina, giving readers a look into their funeral rites, spiritual practices, root work, language, and food. Throughout her lessons, Jez proves to be a natural root worker, and though she recognizes the value in her culture's traditions, she also challenges these beliefs in order to decide for herself who her allies and enemies are. In Jez, readers will find a kindred spirit and will relate to her desire to protect her family and the people she cares about, even when it causes her to feel like she has an enormous weight on her shoulders. Readers, like Jez, will learn the importance of sharing that weight with the people who love them. VERDICT A fantastical tale brimming with family traditions, friendship, and #BlackGirlMagic that is sure to be an excellent addition to any library's middle grade collection.-Myiesha Speight, Towson Univ., Baltimore

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