Positively Witchy: Books and Movies

Posted about 1 month ago by Naomi D'Archangel
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You’ve read, I hope, the post interviewing local witches earlier this week. Now, here are a handful of books and movies depicting witches in a positive light. I really enjoyed reading/watching them in order to share with you. Do you have a favorite positive book or movie that I missed? Tell me!

Children’s Picture Books

Strega Nona is probably the first witch-y book I remember reading myself growing up. Absolutely loved it. Strega Nona (which translated from Italian means Grandma Witch) is the cozy always-has-cookies-for-you-type Grandma. She helps her fellow villagers by curing warts and other ailments, feeding the hungry, and so on. She has an assistant that gets himself into scrapes, attempting magic beyond his knowledge. It’s an all-around fun time.

Excuse Me… Are You A Witch is a cute little book about a black cat who lived on the street. He read that witches love black cats and so he sets off on a search to find one so that meets all the qualifications he read about. Witches have brooms, stockings, and mix things in cauldrons according to what he read. There’s several cases of mistaken identity but he finds a loving home by the end, in the last place he thought to look.

The Itty-Bitty Witch is about a little witch named Betty who is just starting first grade. She’s still pretty tiny so her classmates tease and call her Itty-Bitty. She doesn’t like it and wants to be big as her classmates. Through the book she is faced with challenge after challenge, preparing for a big race. Finally she learns to embrace her smallness and appreciate the advantages it gives her.

Children’s Fiction

In Bayou Magic, Maddy is the last of 5 sisters to go visit their Grandma in the bayou for the summer. She heard stories of her being eccentric and a witch. As Maddy gets to know her, she realizes that there’s a magical connection with nature that she shares with her Grandma. She firmly believes she’s seen Mami Wata, a water spirit that followed her ancestors from Africa in colonial times. Maddy’s magical affinity may be the only thing that can help the community when a disaster strikes out of the blue.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon won the Newberry Medal in 2017, and for good reason! It begins with a small village who sacrifices a child every year to keep the evil witch from attacking. These people only know what the leaders tell them, there’s no real schooling. What actually happens though is the nice witch, Xan, keeps the child from dying in the woods by feeding it starlight and bringing it to another community for them to raise. Once, she accidentally feeds the child moonlight instead of starlight and the child becomes so magical that the witch decides to raise her herself. The girl, named Luna, grows into her magic but doesn’t realize what she can do until it’s nearly too late.

Teen Fiction

Akata Witch tells the story of Sunny, a seemingly perpetually out of place tween. She was born in New York City though her parents and brothers were born in Nigeria. When she is 7, her parents move back to their home country. But Sunny is still out of place as she is albino. The ever present sunlight burns her quickly so she can’t play soccer with her brothers. Children in school call her a witch. There may be some truth to it too. She sees things in flames, things that may or may not happen in the future. She makes a friend or two and learns that she is a Leopard Person which means she has power. Soon Sunny has a group of friends and they become a powerhouse when they work together to try to stop a criminal mastermind who also has magic.

The Black Witch is the beginning of a trilogy regarding a prophecy that the title names. The new Black Witch is going to be the most powerful person and they will have to defeat the winged Icaral who embodies all Evil according to their stories. Elloren, the granddaughter of the last Black Witch, just wants to learn to be an apothecary but fate seems to have other ideas for her. Her uncle raised her and her brothers in seclusion for their safety. She has magic beyond her reckoning and knowledge. She learns to confront her preconceived notions about the other races while at University. Elves, Fae, Kelts, Gardnerians, and Icarals all together in one place. This book is a good example of how one’s view of the world can be expanded if one were able to research and look at things from other’s point of view.

Non-fiction

Toil and Trouble is an autobiography from Augusten Burroughs that just came out October 1st! I was thrilled that it was available before I was due to post this. It is my first book by this author and if the writing style is consistent then I’m going to be reading more of him. This memoir is a background to growing up a witch and how his gift manifests by knowing things either before or as they happen. This gift was passed down through his family arbitrarily according to nature’s pleasure. His recognition of it has helped being able to manifest things throughout his life.

Movies

Kiki’s Delivery Service┬áis a Studio Ghibli classic. The title character turns 13 which, according to the movie, is time for young witches to go out in the world and spend a year away from home learning their craft. Some witches, like Kiki’s mother, is adept at spells and potions while others may have an affinity for healing. Kiki’s talent is flying, though you wouldn’t know that at first with her bumping into trees and all. She finds a new city she likes to call home and now has to find a way to make a living. Friends and fellowship soon follow and it’s an overall adorable movie.

Half Magic, now this one is definitely not for kids! Three women meet at female empowerment type workshop. One introduces the other two to her candle spells. They make wishes and believe in the magic of their friend. As with any friendship, it has its ups and downs. These women are looking for love and happiness in their lives and through their shared beliefs they eventually find what they’re really looking for, even if it’s not what they first thought it to be.

About the Author

Naomi is a recent transplant to Richmond and a voracious eclectic reader. She can often be found with stacks of varied books, from romance and history to science fiction and children's stories. Always up for conversations about books, feel free to stop by to say hi or drop an email!

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