My kids and I absolutely love books about witches, and we’re always looking for good new titles to add to our collection. Here are some of our favorite witch-themed picture books, graphic novels, middle-grade novels, and non-fiction and activity books.
Meg and Mog (series), Helen Nicoll and Jan Pieńkowski [Amazon | Bookshop]
An iconic series of wildly colorful books about an unfortunate witch and her animal pals
I have fond memories of reading the Meg and Mog books when I was young, and, to my delight, my children adored these, too, and requested them again and again when they were babies and toddlers. Jan Pieńkowski’s bright, jewel-toned illustrations look like almost nothing else out there (Dick Bruna’s Miffy books are perhaps the closest comparison), and the plots are simple, short, and off-beat. Apart from the first in the series, my favorites are Meg on the Moon [Amazon], Meg’s Eggs [Amazon], and Meg’s Castle [Amazon].
Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler [Amazon | Bookshop]
A modern classic that’s terrific fun to read aloud
You hardly need me to tell you that Room on the Broom is fantastic, but of course it has to be on any list of witch books. No matter how many times I’ve read it aloud, I still enjoy its rhythm and pace – and that brilliantly wacky new broom at the end.
Kat Hats, Daniel Pinkwater and Aaron Renier [Amazon | Bookshop]
A charmingly bonkers, truly original book book about cats trained to serve as hats
If you’re familiar with some of Daniel Pinkwater’s other books (The Big Orange Splot, Pickle Creature), you might have some idea of what to expect from this truly unusual and funny book. (If you’re new to Pinkwater, buckle up! It’s a ride!) In Kat Hats, Matt Katz trains cats to serve as super-fluffy, living headgear, guaranteed to keep the wearer warm even in the most perilously cold conditions. And when Chickarina the witch gets stranded on the Witch’s Spitz mountain (in the dead of winter, eating a gigantic popsicle), there’s only one cat who can rescue her from a dangerous case of brain freeze: Thermal Herman 6 7/8ths. This book won’t be for steadfastly traditional readers – it’s even more bonkers than it sounds – but the way it totally commits to its wild vision is extremely charming. (And my children immediately asked me to read it a second time.) I love this book, and I’m so happy that people are writing and illustrating really original books like this one.
Open Me… I’m a Dog!, Art Spiegelman [Amazon]
This gloriously silly book claims that it’s actually a dog (and it’s got the leash to prove it!)
This witty book from legendary writer and artist Art Spiegelman isn’t exactly about a witch, but you might say it’s the product of a witch. Here’s the concept: a witch cursed a dog and turned him into a book, your book, now your book is desperately trying to convince you that he’s not a book at all – he’s a dog! There’s even a fabric leash attached to the book, should you decide you believe him. (Sympathetic children might end up dragging this book around by the leash, as mine did.) This title is shamefully out of print, but if you can get a used copy for a reasonable price, you should do it.
Snapdragon, Kat Leyh [Amazon | Bookshop]
A profoundly empathetic, generous, magical-realist story about an intergenerational friendship
This middle-grade graphic novel was originally titled “Roadkill Witch,” which might tell you a thing or two about its perspective (it’s unusual and maybe not for every family). But even though roadkill is an essential element of the story, it’s not like you’d imagine. Rather, the book is a profoundly empathetic, generous, magical-realist story about an intergenerational friendship — but also about the process of becoming. Many of the characters are queer or trans, and Leyh follows them as they begin to embrace their identities or revisit and repair relationships from the past, and also as they create a joyful community together. And it’s funny and suspenseful, too. Leyh reveals the stories of these characters so beautifully and skillfully that I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s all so finely done that I read the book with tears in my eyes.
The Witch Boy (series), Molly Knox Ostertag [Amazon | Bookshop]
A diverse and kind series that champions the right to live authentically
These graphic novels for children are lovely, championing compassion and the right to live authentically. The protagonist, Aster, longs to be a witch, even though in this world only women and girls can train to be witches. And he’s not the only one who wants another way of life. The characters here are fantastic, and in particular Aster’s friend Charlie, whose own story is just as compelling. It’s a very sweet series, diverse and kind and interesting. All three books are terrific.
Witch Hat Atelier (series), Kamome Shirahama [Amazon | Bookshop]
A beautifully conceived and supremely uplifting series with a brilliant, creative twist on magic school
In this cheerful, immensely lovely series about a group of young witches-in-training, witches cast spells by drawing, and how a witch constructs her spells is a matter of creative inspiration. It’s a wonderfully different approach to magic in children’s books, made even better because Coco, the protagonist, has a background in pattern- and clothes-making — experience using her hands to create. As in many great stories about magic school, Coco becomes a witch almost by accident, drawn into the community after a terrible accident involving her mother. And if she wishes to get her mother back, magic is her best hope. The art is beautiful (and extraordinarily cute), the relationships are touching, and the story is great — it’s just an all-around feel-good series. (Be aware that as it’s manga, it might be an unfamiliar reading experience: back to front and right to left — but kids can get used to this fast!)
¡¡Manu!!, Kelly Fernández [Amazon | Bookshop]
An action-packed graphic novel about witches and demons that draws upon Dominican beliefs and traditions
In this powerhouse of a graphic novel, Fernandez explores themes from her Dominican heritage and the intersections of her Roman Catholic faith and brujería (witchcraft). At a magic school run by nuns, Manu is the most powerful witchling of all — so powerful, in fact, that her magic is impressive, super-sized, and often beyond her control. (And she loves a good prank, too.) The students mock and avoid her and the nuns are at their wits’ end. But she has two champions: Mother Dolores, who adopted Manu when she was a baby, and Manu’s best friend, Josefina. When Manu loses her magic, gets entangled with some demons, and learns potentially shocking secrets about her past, she’ll need her friends’ help — and their acceptance. Manu takes everyone on a pretty wild ride, with conjurations, conflagrations, demons, exorcisms, and a portal to hell, but the affection between Manu and her two beloved supporters is truly very sweet. An interesting and entertaining graphic novel, with goofy disasters and action on just about every page.
Garlic and the Vampire, Bree Paulsen [Amazon | Bookshop]
A sweet and gentle story that features… talking vegetables
When they hear that a vampire has taken residence in a nearby castle, the sentient vegetables living on Witch Agnes’s farm grow alarmed and formulate a plan: just… send Garlic there. Anxiety-prone Garlic panics, but support from Witch Agnes and Carrot convinces her to be brave and knock on the castle door. Don’t expect terror or battles here, though, because the story takes a gentler, more harmonious turn and ends, adorably, in cooperation and peace. This is a lovely graphic novel for kids who like monsters but don’t want any major scares.
Witches of Brooklyn (series), Sophie Escabasse [Amazon | Bookshop]
A colorful, sweet series about a young witch in a regular school, with regular problems – and magical ones, too, of course
In this delightful little series of graphic novels, Effie goes to live with her quirky aunts and discovers not only that they’re witches but that she has magical powers herself, too. What’s a bit different about this series is that Effie still goes to a regular school with non-witch students, and she has regular problems (as well as magical ones). In the second book, for instance, she struggles with jealousy as a talented new girl from France joins her friend group. Perhaps my favorite thing about this series, though, is the community of witches in Effie’s neighborhood: a group of truly individual and diverse people, just like you might find in any big city, all getting together to take action for the good of the community. They’re a warm and fascinating group, vibrant and confident and charming – it’s really lovely to see a gathering like that in a children’s book. If you like Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels, you’ll probably like this series, too.
Salt Magic, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock [Amazon | Bookshop]
This exciting, beautifully drawn post-WWI fairy tale contrasts rural Oklahoma with the colorful realms of some intensely charismatic witches
This graphic novel starts out as a seemingly ordinary WWI story and then pivots, thrillingly, to the realm of fairy tales. After the war, Vonceil is grievously disappointed when her brother returns to rural Oklahoma different — serious and busy — and weds his hometown sweetheart. But soon a glamorous woman in white shows up in town and puts a terrible curse on her family, and it’s up to Vonceil to undo it. The subject matter here is a little darker than in your typical middle-grade graphic novel (there’s some violence, as well as references to Vonceil’s brother’s flings during the war and to a seedier way of life in nearby Coyoteville), but the story is filled with real peril, sacrifices, and some pretty exciting and inventive magic. Vonceil’s dealings with the salt witch and sugar witch are suspenseful and fascinating, so beautifully drawn and entrancing that it’s no mystery why unsuspecting people fall victim to these magical creatures. I loved the world of this book – in contrast to rural Oklahoma, the glittering world of the salt witch felt like a captivating, deadly mirage – and although it resolves neatly at the end and doesn’t seem like the start of a series, I would happily read another book set in this world of witches.
The Well, Jake Wyatt and Choo [Amazon]
The heroine of this sophisticated and gorgeous graphic novel must grant the wishes of three strangers if she wants to escape a deadly curse
After taking her grandfather’s goats to sell at the market for the first time, Li-Zhen, who goes by “Lizzy,” accidentally overspends her pocket money and doesn’t have the fare to pay for the voyage back home. And so she does something terrible in desperation: she fishes three coins out of a wishing well. When the well spirit seeks its revenge and curses her, Lizzy at first believes that she can simply repay the debt. But what the well spirit wants instead is for Lizzy to grant the wishes within the coins – the wishes their owners’ made before they tossed them into the well. It’s an intriguing premise to a fairy tale, and there’s more to this adventure, too: a headstrong goat companion; wily goblins; and the leviathan, a monster Lizzy’s mother sacrificed her life to contain (and which Lizzy will have to defeat). In this world, women and girls are formidable sailors, warriors, and, witches – there’s a diverse cast of characters and good queer representation, too. While it’s recommended for ages 14+ and is more sophisticated than many middle grade graphic novels, I think plenty of middle grade readers would enjoy this one as well.
The Last Witch (series), Conor McCreery and V.V. Glass [Amazon | Bookshop]
This comic about a young witch discovering her powers is steeped in Irish folklore
Feisty Saoirse loves an adventure, but she gets into more trouble than she bargained for when she takes her young brother to investigate a witch’s tower. Following this terrifying encounter, Saoirse’s grandmother reveals to her that Saoirse is a witch – one with tremendous and dangerous powers. Soon, Saoirse and her family are dragged into a battle with the Cailleach, the queen of the witches, and her handmaidens. Set in the aftermath of the famine, this story is great for readers who enjoy Irish folklore and history (you’ll read about faeries, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and Tír na nÓg, for starters). But be aware: the evil witches are genuinely frightening, like something out of scary Spirit Halloween displays, and Saoirse’s grandmother smokes a lot of cigars. This is a serial comic rather than your typical Raina Telgemeier-style middle grade graphic novel, so this one is probably better for older kids (though my 7-year-old read and loved it!).
Root Magic, Eden Royce [Amazon | Bookshop]
Set in 1960s South Carolina, this suspenseful novel explores the Gullah magic rootwork with plenty of twists and turns
Jez and her twin brother are going through some changes: Jez has skipped a grade ahead in school and doesn’t have friends, and she and her brother are starting to learn rootwork from their uncle, following the death of their beloved and powerful grandmother. But not everyone believes in the value of rootwork. Jez is bullied at school for practicing it, and a white police officer has started visiting their house to threaten and harass them. This book is full of supernatural encounters – boo-hags, mysterious voices, dolls that move and talk, flying, and potions and mixtures galore – and wonderful details about Gullah culture and practices. But it’s also a terrific historical novel about life in the civil rights-era South – and its many twists and turns will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.
Sisters of the Lost Marsh, Lucy Strange [Amazon | Bookshop]
An atmospheric survival tale about a girl’s search for her runaway sister
In this moody tale, Willa’s father lives in fear of an old curse, that he, as a father of six daughters, must make sure each daughter adheres to the curse’s predictions or he will be killed by his youngest. But just as he finalizes preparations to marry his eldest daughter to a cruel man, she disappears. Did she run away with the Full Moon Fayre, Willa wonders, and is it worth staying with a father who threatens them and denies them their freedom? What follows is a tale of survival: the survival of a runaway in a frightening, perilous landscape and the survival of a group of sisters in a patriarchal dystopia, where books and reading are forbidden to women – and a woman with strength might well be accused of being a witch. This unusual book doesn’t proceed as I thought it would – I often found myself surprised by the plot – and its atmosphere is reminiscent of fairy tales and folklore. It’s dark, but the characters have real grit. (And I loved that in her author’s note Strange detailed the many inspirations for her novel – particularly Kent and East Sussex and the motto “We wunt be druv.”)
The Lock-Eater, Zach Loran Clark [Amazon | Bookshop]
A warm-hearted fantasy, with heavy world-building and a philosophical bent
In this kind and generous fantasy adventure, orphan Melanie Gate has a special skill: the ability to open any lock or door merely by wishing. One night, a mysterious automaton comes knocking at the orphanage door, seeking an apprentice for a witch, and Melanie is chosen for the job. But it soon becomes clear that the automaton wasn’t telling the truth, and Melanie finds herself in a lot of danger. The world-building in this novel is pretty impressive for middle-grade fiction, but the book is also remarkable for the philosophical issues it raises. How can you behave ethically, when ethical decisions are so often messy, complicated, or imperfect? How can you determine what’s real? And what is a person, exactly? Many of the most touching parts of the book deal with the right to be whatever person you aspire to be – whatever gender, profession, sexual orientation, or style feels right and authentic. Books that start out in an orphanage often depict the orphanage as a grim place best left behind, but for Melanie the orphanage is a chosen family, a supportive place where children are given only placeholder names, ready to be cast off when they discover who they truly want to be. A lovely, exciting book with a terrific heart.
Non-Fiction and Activity Books
Season of the Witch: A Spellbinding History of Witches and Other Magical Folk, Matt Ralphs and Núria Tamarit [Amazon | Bookshop]
A serious and readable history of magic and witchcraft around the world
This book on the history of witches and magical folk takes its subject seriously, but of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to read. It’s so gorgeously illustrated that you might forget that it’s essentially a mini textbook, wonderfully suitable even for younger elementary-aged children. There are sections on Mesopotamian magic, ancient Egyptian magic, South African magic and vodou, Japanese magic, and quite a bit about European magic as well, with brief interludes about famous witches and magicians of myth and history and about all the exciting magical accoutrements (wands, cauldrons, familiars, and so on). Even adults can learn a lot from this one – a terrific history book for kids.
The Little Witch’s Book of Spells, Ariel Kusby and Olga Baumert [Amazon | Bookshop]
Supremely gentle and goodhearted, this book of simple spells emphasizes confidence, calm, and joy
This lovely and warmhearted book of simple spells is an absolute delight, a witchy introduction to self-belief and loving-kindness. Written with gentle positivity, this book welcomes all children, of any gender or background, and encourages them to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate the strength within themselves. The spells here are positive, healing, and protective: a love yourself rainbow spell, a mermaid bath spell, a stair-climbing strength spell, a get well soon elixir, and a conflict-sweetening spell (to wish for peace after an argument), as well as guides to making moon water, a wand, an altar, and a pendulum – and loads more. You might think this would seem hokey, but I was overwhelmed by its sweetness and its tender-hearted worldview. Sure, there’s some magical thinking here (and why not?), but the spells are also wonderful encouragements to be kind to oneself and others, and, importantly, to pair the spells with real, concrete actions (the group spell for positive change emphasizes that the spell must be followed by actual action – a food drive, volunteering, donations, or a petition, for instance). A truly lovely gift for any child who loves magic.
The Science Spell Book: Magical Experiments for Kids, Cara Florance [Amazon | Bookshop]
Beautifully and cleverly presented, this book is full of very good and not-too-difficult magic-themed science experiments
Science experiment books are a dime a dozen, and usually you can just find all the experiments online anyway — but this one is special and will likely delight many magic-obsessed children. Florance has divided her book into five intriguing sections: infusions (acids/bases), illumination (light), sorcery (magnetism and forces), alchemy (physical and chemical changes), and mimicry (biomimicry). The experiments she’s chosen for each section are not only achievable but involve real science — and she’s got plenty of explanatory text to help make the “magic” educational, too. I love books of science experiments, but your average “1000 Chemistry Experiments for Kids!” book is nowhere near as exciting or motivating as a book that doubles as a full course in magic. Ingenious!
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One thought on “Some of the Best Books About Witches for Kids”
Great list! I love books about witches 🙂