This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion.

THE OKAY WITCH

From the Okay Witch series , Vol. 1

It is Halloween when Moth Hush finds out she is descended from a line of witches.

Her mother reveals the story of their witch origins going back to 17th-century Europe, which Moth’s maternal grandmother, Sarah, fled along with her order for supposed safety in Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, only to find persecution there. Led by Sarah, the witches escaped the wrath of the Puritans through a blood ritual that opened a portal to Hecate, a spiritual realm that provided safety. Moth’s mother rebelled and broke away from the coven to live in the real world, ultimately as a single parent to Moth in the 21st century. After a talking black cat (the spirit of a deceased neighbor) appears and befriends Moth, Moth peeks at her mother’s diary—which opens a portal to Hecate, and Moth secretly begins to practice spells unsupervised and to connect with her family there. Moth and family sort through a complicated lineage whose legacy reveals itself to be very much alive in present-day Founder’s Bluff. In Steinkellner’s graphic panels, Moth and her family have brown skin and puffy dark hair, and the 17th-century coven is shown to be multiracial. The complex history provides a mechanism through which Moth sorts through her own coming-of-age as a modern girl of color, and it’s the loving, oftentimes humorous rapport among the Hush women that grounds this graphic novel.

This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3146-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An original graphic novel, the first written and illustrated by an Indian-American creator, this is both a needed...

PASHMINA

In this feminist graphic novel, a young woman searches for the truths of her past with the help of a long-lost aunt; Shakti, the Divine Mother Goddess; and a mysterious shawl.

Indian-American teenager Priyanka “Pri” Das, a talented artist and a bit of a loner, wants to know both why her deeply religious mother left India for California so abruptly years ago and her father’s whereabouts. But Pri’s mother refuses to speak of India: “That subject is permanently closed.” Soon, Pri discovers a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase in her Los Angeles home. When she wraps it around her shoulders, she is transported to an imagined, romanticized India—one as colorful as a Bollywood movie, in contrast to the black-and-white images of her everyday life. There, a talking elephant and bird introduce Pri (and readers) to the country’s festivals, foods, and fashion, but Pri knows this isn’t the “real” India. To find “her” India and uncover her mother’s secrets, Pri will travel to the subcontinent, where she learns about women’s choices—especially her mother’s—and living without fear. While the book covers well-worn territory about bicultural and immigrant conflicts, it also dramatically explores the ways women are constrained by patriarchy. Pri is the daughter of a single mother, a family structure rarely represented in young people’s literature of the South Asian diaspora.

An original graphic novel, the first written and illustrated by an Indian-American creator, this is both a needed contribution and a first-rate adventure tale. (Graphic novel. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-088-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Captivating and lyrical.

JUKEBOX

Shaheen’s dad is missing. Music, which bonded them over the years, now seems to be the cause of their separation.

Twelve-year-old Shahi and her journalist father, an avid record collector, have connected through music for as long as she can remember, although lately he seems to pay attention to it more than he does to her. Until the day Shahi’s dad gets lost in music—literally. Shahi and her cousin, Tannaz, set out to find him by sleuthing after hours inside the local record store, where he and Earl, the store’s owner, were last seen. They discover a massive jukebox, which they come to realize is magical, as it transports them back in time whenever it plays a record. Hopping in and out of time to attend legendary concerts seems to have led to both men’s disappearance. Now Shahi and Naz need to figure out if there is a way to bring them back. The story highlights the eras and contributions of notable Black musicians including Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye. Chanani’s illustrations of the family’s San Francisco neighborhood as well as the historical settings are delightfully colorful and vibrant, and her attention to detail is impeccable. She weaves musicality into her exploration of personal relationships, creating a world where music connects us all. Shahi has Italian and Bangladeshi heritage; Naz is Bangladeshi American and bisexual, and Earl is Black.

Captivating and lyrical. (playlist, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-15636-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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