Thirteen-year-old Aster leads a secluded life on the compound he and his extended family call home. The family has everything they need and is far away from prying eyes which is important since Aster’s family is magic. For generations this magic has been simple: girls become witches while boys become shapeshifters.
Aster desperately wants to be a witch despite his family telling him again and again (and again) that it’s impossible for a boy to learn witchery. Aster doesn’t care and keeps studying and practicing in secret.
When Aster meets Charlie–a new girl in town who refuses to let anyone else define her–Aster knows he has to keep following his dreams in The Witch Boy (2017) by Molly Knox Ostertag.
The Witch Boy is the start of Ostertag’s middle grade graphic novel series which continues in The Hidden Witch.
Ostertag’s full color illustrations are approachable and vivid. Panels are full of motion and varied design (complete with witchery runes!) that draw readers through the comic. Entertaining characters and strong friendships more than make up for an otherwise slight (and sometimes not subtle) plot.
The Witch Boy is a great graphic novel for readers of all ages with a message of inclusion that is much needed and very welcome.
Possible Pairings: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Lobizona by Romina Garber, The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks, Frogkisser! by Garth Nix, The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill, The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang