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Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem Hardcover – September 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books; 1 edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781426308697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426308697
  • ASIN: 1426308698
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rosalyn Schanzer is the award-winning author and illustrator of 16 books for young people, including How We Crossed the West which garnered starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and George versus George: The American Revolution as Seen From Both Sides, an ALA Notable Book, SLJ Book of the Year, NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, and Orbis Pictus Recommended book. She was recently awarded the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for her work on Witches. Roz lives in Virginia with her husband, Steve, in a house surrounded by birds.

More About the Author

Author/Illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer's book Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem (National Geographic) is the winner of the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011 and has also received a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor Award as one of the year's 5 most distinguished informational books for children. Other awards for this book include:

Starred Review from School Library Journal
SLJ Best Book of the Year
NY Public Library's 25 best Nonfiction Titles of 2011
New York Times Best Books of 2011
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
Fuse #8 list of 100 Magnificent Children's Books of 2011
Kid Lit Frenzy top 5 Middle Grade Picks of 2011

Schanzer has written and illustrated 16 award-winning books for young people. A world traveler, nationally ranked Masters swimmer, avid photographer, and chocolate connoisseur, she lives in Fairfax Station Virginia with her husband in a house surrounded by birds. You can visit her website at www.rosalynschanzer.com

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Customer Reviews

I feel this book would have been much better if it was shorter.
Krista
I have studied the Salem witch trials before but there was so much new information here and I loved the format.
Bookworm Jess
The illustrations really are clever and the text is presented in an interesting way too!
Elizabeth G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Bernard on October 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The invisible world surrounds us. It's everywhere. Things happen that are unseen. We can feel their presence but we can't see that unknown entity that lurks in the shadows. Is it demons or witches that are causing the hot flashes or cold sweats that we occasionally feel? What about violent fits? Do you know anyone whose had any of those? If so, you can be sure that witches are nearby, casing spells upon you with a single touch.

In the mid 1600's Puritans were experiencing all sorts of pain, visions, fits and bizarre contortions, to name a few. The Puritans felt the natural world had been infiltrated by the Invisible world. These fears of the witch created new laws that made witchcraft punishable by death. Three women who were accused of casting spells were placed on trial. Hordes of crowds gathered to watch and witness the occasion. Midwives and homeless beggars were the first to be tried.

Schanzer takes readers on a trip back to early Salem where history set the stage for the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Bible thumpers wreaked havoc accusing everyone and anyone who was pointed out. So many were pointing a finger to save themselves from accusation. It was so out of control that the King of England sent Governor Phips, who then established a Court of Oyer and Terminer. The new trials had begun.

Black, white and red scratch board illustrations will have readers flipping and examining the pages and reading all of the researched facts that created such mass hysteria and death.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Pizza on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing! I had no idea how much a part of daily life the belief in witches was for people in Colonial America. This author really made me feel how scared everyone was and how people could get caught up in the craziness so much that they accused their own mothers and other friends and relations of being witches! The pictures are incredible, too. Buy this book! You will not be sorry!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes I wish I could sit down with my 10-year-old self and have a conversation. We'd chat about the improvements that will come to fashion someday (I think 10-year-old me would really appreciate knowing that 1988 was America's low point), the delight to be found in School House Rock and eventually I'd turn the conversation to books. From there we'd give praise to good Apple paperbacks like The Girl with the Silver Eyes or pretty much anything with a ghost in it (does anyone even remember Ghost Cat?) but eventually I'd have to start pushing myself. "So what," I might say, "would it take to get you to read nonfiction?" Even from a distance of twenty-three years I can feel the resistance to such a notion. Nonfiction? You mean like the latest edition of Guinness World Records, right? Nope. I mean like straight up facts about a moment in history. And not any of those Childhood of Famous Americans books either, missy thang. Then I'd pull out my secret weapon: Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem. The cover? Enticing. The subject? Not off-putting. The overall presentation? Enthralling.

When 9-year-old Betty Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams began to twist and turn in the home of the Reverend Samuel Parris there was only one possible reason for it: witchcraft. And why not? This was Salem, Massachusetts where the Puritan populace knew anything was possible.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Katharine on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Length: 1:52 Mins
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sunday Cummins on December 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem (winner of Sibert Honor Award for Nonfiction), Schanzer’s straightforward text and stunning illustrations will captivate middle grade readers. The narrative is non-stop craziness – revealing how beliefs can drive a community to foolishness and the devastation of members’ lives.

CAUTION: You may need to help launch students’ reading of this text. The first couple of pages are dense in vocabulary and the content is worthy of close reading and careful discussion. Schanzer describes the beliefs of the Puritans – in two worlds – the natural world of humans and “the Invisible World swarming with shadowy apparitions and unearthly phantoms of the air” p. 14. (BTW – chapter one starts on page 13. I’d do a close reading of pages 13-15.) Students have to “get” this idea in order to understand the rest of the book and deepening their understanding at this point may serve to deepen their understanding of the rest. No doubt, there are students out there who may not need this support especially if they have been in a unit of study on this period in American history. Just something to consider.

Schanzer’s writing is strong – she doesn’t “make up” what happened; her writing is straight forward. For example, when describing how a former minister in Salem village was accused of being a wizard, she writes “Burroughs was examined…” – in other words, she doesn’t turn it into a drama. You can tell she’s relying on primary and authoritative secondary sources and careful not to embellish.

I don’t know enough about art to comment well on her illustrations – but they set the tone for the book and are worthy of close reading/viewing and discussion by students.
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