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Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a topic that I have always been interested in, and this book did a really great job of telling the tale from the beginning to the end.Published 1 month ago by Krystal Clifton
The Salem which trials that you briefly went over in school were much more crazy and bizarre that we knew. Read more
What a great book for kids! Age appropriate, but well written and smart! A great addition to any child's library. Read morePublished 7 months ago by krimbuskrogan
The book is OK. BUT THE AUDIBLE READER was an AWFUL choice. I am sure she is a lovely person so it is not personal, however, her voice, not that it is her fault, is more of a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Nettie Atkisson
My 10 year old had to read a non-fiction book over this past summer, unfortunately he did not like this one and even though he got close to finishing it, he did not finish it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mona
Pretty decent book but the last words are stupid. There's quite a few pictures but seems pretty factual even though I wouldn't know the differencePublished 11 months ago by kittygal920
It was kind of boring but yet interesting I don't want to spoil it but it has some odd twistsPublished 12 months ago by Tresia