On My Bookshelf: Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer

June 19, 2017

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer is the riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: In the little colonial town of Salem Village, Massachusetts, two girls began to twitch, mumble, and contort their bodies into strange shapes. The doctor tried every remedy, but nothing cured the young Puritans. He grimly announced the dire diagnosis: the girls were bewitched! And then the accusations began.

The riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more unfolds in chilling, novelistic detail—complete with stylized black-white-and-red scratchboard illustrations of young girls having wild fits in the courtroom, witches flying overhead, and the Devil and his servants terrorizing the Puritans— in this young adult book by award-winning author and illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer.
Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer is the riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: Witches focuses on an event in history that has always fascinated me. This short nonfiction read incorporates primary sources and for it's small size is a wealth of information about the Salem Witch Trials and the individuals involved. After recounting the events leading up to and including the trial, the text also provides the lesser known facts about what happened to individuals after the trial.

Classroom application: This nonfiction text would be a great pairing with The Crucible by Arthur Miller or countless other young adult fiction pieces focused on the Salem Witch Trials.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Witches for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:


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