Root Magic - Book Tour

 

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Teacher Review and Classroom Activities
Root Magic was one of the best magical realism/historical fiction stories I have read in a very long time, possibly ever. I was so interested with the story line from the very beginning. Twins Jezebel and Jay are living in South Carolina in the Gullah in the early 1960s. They just lost their grandmother who seemed to have been the root of the family - holding everything together, good and bad. Their father left when they were little and you don't hear much about him until further throughout the story. Their Uncle Doc is now a prime member of the family after their Daddy left to help out their Mama, and offers to teach them root magic after their grandmother's passing. At first it seems to be menial tasks, but as time goes on Jez starts to really learn and dive in to the importance of Root Work and what their family actually does for others - all while simultaneously battling some racist situations with the local deputy who seems to be antagonizing the family more than doing his job. The police often threatened Jez's family, searching property without warning, and generally making them feel unsafe. Jez struggles to find her way in school with root work being a family heirloom, yet Jay doesn't have any trouble keeping friends. 
I really enjoyed the characters, and the climax of the story I started to question and consider prior to the reveal. This is a story that celebrates the life of a Black family, being a part of a community (the good and the bad that come from living in the 1960s), and carrying on folklore traditions. The Gullah folklore mixed in with the historical fictional elements had me hooked. I would not have minded having more of the 1960s incorporated into the text, but as an educator if I were to use this book as a read aloud, that would just open the door to do that research and build upon those situations. This is a great book to discuss how authors write to a specific audience with a general theme/genre in mind - thinking of the magical inserts, the reality that is Jez and Jay's life in school and at home, and growing up as a Black family in the 1960s. 
Highly recommend as a read aloud for 5th-8th. 

About Root Magic

 

Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a joyous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.

 

It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. But the biggest change comes when Jez and her twin brother, Jay, turn eleven and their uncle tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork—African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations.

And it’s not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic Jez has inside to see her through.

 

Praise for Root Magic

 

“Eden Royce’s debut is a spellbinding southern gothic tale of bravery, family, and historic truths that need to be told. Black Girl Magic has never been more powerful.”

Ronald L. Smith

author of Hoodoo

 

“A terrific, wondrous glimpse of Gullah Geechee culture, richly detailed and inviting. Blending familial and ancestral lore with folk magic, Royce’s novel set in a racist South, resonates powerfully. An original, compelling must-read.”

Jewell Parker RhodesNew York Times bestselling author of Ghost Boys

 

“A poignant, necessary entry into the children’s literary canon, Root Magic brings to life the history and culture of Gullah people while highlighting the timeless plight of Black Americans. Add in a fun, magical adventure and you get everything I want in a book!”

Justina IrelandNew York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation

 

“Royce pulls back a curtain and invites the reader to a world within a world, a place in time full of both danger and magic. You won’t just read it; you’ll live it.

Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer and All the Things We Do in the Dark

 

Ù“This richly detailed narrative offers elements of magical realism against a backdrop of social change.”                    Kirkus Reviews

"South Carolina comes to life in this middle grade debut filled with magic and heart."

Publishers Weekly

 

"There is power in allowing people to tell their own stories and not only power, but nuances that could never be captured by an outsider. Eden Royce gives us a radiant example of this needed phenomena in ROOT MAGIC."

FIYAH Literary Magazine

 

About the Author



Eden Royce is from Charleston, South Carolina, and is a member of the Gullah Geechee nation. Her short stories have appeared in various print and online publications, including Fiyah, and she is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant. Root Magic is her first book. Eden now lives in England with her husband and cat. You can find her online at www.edenroyce.com.


2021

ROOT MAGIC by Eden Royce

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