Schanzer, R. (2011). Witches! The absolutely true tale of disaster in Salem. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. ISBN: 9781426308697
Annotation: In 1692, the Puritan village of Salem Village, Massachusetts was turned upside down when a group of young girls began accusing community members of causing pain and suffering through witchcraft.
Reaction: Originally, I was hoping to use this as part of my Picture Books assignment, but I decided that this is more of an illustrated book than a picture book. It’s a great book, though. Schanzer presents all the information about the Salem Witch Trials in a clear, easy to read style, as well as making it entertaining and including a lot of stuff that I didn’t ever learn in high school. I actually told several coworkers who didn’t care at all about how fascinating this book is. Her art is really beautiful and creepy and enhances the tone of Schanzer’s text.
This book would be useful in classrooms as part of a US history unit. The writing is easy enough for 5th and 6th graders to understand, but it is also entertaining enough that I think high schoolers would also benefit. This might have been a nice supplemental text when I read The Crucible my junior year of high school.
Winner of the Gold Medal for BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF 2011 Awarded by The Society of Illustrators ORIGINAL ART Exhibition
Media Used: From Author’s Note: “Conjured up the pictures on Ampersand Scratchbord, a hard thin board covered with a layer of extremely white clay and then coated with black India ink. Making the artwork involved a labor-intensive process calling for a sharp pointed scratch knife that cuts away the black ink coating until a picture appears. The red accents are added by computer.”