Escbasse, Sophie. Witches of Brooklyn. Random House Graphic, 2020. 240p. ISBN:978-0-593-11927-3. $12.99.
After her mother’s passing, Effie is sent to live with her Aunt Selimene and Aunt Carlota in Brooklyn. She navigates her life and meets new friends, Oliver and Berrit. After a few mysterious events, including manifesting a snake to appear around a student who bullied Oliver, Effie learns that she, along with her aunts, is a witch. Effie’s favorite singer and her entourage appear at their house one evening in need of a magical solution from a beauty ointment experiment gone wrong. She learns the singer’s public persona differs from her private identity and struggles with the revelation. In the end, Effie proves her witch prowess by figuring out a solution for the singer.
This graphic novel written and illustrated by Escabasse was an unexpected delight. Escabasse includes the author includes fully developed, diverse background characters. She simplifies concepts, like democracy, the idea of separating an artist from her art (and how the choice of continuing to like the artist or not is up to the consumer of the art), and the agency to own one’s feelings without shame. Additionally, she portrays Aunt Selimene and Aunt as two caring adults in Effie’s life who help her navigate her conflicting feelings without belittling them or dismissing them. Escabasse makes these concepts accessible and easy to understand for middle school readers who are just starting to be exposed to these abstract ideas. The depth and sensitivity Escabasse creates within her story makes this an excellent choice for pre-teens
-Noelle Cruz, Alameda County Library