Root Magic

Written & Illustrated by: 

Eden Royce

For ages: MG

Language: English & some Gullah

Topics Covered:

  • History
  • Own Voices
  • Magic
  • Police Harassment


Summary: If a book is about magic and/or witches, I’m definitely reading it. Root Magic is a beautiful blend of ancestral connection, growing self-confidence, and addresses racism and police harassment in addition to other topics. I love the Gullah words and phrased laced through the book, as well as the deep discussions about losing culture due to Enslavement.

Twins Jay and Jezebel have just lost their beloved Gran, and are feeling lost. When they return from her funeral, the racist and inflammatory Deputy Collins is waiting for them and trashes their small home. After this, the siblings begin to be trained in their familial tradition of root work, a type of magic. They live on a small island steeped in Gullah culture and tradition, but not everyone approves of working the roots and Jezebel finds herself shunned at school.

Root Magic deftly combines the difficulty of figuring out who you are, haints, boo-hags, and good old-fashioned sibling arguments. Ensuring that Black folx keep the culture that they were forcibly and horrifically ripped away from is treated with the utmost care and importance. Jezebel and her family are deeply connected with root magic, and despite being teased mercilessly by classmates (whose families then come and buy potions from her uncle Doc) they set out to learn as much as possible to keep themselves safe from all threats; supernatural and physical.

For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week, Megan (@Ihaveabook4that) told me I absolutely had to make chewies, a Charleston staple. I did, and she was absolutely correct (although I’m sorry I had to use almonds; but her mom said it was ok) because they’re amazing. I got the recipe from Gullah chef Kardea Brown, and will definitely be making it again!

This book was kindly sent by Harper Kids, but all opinions are my own!

Eden Royce

Eden Royce is from Charleston, South Carolina and is a member of the Gullah-Geechee nation. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications and she is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant. 

Her debut MG Southern Gothic own voices novel, ROOT MAGIC, is forthcoming from Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins. 

She now lives in the Garden of England with her husband and cat. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s probably roller-skating, watching quiz shows, or perfecting her signature dish for Masterchef. Sometimes all at once!

The photo we used is from this article!

Kardea Brown

The recipe I used for this week was found here!

Kardea Brown is a contemporary Southern cook born in Charleston, South Carolina. She is of Gullah/Geechee descent, a term used to describe a distinct group of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia who have managed to preserve much of their West African language, culture and cuisine. Kardea created the pop-up New Gullah Supper Club, where the menu pays homage to the dishes her grandmother and mother passed down to her. She is host of Food Network’s Delicious Miss Brownn and has appeared on Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped Junior, Cooks vs. Cons, Family Food Showdown and Farmhouse Rules.