Praise for Witchlings:
An instant New York Times Bestseller!
A #1 Indie Bestseller!
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
“Enchanting. Ortega’s inventive story has a cozy, lived-in feel and a mystery that will keep kids guessing.” —Entertainment Weekly
"Magic, friendship, and humor—an enchanting read." —Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of the Tristan Strong series
"Inventive. Magical. Enchanting. An absolutely charming tale with its heart rooted in the friendships we make and keep." —J.C. Cervantes, bestselling author of The Storm Runner series
“A gorgeous tale of determination and magic.” Booklist
“Energetic and intelligent; invites readers to question their assumptions and the status quo.” Kirkus Reviews
“Centering three resourceful, sympathetic protagonists and considering issues of exploitation and privilege, Witchlings interweaves Spanish phrases, contemporary elements, and well-grounded magical worldbuilding.”—Publishers Weekly
“A magic-filled quest of friendship and power.” —School Library Journal
Praise for Claribel A. Ortega’s Ghost Squad:
One of NPR's Best Books of 2020
A Good Morning America Summer Reading Squad pick
"Ghost Squad is a charming adventure full of girl power and heart." —Zoraida Córdova, author of The Way to Rio Luna and the Brooklyn Brujas series
"Ghost Squad manages to be both creepy and heartwarming. Highly recommended for kids looking for a spooky read, a whole lot of feelings, and a story they'll not soon forget." —Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift and The Insiders
* "A peppering of pop culture references add humor, but it’s the personal touches, such as Lucely's opinionated, ever-present ancestors; her dedication to those she loves; and an emphasis on Latinx food, love, and folklore, that gives this debut its distinctive spirit." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"It's the Ghostbusters meets Jane the Virgin mashup we didn’t know we needed." —Book Riot
Gr 3–7—Twelve-year-old Seven Salazar excitedly awaits the Black Moon ceremony where she and her best friend Poppy hope to be placed in the powerful coven, House Hyacinth. Sadly, only Poppy joins House Hyacinth and in a nightmare come true, Seven finds out that she's a Spare. In the magical town of Ravenskill, Spares are looked down on and have less power. To make matters worse, also in her coven are Seven's bully, Valley Pepperhorn, and a girl named Thorn. When the three are unable to seal their coven, Seven invokes the impossible task which, if completed successfully, would seal their coven and give them their full power as witches. Their impossible task to fell the Nightbeast is a difficult enough endeavor, but they also have to contend with their constant bickering, the community's unfavorable view toward Spares, and a mysterious conspiracy surrounding the Nightbeast. The trio of witchlings eventually overcome misunderstandings, grow to trust each other, and work together. The sorting system has a unique spin to it with the presence and treatment of the Spares. Readers familiar with Spanish may recognize the magic words used to cast spells: viento for wind, esconder for hiding something, and so on. Among the cast are many Latinx characters, a character with a nonbinary gender identity, and those in a same-sex relationship. The poor treatment of Spares may spark a timely conversation on the lack of protection for marginalized communities. The witchlings also find out that Valley's father is abusive, on one occasion starving her for two days because of a bad grade. Mentions of abuse may be distressing to some readers. VERDICT A magic-filled quest of friendship and power sure to please lovers of the genre; an excellent purchase for libraries.—Myiesha Speight
It’s the night of the Black Moon Ceremony, when Witchlings in Ravenskill are assigned to their covens, and the one thing 12-year-old Seven Salazar hopes to avoid is being made a Spare Witch.
When her fears unfortunately come to pass, she’s faced with two other leftover and unlikely new companions—not to mention a challenge that might just prove deadly. Alongside the other Spares, anxious Thorn La Roux and bully Valley Pepperhorn, Seven must embark on a dangerous quest to find and kill the rumored child-eating Nightbeast. Through their adventures, however, Seven learns about a lot more than just the mystery of the Nightbeast: She comes to see people—including herself—differently. She peers beneath her first assumptions and stands up for others even when that’s not easy. When she fears a friend is experiencing parental abuse, she brings her concerns to an adult she trusts even though she’s frightened it will make her friend angry. The story balances serious social themes with lighthearted friendship hijinks, and the plot is fast-paced and full of gratifying twists. Ortega invites readers in, combining familiar fantasy furnishings with a low-key, modern-inflected tone. Seven is cued as Latine, and many of the spells she invokes on her journey ring with Spanish roots, offering Spanish speakers the joy of recognition and others the excitement of new-forged understanding. Thorn and Valley read as White.
Energetic and intelligent; invites readers to question their assumptions and the status quo. (Fantasy. 8-12)