For The Washington Post (Deb Lindsey)
“The Thickety: A Path Begins”

By J.A. White

Ages 10 to 13

Kara Westfall spends her early years confused about who she is. Her mother was accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death when Kara was 5. Most of the people in De’Noran fear that the little girl is a witch, too.

So Kara becomes an outcast, along with her father and younger brother, Taff. The villagers are cruel to them, and she doesn’t understand why.

The family is, after all, among the Children of the Fold, just as the rest of the villagers are. They follow the rules of Timoth Clen, a man who centuries earlier had battled witches to rid the world of magic. Clen’s followers are urged to “work hard, want nothing” and stay watchful for any sign of magic’s return.

Kara isn’t involved with magic. She works hard to care for her sick brother and her father, who has never recovered from her mother’s death.

Kara wants to believe that the villagers’ behavior is unfair, but she has lingering doubts about her mother. She also wonders about an unusual ability she has to communicate with animals.

A bird helps Kara discover a clue to her identity. The bird leads her into a thick wood near the village. Kara isn’t supposed to go into this place, called the Thickety. But when the bird plucks off her prized locket, she runs in after it.

Kara discovers a book that she believes came from her mother. At first, it appears to be filled with blank pages. But Kara soon learns the book’s secret — and she begins to figure out who she is.

This book also makes her question the Fold’s fear of magic. She could use magic for good, so why shouldn’t she? The answer isn’t a simple one, and her curiosity will lead to changes in De’Noran that Kara never imagined.

Christina Barron

Younger readers might like . . .

In Roald Dahl’s The Witches,” a boy and his grandmother are vacationing at a seaside hotel in England when they realize they share the hotel with a group of witches attending a convention. The witches are plotting to get rid of the country’s children by turning them into mice. The boy and his grandmother learn of the plot and are determined to stop it, and the boy risks his life to give the witches a dose of their own medicine.

If you have a suggestion for an “Out of This World” book, fill out our form, and we may include it in a future issue of KidsPost.

Next week

House of Secrets

By Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

Ages 8 to 12

Life was good for Brendan, Eleanor and Cordelia Walker. They had great parents and a beautiful home. But after a mysterious incident causes their father to lose his job, they are forced to move. Their new home is beautiful and strangely affordable. It turns out that the house belonged to oddball writer Denver Kristoff, whose characters won’t stay put on the library’s shelves. The parents suddenly disappear, and the kids are pulled into a world of pirates, warriors and an evil queen.