“Root Magic combines all of the great things about children’s books: a vivid setting, adventure, friendship, family love and stability, overcoming hardship, and more than a sprinkling of magic. In Eden Royce’s debut novel, we meet Jezebel Turner, an 11-year-old girl of Gullah-Geechee heritage living in the turbulent Jim Crow days of the 1960s in South Carolina. For generations, her family members have been root workers or witch doctors, who harvest cures and powerful medicine from the natural areas around them. When her Uncle Doc decides she and her twin brother, Jay, are old enough to begin learning root work themselves, a series of unforeseen and spooky events challenge them and their family to the core. Royce is a powerful new voice in children’s literature!”
— Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS
“A poignant, necessary entry into the children’s literary canon, Root Magic brings to life the history and culture of Gullah people while highlighting the timeless plight of Black Americans. Add in a fun, magical adventure and you get everything I want in a book!”—Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation
Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.
It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven— and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork.
Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs…and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.
Eden Royce is from Charleston, South Carolina, and is a member of the Gullah Geechee nation. Her short stories have appeared in various print and online publications, including Fiyah, and she is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant. Root Magic is her first book. Eden now lives in England with her husband and cat. You can find her online at www.edenroyce.com.