10 of the best books about witches (and Harry Potter isn’t one of them)

By Anaita Vazifdar-Davar

Lace up your black boots, don your pointy hat, pick up your broomstick and come along for the ride! These stories about witches, both good and bad, will have readers of all ages squealing in delight. 

For Young Readers 

Little Witch, by Juliette MacIver

Often, when I find our son chuckling over a book, it’s this one. These three short stories, full of clever illustrations and a witty play on words, are about Little Witch, who doesn’t mean to get into trouble, but invariably does. Well, it isn’t her fault that “heaps of bubbles” become “pizza bubbles” that flood the bathtub, is it? Or that she accidentally lands up with tons of ice-cream and her very own unicorn? And she really didn’t intend to turn a broomstick into a cow! We’ve read this a dozen times but can’t resist laughing through it again. 

The Friendly Witch, by Rachel Elliot 

This one’s for those who love nursery rhymes. Everybody has forgotten Friendly Witch’s birthday. She has no cards, presents or visitors. So, she casts a spell to remedy the situation. Soon, she has more guests than she expected. There’s Goldilocks and the three bears (is porridge on the party menu?), Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep and several other familiar characters. But then it all gets a little too noisy for Friendly Witch. 

Winnie the Witch, by Valerie Thomas 

Winnie is a witch who lives in a black house in the forest with her black cat, Wilbur. Since everything in the house is also black, Winnie lands up sitting on or tripping over poor Wilbur all the time. So, Winnie decides to use magic to solve her problem…but does she make it even worse? We love this series about the adventures (or should we say misadventures) of Winnie, wonderfully illustrated by Korky Paul. 

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch, by Diana Murray 

If you’ve been trying to get your kids to tidy up to no avail, perhaps this will do the trick. Grimelda loves her disorderly house, but when she can’t find an ingredient for a special recipe, she realizes that mess may not always be best. Rummaging around, she finds “scream cheese spread”, “rot sauce” and “dragon fruit”, but where is the elusive pickle root? Perhaps a spell could help…but her spell book is lost in the mess too! Now she has no option but to clean up. Do you think she has learnt her lesson? 

The Sand Witch, by Alan MacDonald 

Drusilla is a witch who lives a quiet life by the sea with her cat, Peg. One day, she gets an unwanted visitor in the form of Hagbag, a large witch with three chins and purple hair. When Hagbag outstays her welcome, Drusilla must try everything in her power to get rid of her. Of course, she can use magic. But her spell lands her in a spot of trouble. Will Hagbag ever leave? 

For Older Readers

The Worst Witch, by Jill Murphy 

Long before the books became a popular Netflix series, my children and I enrolled virtually in Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. There, among its mysterious turrets and around dark corners, we cheered for young Mildred Hubble, the most accident-prone, disastrous witch to enroll at the Academy, and her loyal friends, Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade, as they took off on adventures to save their school, rescue a professor turned into a frog and bring fame to the Academy…all the while trying not to get their spells muddled up or themselves into trouble. 

Witch Wars, by Sibéal Pounder 

I bought this for my daughter but landed up reading it before she could! Tiga Whicabim thinks she’s an ordinary nine-year-old until a fairy appears to whisk her down a sink pipe to Ritzy City, a striking black-and-grey world of magic. Why is Tiga here? To compete in Witch Wars, a competition of skill to choose which witch will rule the land. If she loses, Tiga will be forced to return to her life above the pipes. A zany storyline and Laura Ellen Anderson’s beautiful illustrations will have youngsters hooked. 

The Witches of Benevento: Mischief Season, by John Bemelmans Marciano

In the early Middle Ages, Benevento, Italy, was an ancient town where witches gathered to do what witches do. In this story, set in the 1820s, twins Rosa and Emilio want to get to the bottom of the nasty happenings that befall Benevento. They believe that mischievous nocturnal beings known as Janara are to blame. Do the twins manage to foil these devious deeds or will they have to live in fear? 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis

This was one of my favorite books as a child and I got to enjoy it again with my children last year. Siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to live in the English countryside during World War II. There, while playing one day, Lucy steps into a wardrobe (not a very wise thing to do, I kept reminding my children) and enters a strange, snowy land where animals talk and humans are not welcome. When her siblings follow, they find themselves entangled in a web of mystery and deceit, a battle between good and evil, and a fight for justice. 

The Witches, by Roald Dahl 

I remember getting quite spooked by this as a child, but I know plenty of kids who are delighted by the dastardly deeds the witches in this book get up to. Real witches don’t look like witches, so how can you tell when you come across one? Find out what happens to the young narrator when he chances upon a coven of witches at a convention. 

Anaita Vazifdar-Davar is a mum of three from Mumbai, India. She never leaves the house without a book (or two) and her favorite part of the day is bedtime story-time, which often extends way longer than it should. Her friends think she is a relic of the 1800s as she spends her afternoons painting, is intimidated by tech and does not exist on social media. 

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