Read-Alikes for HBO's Adaptation of 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl

Hand these four books to middle schoolers craving chills and thrills...from the comfort of home. 

The Witches

HBO Max | PG | Streaming now

Roald Dahl’s middle grade 1983 fantasy novel about a boy and his grandmother facing off with the Grand High Witch gets an updated cinematic take in this movie starring Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway. In this adaptation set in Alabama in 1967, the boy and his grandmother are African American.


The Witches: The Graphic Novel. Roald Dahl and Pénélope Bagieu. Scholastic/Graphix. Sept. 2020.
Gr 3-6–
You’ll want to have this new graphic novel adaptation of Dahl’s 1983 story on your shelves for young readers and their nostalgic parents. In present-day London, an eight-year-old brown-skinned orphan learns all about witches from his funky grandmother: They wear regular clothes, live among ordinary people, and hate kids. While staying at a seaside hotel, the boy and his grandmother encounter a witch convention—and try to thwart their plot to turn all the children in the world into mice.

The Bad Beginning. Lemony Snicket. HarperCollins. 1999.
Gr 3-6– After the death of their parents, the white Baudelaire orphans must stick together through a series of unfortunate events, while their appointed guardian seems to be willing to do anything to get his hands on their fortune. Readers who appreciate the wry humor and suspense found in The Witches may like this series starter.

[READ: Review: The Witches: The Graphic Novel | Good Comics for Kids]

The Jumbies. Tracey Baptiste. Algonquin. 2015.
Gr 4-7– Corinne, an 11-year-old Black Trinidadian girl, doesn’t necessarily believe in the jumbies, creatures said to haunt the mahogany forest near her village. But when she wanders into the forest in search of her stolen necklace, it turns out the jumbies might be more real than she thought. Although the tone of this book is scarier than Dahl’s witty writing, readers craving a story about a plucky kid facing off against a magical baddie will be drawn to Baptiste’s action-filled novel.

A Tale Dark and Grimm. Adam Gidwitz. Dutton. 2010.
Gr 4-8– Readers who enjoy darkly humorous, scary fantasy will like this gruesome retelling of Hansel and Gretel. As the white siblings journey through the forest in search of home, they must face the darker parts of many different Grimm fairy tales woven into the narrative. This one’s not for the faint of heart but will enthrall readers who crave a shiver down their spine.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at the Floyd County (IN) Library.

[Read: Read-Alikes for Fans of The Baby-Sitters Club, Wonder Woman 1984, Mismatched, and Other Releases]


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