The Witch of Zal
Guides by Deb – Keeping your books in the hearts of young readers and in the hands of those who care for them.
The guide linked below was created by Debbie Gonzales, MFA. Deb is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, and once served as a SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. She's the author of six “transitional” readers for a New Zealand publisher and the forthcoming non-fiction picture book Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records (Charlesbridge, 2019). Deb earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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Author: Kerry Gans
Publisher: Evil Jester Press
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Dorveday struggles to be a model Zalan-condescending to the robot servants, intolerant of anyone different, and obedient to the whims of the oppressive Ministry. Then the Ministry tries to take her pet robotic dog. She runs away-and lands in magical Oz. After the Witch of the East blows herself up and the Wicked Witch of the West threatens to kill Dorveday over East's magic shoes, Dorveday follows the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz might help. Along the way, she picks up strange companions: A Victorian straw man with the inner strength to face witches without fear. A clockwork tin man so soft he rusts himself with tears. A lion so scared he hides behind children. And Cian, a runaway servant boy with the confidence to lead when she cannot. Can they be "real" friends if they aren't human? Zalans say no. And yet...together they face brain-sucking zombicorns, raging rivers, and deadly hypnotic butterflies. But what worries Dorveday even more than the deadly dangers she faces in Oz is that Zal's Ministry will send her mother through soul-crushing Rehabilitation to punish her for Dorveday's escape. During her fight to get home, Dorveday discovers the power to not only save her mother, but change her world forever.