Kirkus Reviews QR Code


A Graphic Novel of the Salem Witch Trials

by Deborah Noyes ; illustrated by M. Duffy

Pub Date: June 4th, 2024
ISBN: 9780759555587
Publisher: Little, Brown Ink

A dramatization of the people and events surrounding the 17th-century Salem witch trials, tied together with relevant nonfiction information.

Through scenes and conversations based on careful research, this graphic novel informs readers about lesser-known aspects of the infamous trials, which have become embedded in popular lore and imagination. The volume opens with a gallery of portraits of cast members, a helpful reference for readers navigating a story with many characters: “The Afflicted,” “The Accused” (and their family members), and “Witch Hunters and Men in Power.” Each of the book’s four sections opens with a few pages of text explaining the historical context. The illustrated panels that follow try to pull together a related narrative thread. There are so many people at play in the scenes, however—often not easily distinguishable from one another—that it can be difficult for readers to keep track of them. Duffy’s illustrations are often stunning and moving, showing haunting eyes peering through darkness, as well as depicting Gallows Hill, with five innocent bodies hanging from a tree as day turns to dusk and then becomes the dead of night. Noyes discusses the roles of racism, patriarchy, and economic turmoil, all of which set the stage for the witch hunt. Overall, this work provides fascinating insights for those already interested in this episode in history as well as those who know little about it.

A haunting representation of a true American tragedy.

(author’s note, list of those executed, works consulted, further reading) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-18)