Booktalks

Frontier Magic #1: Thirteenth Child Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

The seventh son of a seventh son will be extraordinarily talented. The thirteenth child will bring doom to all around her. What adventures are ahead for these unusual twins?

I had always known that we were different. Lan, my twin brother, was a seventh son of a seventh son, which meant that he was lucky, and he had an extra dose of magical power as well. I had been born first, which meant that I was the thirteenth child, unlucky, doomed to go bad, and bring everyone down with me. 

I hated it that no one had anything good to say about me, that Lan was the only person, apart from our parents, who really knew me, and knew I wasn't all bad. 

When Uncle Earn brought a policemen to our house to arrest me for putting a curse on him and and his house, when I was only five—and everyone knew no one could work magic, even spontaneous magic, until they were at least ten—that was the last straw. A few days later, Papa and Mama announced we were moving to the western frontier town of Mill City. There was a college there that wanted him to come and teach practical magic. My oldest brothers and sisters, who no longer lived at home, would stay behind. The rest of us would go West. 

It was like stepping into another life when we got to Mill City, because no one knew I was a thirteenth child. Finally, I could be just a normal child. Miss Ochiba taught most of the magic classes at our school. One of the first things she taught us was how to look at things and see all their different characteristics, even ourselves. She taught me that I was more than a thirteenth child, because I was also a seventh daughter and the first of a pair of twins, both of which were positive. There were choices I could make-I wasn't doomed after all. And maybe my magic would be as strong as Lan's.  

But then, we didn't know then what kind of amazing and crazy adventures lay ahead of us.

This booktalk written by Joni Richards Bodart, university professor, author, consultant, and internationally known booktalker.

  • Subjects:
    Magic and Supernatural, Moving
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