cover image A Taste of Magic

A Taste of Magic

J. Elle. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0671-9

A Black sixth grader with a lot on her plate goes up against professional cooks in this whimsical culinary fantasy. Finally old enough to be in on the family secret, Kyana Turner learns around her 12th birthday that she’s a witch. She’s excited to train her blossoming magic—white sparks that “fizz from my fingertips”—during her mandatory training at Park Row Magick Academy, a free Saturday school run out of the back of a Black-owned beauty salon. But magic must be kept a secret, and the necessary lies Kyana tells to keep hers under wraps begin to take a toll, as do her dropping math grades and looking after her increasingly forgetful grandmother, Memaw, while Momma works. When the magic school faces threat of shutdown, the students’ families must either find a way to swing tuition at another academy or be sanitized of their magic. Desperate to save her school, Kyana enters a baking competition with a $50,000 grand prize—where using her powers backfires, threatening the powers of Park Row’s magical residents. Successfully illustrating themes of class separation and economic opportunity across a mostly Black cast, Elle (Wings of Ebony) builds a story of familial love and friendship and tops it with pure culinary enthusiasm. Ages 8–11. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Aug.)