• First, we’re having a GREAT time with the One School-One Book program…. Getting “thank you” notes from parents already about how it’s “forcing” some family reading time that they seemed to have lost over the years.
    — Paul Marinko - Principal at St. Paul's Lutheran School - Fort Wayne, IN
  • Since last spring, our entire school has excitedly embraced the One School, One Book Program. We will soon begin our spring selection: A Cricket in Times Square -- the third book we've adopted since the spring of 2010!

    We are so thrilled with the positive impact this program has had on our students, families, and staff
    — Laurie LaRue - First Grade Teacher at Edgewood School - Bristol, CT
  • I think the OSOB program is brilliant. My seven year-old attends Orleans Elementary in Massachusetts and they (we) are reading Masterpiece. Since the grades levels range from one to five at this school, finding a book to suit all is difficult. My daughter can follow the big picture somewhat but we have to reinforce what we’ve read because it’s a lot to take in for her.
    — Glenn Krzeminski - Parent of student at Orleans Elementary - Orleans, MA
  • The One District, One Book program promoted by Read To Them...is a powerful way to systemically address and promote a culture of literacy throughout the entire school system.

    My school actually adopted a hamster and even used it as “pet therapy” for many of the behaviorally challenged children in our school.
    — Kenny Moles of West Virginia

The Witches

by Roald Dahl (1983)

Ah, Roald Dahl. The silly. The witty. The macabre.

For some adults he is an acquired taste. But for most children he is a can’t-get-enough, where-can-I-get-his-next-book delight. (And he’s been gone for decades.)

Almost everyone knows of the James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But what to read and share next with children from the Roald Dahl canon?

Which brings me to…The Witches. It won’t be for everyone. Sensitive, younger children may be too scared. From the charming, silly, ridiculous early chapter – “How to Recognize a Witch” – to the young (unnamed) protagonist’s first encounter with those self-same witches, in all their ridiculous, unabashed glory – will be more than some children can take. They will have to wait.

But for families and groups, for schools and communities who know their children will relish the prickly tension of this-isn’t-really-real, so-why-am-I-so-enthralled? – The Witches may be just the ticket.

Dahl tells his tale with detailed abandon and precision. The story moves briskly. The prose is as ever rich and descriptive, relishing the horrible delights of the sneaky, devious, scheming witches. Dahl even plays with the reader’s expectations as to to the fate of his protagonist – and his hearty, healthy, can-do, make-the-best-of-it attitude will be balm to many a child and parent.

Perhaps it’s like horror films – not for everyone – and yet lurking inside each of us – children and grown-up children alike – is that can’t-turn-away fascination and curiosity.

Children listening to The Witches frequently insist, “Don’t stop now. Keep reading!” And it’s that kind of discovered enthusiasm we’re trying to kindle via One School, One Book.

So venture into the world or Roald Dahl’s Witches if you dare. (Or while you’re waiting for the safer fare of Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory.).

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