Upside-Down Magic

by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins (2015)

Nory was a typical ten-year old, if typical meant having special, magical powers.

Nory Horace was trying to turn herself into a kitten.
She was hiding in case something went wrong.
The world went blurry, and Nory’s heart beat faster.  Her body stretched and shrank.
But wait.
Her front legs weren’t kitten legs.
And what was this nose?  It was more of a snout.  A beaver nose.
Zamboozle!
I’m half kitten and half beaver, Nora realized.
Her magic.
Had definitely.
Gone wonky.

After so many years of waiting, Nory is finally taking the entrance exam for Sage Academy, a very important, very fancy school of magic where her father was Headmaster.  Her brother went there.  Her sister went there.  And though the school was very selective, Nory was expected to go there, too.

But when Nory’s magic goes “wonky,” her father sends her to live with a relative so that she can attend a school for kids with broken magic.  And there, Nory finds herself among a group of misfit friends.

In Upside-Down Magic, your students will explore, in an upside down kind of way, how people assign labels to each other to distinguish differences.  It’s a sly way to gain a little literary insight into the roots and pitfalls of stereotyping, communicated in a simple, accessible manner appropriate for even the youngest child.  Getting to know the different, quirky, unorthodox, funny, creative characters in Upside-Down Magic, can instead reveal how differences are valuable, essential, and sometimes even just plain fun!