The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem

Schanzer, Rosalyn

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An award-winning author and illustrator tells the riveting, true story of what happened in the Salem Village, Massachusetts, when accusations of witchcraft tore apart the tiny town. Illustrations.

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, c2011
ISBN: 9781426308697
Branch Call Number: J 133.43 S
Characteristics: 144 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.


From Library Staff

Sibert Award Honor Book 2012 for excellence in nonfiction.

Immerse yourself in the world of 1600s Salem with this revealing portrait of the famous, tragic community. Spooky red-and-black scratchboard artwork adds an eerie note to this unusually objective and detailed account.

List - 13 Thrilling Reads by: nypl_ottendorfer Oct 08, 2011

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer- The riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, and crooked officials that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more.

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On that freezing day in January, 1692, when Betty and Abigail began to twitch and choke and contort their bodies, the assumption was that they were bewitched. They accused Tituba, the family slave, and two other women, setting off an epidemic in which many others accused family, friends, and neighbors of being witches.

May 05, 2012
  • LocketLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Nicely done non-fiction--reads more like a chapter book.

One much appreciated feature was that it clearly differentiated between people of similar names--sometimes a little repetitive, but useful.

Mar 28, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The cover? Enticing. The subject? Not off-putting. The overall presentation? Enthralling.

Jan 07, 2012
  • MusicalPiano rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I have not read it yet, but i think it will be awesome!


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Jul 30, 2013

maroon_butterfly_115 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

May 05, 2012
  • LocketLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

LocketLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 28, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Oct 26, 2013
  • KristiBernard rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The invisible world surrounds us. It's everywhere. Things happen that are unseen. We can feel their presence but we can’t see that unknown entity that lurks in the shadows. Is it demons or witches that are causing the hot flashes or cold sweats that we occasionally feel? What about violent fits? Do you know anyone whose had any of those? If so, you can be sure that witches are nearby, casing spells upon you with a single touch.

In the mid 1600's Puritans were experiencing all sorts of pain, visions, fits and bizarre contortions, to name a few. The Puritans felt the natural world had been infiltrated by the Invisible world. These fears of the witch created new laws that made witchcraft punishable by death. Three women who were accused of casting spells were placed on trial. Hordes of crowds gathered to watch and witness the occasion. Midwives and homeless beggars were the first to be tried.

Schanzer takes readers on a trip back to early Salem where history set the stage for the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Bible thumpers wreaked havoc accusing everyone and anyone who was pointed out. So many were pointing a finger to save themselves from accusation. It was so out of control that the King of England sent Governor Phips, who then established a Court of Oyer and Terminer. The new trials had begun.

Black, white and red scratch board illustrations will have readers flipping and examining the pages and reading all of the researched facts that created such mass hysteria and death.

Mar 28, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

When 9-year-old Betty Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams began to twist and turn in the home of the Reverend Samuel Parris there was only one possible reason for it: witchcraft. And why not? This was Salem, Massachusetts where the Puritan populace knew anything was possible. What they didn’t know was that the afflicted girls would be joined by fellow accusers and launch the town, and even parts of the state, into a series of witch trials the land of America had never seen before. Rosalyn Schanzer tells it like it is, recounting many of the details, giving information on what happened to all the players when the dust settled and things got back to normal. Notes, a Bibliography, an Index, and a Note From the Author explaining how she abridged, updated, and clarified some of the original texts follow at the end.


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Mar 28, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“Anyone could be a witch – your own mother or father, your best friend, your tiny baby brother, or even your dog. And you might never know who was in league with the Devil until it was too late.”


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