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  • Beatrice Iker

The Book That Made Me: Connect Magic with Ancestry

As an adult, I usually read books on my iPad or listen to them on audiobook. That was not the case when I first read the Sweep series. Back in 2003 when I read these books, they weren't compiled into volumes. I searched the aisles of my local Borders for each ~200 page book. Like another popular magical children's book I once cherished, this series was about witchcraft.

In this book, though, the main character is in high school when she discovers she's a witch.

I believe her age lends itself to a greater awareness of self, as well as more agency over her life as a teenager.

Also, my grandmother was adamant that I not read books about witches or magic. She called them blasphemous and insisted to my mother that I would not be able to understand the difference between a fiction novel and real life. Like most children, however, the more I was told not to do something, the more I wanted to do it.

Anyway, the main character in this series is adopted and her parents didn't tell her this (I was not adopted, but I believe this decision made by the parents may have been seen in a different way in the 90s when these books were written). When she finds out, it is devastating and thrilling and terrifying. Soon after, she discovers she's a witch by blood. Thus begins a dangerous adventure into her family and her powers and being a teenager.

I loved these books so much. They really taught me about the power of familial mystery in books. Most of the stories I wrote after reading these books had that concept because I was so enthralled with it.

Now, my own ancestry is something I am always looking into. I've done all the DNA tests. Genealogy is a hobby and a pleasure of mine. These books instructed me on how that could be woven in with fiction - and more specifically, with magic.

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