Story Spotlight: “A Very Brave Witch” and Q+A with Author, Alison McGhee

Is your house buzzing with Halloween excitement? The fun-filled holiday is a great opportunity to get kids reading and channel seasonal interests in pumpkins, ghosts and witches into spook-tacular story times!


Speakaboos offers several Halloween-themed stories to motivate reading during the season including the popular children’s storybook, “A Very Brave Witch.” In the story, filled with animated illustrations of iconic Halloween like jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treaters and of course, witches, a unique and spirited young witch is excited for her favorite holiday. She loves the decorations and especially the costumes. But did you know that most witches are afraid of humans? Not this very brave witch, though. She’s done her research! Readers join her as she takes a closer look at humans. And when she comes face-to-face with a real human, what do you think will happen?

While we enjoy this story for its seasonal relevance, we also love having it in our library for its important lessons about friendship – which makes for a great read any time of the year.

Speakaboos had the chance to catch up with the prolific author of “A Very Brave Witch,” Alison McGhee for an interview about the story and why Halloween makes for such a great subject. See below for special insights into this storybook, surely a new Halloween classic!

Q: What was the inspiration for a “A Very Brave Witch?”

The inspiration for A Very Brave Witch actually came from the artist, Harry Bliss. We’d had a lot of fun with our first two books together –Countdown to Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth—and Harry, who loves Halloween, wanted to do a Halloween book together. He had a vision of jewel tones in a night sky, which sounded so beautiful to me, and we went from there.

Q: The story was originally developed to be a traditional storybook. What do you think are the benefits of seeing the story as a video with Speakaboos highlighted text?

I think that young readers are always drawn to the visual – who isn’t, really? — and seeing the highlighted text will help them place the sound of the words with the written-out words. And, the cat and the dinosaur in the beginning are super cool, aren’t they? POOF!


Q: What are some of the key lessons you hope young readers
take away from the story

I hope more than anything that they enjoy the story. Harry’s art is
beautiful and funny at the same time – that’s a special gift of his. Beyond
sheer pleasure, children might enjoy and appreciate the fact that the little green witch and the little human girl quickly get past their fear of the other’s skin color.

Q: We love Halloween at Speakaboos. What do you think makes Halloween such a great subject for storytelling?

Halloween is a fabulous subject for storytelling because it’s a holiday
that’s got it all – beauty, fear, fun, dark legends (think the Headless Horseman) and sweet surprises (Trick or Treat!).

Q: Did you like to read when you were little? What were some of your favorite stories?

I loved to read when I was a kid. There’s still nothing I’d rather do if I have an hour to spare than pull out a book and read. Some of my favorite stories as a child were books in which the child left home and survived on their own. Think My Side of the Mountain, Heidi, Bambi, Swiss Family Robinson.

Thank you to Alison for providing Speakaboos with this unique insight into a very special Halloween story!

Click here to read “A Very Brave Witch” on Speakaboos. If you want to keep up with the latest from author Alison McGhee, you visit her blog, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook!

Happy Reading!

– The Speakaboos Team