Fox Magic is an honest and compelling look at life from the perspective of twelve-year-old Chance Devlin. Two of her friends have committed suicide and as she struggles with her loss, she wonders if following them is the best remedy for her pain. A connection to a mysterious red fox named Janet Johnson helps her come to terms with the past, finding her courage in the power of dreams.
A timely, engaging read that will help open frank discussion with family and friends, at home or in the classroom. Complete with an information package by Tim Claypool Ph.D., R.D. Psych., with current references, and author interview.
A free downloadable teachers guide will be available in November 2017
is professor in Education at the University of Saskatchewan and a former classroom teacher and special education consultant. She has published many books for young people including the award-winning Wild Orchid series.
Spot illustrations are by Miriam Körner, author of Yellow Dog.
"Fox Magic is an emotionally harrowing story. . . The story tackles an incredibly difficult topic with a delicate touch. It is at times quite painful reading, but it is always very honest. . . This is a story that will gently guide those touched by mental illness toward helpful community and individual support options. . . The book's illustrations, from Miriam Korner, are incredibly powerful—simple white-on-black images that stun in their ability to capture the sorrow, fear, and isolation that Chance feels. An afterword by Dr. Tim Claypool lays out some straightforward guidance for anyone struggling with mental health challenges, along with a list websites for further assistance.
"Fox Magic is a small book with a big message. In a world where bullying is a significant problem and suicide is a terrifying reality, it is a must-read. It belongs on every juvenile and young-adult bookshelf.
— Foreword Reviews
"This slim book may prove helpful for young people experiencing depression or similar challenges, demonstrating the importance and benefit of having and drawing on a support system along with getting professional help. The loving presence and behavior of the adults in Chance's life speak volumes, communicating a necessary message of unity. Chance is a white girl, but her Saskatchewan school is a diverse one, and she has several Indigenous classmates in her grade. An author interview, afterword on mental health, and internet resources will surely prove useful.
A book in which purpose and art intertwine successfully. "
— Kirkus Reviews
"A short book told in spare, almost nonchalant prose, Fox Magic tells a story that is both ripped from the headlines and ripe for use in schools and communities in crisis. The barrage of handwritten notes, seemingly directed at everyone in the class, bring to stark light the realities of twenty first century school life, despite the lack of social media or smartphone use. Chance's torture is at once gripping and banal, and although she seems mature for her age, she is obviously still a child, and the details of her see sawing moods and self-deprivation are darkly vivid.
— CM Magazine
"Although this is a book with a deeply tragic and serious subject it's important to say that it's also a fundamentally positive and optimistic book. Brenna writes not from a sensationalist or opportunist motive but because she sees literature and storytelling as essentially therapeutic, offering a chance for us to talk about topics it may be difficult, for one reason or another, to discuss. However, no matter how praiseworthy the motives, a book still has to work as a story that engages and convinces and, I'm delighted to say that Fox Magic is also a triumph in these respects too. . . The book is beautifully and dramatically illustrated by Miriam Körner with arresting full and double page drawings that perfectly evoke the spirit of the book."
"This slim novel packs a powerful punch. Brenna has poignantly captured the voice of a broken and lost young girl, and her difficult path to healing is written with clarity and candour. A touch of magic has been woven in, with Brenna leaving it up to the reader to decide if the fox is real or not. Miriam K?rner's evocative black-and-white sketches are effective, clearly expressing the mood of the story."
— Booknews Magazine
"Beverley Brenna has done it again! Fox Magic draws the reader into the inner world of a child survivor of a suicide pact. The story speaks to the power of thinking about our actions and attitudes, and to the transformative power of intentionally creating caring communities around us. Fox Magic will help young readers see the light at the end of whatever dark tunnel they feel trapped by, and its story will remain with them long after they read it."
— Deborah Ellis, internationally acclaimed author of the Breadwinner series