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Young Adult Fiction Suicide

Fox Magic

by (author) Beverley Brenna

illustrated by Miriam Körner

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2017
Suicide, Friendship
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2017
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


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

About the authors

Beverley Brenna is a Saskatchewan special education teacher who lives near Saskatoon with her husband and three sons. Her previous titles for children include Daddy Longlegs at Birch Lane, Spider Summer, and The Keeper of the Trees. Her young adult title, Wild Orchid, also from Red Deer Press, was shortlisted for a Young Adult Book Award from the Canadian Library Association, a Manitoba Readers' Choice Award, and the Silver Birch Award. The second book in the Wild Orchid trilogy, Waiting For No One was shortlisted for the 2011 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Award and was a 2012 "Woozles' Battle of the Books" Teen List title.

Beverley Brenna's profile page

Miriam Körner is a writer, photographer, visual artist and wilderness guide. She shares her passion for the arts by teaching at the Northern Teacher Education Program and through various visual arts and literacy projects in schools and community organizations. Her magazine features have been published in national and international publications, and her forthcoming young adult novel was a finalist in the prestigious CANSCAIP & TWUC Writing for Children Competition. She lives in northern Saskatchewan with her husband and their 13 sled dogs.

Miriam Körner's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"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 K�rner 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

Other titles by Beverley Brenna

Other titles by Miriam Körner