Sometimes, you plan to write a review of a book - it's in your library, it's piqued your interest, or you really, really want people to read it - and sometimes good books are thrust upon you. The latter happened to me on Sunday, when a good friend of mine (currently exploring their identity as a witch) handed me a book they'd taken out of the library and told me I should take ten minutes between rounds of our D&D game to give it a read. I'm delighted that I did.
Witch, Please: Magical Musings on Life, Love and Owning Your Power by Sonia Lazo is a quick must-read for any witch discovering themselves. After a brief overview of the history of witchcraft and some swiftly debunked common misconceptions, it leads into a super uplifting tale about what a witch is, and why you should love yourself for it. Written and illustrated by a witch from El Salvador, it's a beautiful first book, and I really hope that it won't be her last.
It's difficult to choose a favourite thing about this book, because it made me smile throughout, but some of my readers might know that I identify as non-binary. While it's far from the norm these days (thankfully!) there are still people who believe the term 'witch' to be gendered and female exclusive, and so I was chuffed to pieces by some of the little nods that this book makes to pooh-poohing that belief. The author stresses that witches come in all shapes and sizes, including a double-page spread with an amputee and an illustration later on with top surgery scars. The book is also very friendly to neuro-divergent witches with simple language, clear illustrations and frequent reminders to not let your path stress you out and to take a break when you need it.
Another great thing about this book is that it doesn't focus on just one type of witchcraft. It covers crystals, plants, divination, spells, familiars... witches who wear lots of colours (yours truly) and witches who dress all in black (yours truly for the month of October)... if you call yourself a witch, you're a witch, and Lazo is not shy to tell you that. Whether you are just starting out on your witchy journey or have been one for decades, this book is a lovely addition to your library. My only problem with it is that it's only 74 pages long and doesn't have a sequel (yet!).
Sonia Lazo is an illustrator, tattooist's apprentice and witch from El Salvador. (And like yours truly, she also has an interest in marine biology! Awesome!) She also makes clothes and jewelery, and shares adorable doodles of animals. Her art revolves around themes of feminism, magic and queer representation, and has been exhibited in El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Columbia, the United States, Spain, Greece, Ukraine and Dubai. You can follow her work over on her twitter or instagram.