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Children's Fiction Fantasy & Magic

Stazy and the Magic List

by (author) Nancy Hundal

Rebel Mountain Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Fantasy & Magic, Friendship, Special Needs
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it


Stazy can't believe her lousy luck...parents separated, new school, new (tiny!) house. And on the first day of Grade Seven Skills Class! Stazy is dyslexic and knew she'd need some extra help...but on the first day?? Even worse, the three snooty girls who've been giving her the eye all day are in her Skills Class.

Hali, Faye, and Rena have been friends forever, and aren't ready to turn their threesome into four. So even when Stazy stumbles across their secret and they find out about hers, it takes more than a little magic to turn a trio into a foursome. It involves losing ghosts and finding wings. It requires listening to your intuition and to invisible friends.

And it's all about accepting your friends and yourself, just as you are.

About the author

Nancy Hundal has previously published ten picture books with HarperCollins, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and Midtown Press. Oolichan Press published her middle-grade novel Kaleidoscopes and Butterfly Dreams , in 2009, and she self-published a YA novel, Song Angel, in 2018. Many of her books have been nominated for the BC Chocolate Lily Award, and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year. Her first picture book, I Heard My Mother Call My Name, won the BC Book Prize in 1991.

Hundal has recently retired from a thirty-seven year career as a teacher-librarian in Vancouver, BC. This manuscript, which is about diversity, is the result of watching many students try to be the best friend they could be, even in challenging situations.

Hundal identifies as disabled, as she is deaf but able to hear almost normally with the help of a cochlear implant. See her website:

Nancy Hundal's profile page

Excerpt: Stazy and the Magic List (by (author) Nancy Hundal)


Slamming the door behind me, heading for the school. My head felt buzzy, so I gave it a little shake. Waved at Carter, sunning in the window, then turned toward the school.

"Thinking too much about that list," I mumbled. And it was true. Trudged one block, two, three. It seemed like in every alone moment, I had the items from that dratted list popping and fizzing in my brain, like a fireworks display that just wouldn't end.

A sweet nibble . . . BAM! BAM! I was nearing the school now, so crossed the street toward the yard with the tree in it.

Two halves, made whole. . . BAM! I could almost see the tree now.

And the one that was bugging me the most, for some reason--Adam's apple wings. BOOM!

The tree was clear now. Rena was there.

She was looking up into the leafy mess of reds and oranges. The shock of whitey-blonde hair falling down her back caught my eye first, but something was weird. Her head seemed too close to the leaves. She was so high up . . .

Then I looked at her feet.

She was hovering off the ground. Hanging in the air. I closed my eyes for a second, shook my head, then looked again.

Flying. Rena was flying.



Behind me, I heard a little noise. Like a gasp. My brain clicked on, and my heart clutched. And then I was on the ground in a heap. The wheezing started one second later.

I could feel my breaths getting shorter and shorter. It felt like all my organs were seizing up. I could feel myself being pulled up, could feel Stazy shoving her shoulder under my arm and run-walking me down the street. The little bit of my brain still there was trying to stay calm, keep breathing, move my legs to help Stazy.

I don't know how long it took to get to my door, or who answered. I don't know how I got to my bed, or which medicine they gave me. I only remember Stazy backing slowly from the door, after she'd delivered me home. Her eyes behind those glasses were huge, boring right into the real Rena


She'd seen. Stazy had seen me fly.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.


Suddenly the Adam's apple wings seemed a little less important.

Magic tricks? Really strong legs? What on earth had I just seen? Or was it from earth at all?


Finally October. That meant I could flip the calendar on September. One month of school down, nine to go. Talk about good news, bad news.

First period, Skills Class. Stazy was away, so it was just Hali, Rena, and me, like the old days. I kept peeking at Rena, who looked absolutely green. My favourite colour--trees, grass, frogs! But not so much on people. She told us she'd had an allergy attack the day before, something about an apple tree. She looked awful.

Mr. Locke was starting up with the vocabulary words again, so Hali was in heaven. She had her notebook out, and was printing today's word, stupefaction. I glanced at her book, where her word was printed. It looked like a calligrapher had dropped by and painted the word onto her page. I looked at mine. It looked like a second grader's first time doodling with a pen. We were supposed to be finding other words that meant the same: you know, cinnamons. No. Synonyms.

Hali would write, then stop and look up into the air, then look down at her page and write something. Look up, find another word, look down, write. I couldn't think of any, so I looked up there, just to see if there were words printed on the ceiling that I hadn't heard about. But no. If they were printed up there, it was something only Hali could decipher. Of course. My bee was back, so I spent a little time watching it circle lazily over my head. It hadn't been around for a while, so it was kind of fun, watching its little yellow-and-black fuzziness explore the air.

Ahhemmm. One of those quiet throat noises that Mr. Locke makes to bring me back to earth. I nodded my head at him, then let it drop over my book. I wrote surprise.

I noticed that Rena wasn't writing much, either. She was pulling a Faye: staring out the window, with an unusual little frown line rumpling her forehead. Rena was not a worrying person, so that gave me something else to think about. Something else besides stupefaction. Hali just kept on writing.

"I need to step out for a minute, kids. I'll be right back," Mr. Locke said. Yaay! Full on daydreaming time for Faye!

He left, and Rena and I put our pens down. I was ready to zone out, but Rena looked like she was ready for something else.

"Hali? Faye?" she began.


Questions, questions.

How did Carter manage to get out the door without me seeing?

I was probably half asleep, after the night I'd had. Since when did kids get insomnia? Maybe since they saw friends floating up in trees? And when my eyes finally did close, it was dreams about flying lists and apple trees with heads for branches. Very restful.

I knew my reaction was weird, because there I was with my own secret that would blow the fringed boots off Rena. But I just couldn't figure it out. She'd told me she was practising magic tricks, but was there really a magic trick to fly you up into a tree, no props in sight?

So now I was late, what with getting Carter back in the house. It was kind of nice though, walking to school with no other kids on the street. Forget walking! I'd run the whole way, even hopping up and down curbs and jumping onto a couple stone fences along the way.

Although I was whipped when I got to school, my head felt clearer than it had since the day before. But as I checked in at the office and headed to Skills Class, the strange feelings ramped up in my brain again. The door to the room was a little bit open, so I stood there for a second, just breathing.

What was going on with Rena? What was Rena?

Questions, questions.


I had felt sick all morning, but not from the attack yesterday. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it hadn't been my allergies that knocked me flat under that apple tree. It was anxiety. Terror. Maybe even stupefaction.

I couldn't stand it one more minute. I had to tell Faye and Hali, even though that was another thought that made me want to barf. But when Mr. Locke left, my mouth opened and the words poured out.

"I know why Stazy is away today," I started. "She's afraid to be around me. She's afraid because . . . " And I just let 'er rip. I told Hali and Faye, my BFFs, about the meetings with Stazy and about how lonely she was. I saw Hali's face, and I saw Faye's face checking out Hali's face, but I just kept going. I told them about the magic tricks and the Adam's apple wings. Then I took in one big from-the-diaphragm breath and told them that at the apple tree, Stazy had seen me fly.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm so, so sorry."

Faye's almond eyes were darting between me and Hali. I tried to keep my eyes on her's, 'cuz I surely didn't want to look at Hali.

"Oh, Rena." Finally, Hali's voice made me look. "Rena. What if she tells? You don't even know her. All this time, we've made sure no one ever knew that you're an . . . "

That was as far as she got. The door pushed open and we all shut up, expecting Mr. Locke.

But it wasn't Mr. Locke. It was Stazy.


Stazy. Stripy-legs, creepy black clothes, eyes like basketballs behind those ridiculous glasses. And was she panting? She seemed to be panting! Before I could figure out how to wipe up this mess, she was speaking.

"I won't tell anyone. I promise."

So she'd heard everything. Not only had she seen Rena fly, but she'd heard everything we'd said just now. I had no time to think, but I tried to claw back through my memory, anyway. What exactly had we just said? How much had she heard?

Stazy continued. "I wouldn't do that. I know what it's like to be different. I know what it does to your life."

Different? What did she really know about being different?

Faye surprised me. "Uh, we're not talking about dyslexia-different here, Stazy. This is a whole different kind of different." Even for Faye, that was a good one.

"I know that," Stazy said quietly. "I know what you're talking about."

"You think so, do you?" I said. I was madly trying to read her, to see if I should go with fudging or honesty. The stakes were so high; I had to get this right. I knew Faye and Rena would follow along. For some reason, Stazy looked sad and a little scared, so I made the decision. And I went for broke.

"Rena is an angel, Stazy. This isn't about having funny clothes or a weird voice." I flicked my eyes to Rena, who looked even paler than usual, but she nodded her head at me. "We're talking about being an angel."

Stazy's voice was a whisper. "And we're talking about being a witch."

Faye exploded, all that energy roaring around the room. "She's not a witch, Stazy! Get your creatures straight." Then she made kind of a snorting sound--very unattractive, really--and said, "Witch! What are you talking about? You can't just throw everyone into a big pot of supernaturalness!" She looked right at me. "I know that isn't a word, Hali. Now isn't the time."

Stazy's voice was even quieter now. "I get what Rena is. An angel." She looked for a moment at each of us, then added, "I'm the witch."

All the air in the room was sucked into nothingness. Our three heads swivelled and landed on that stripy-black creature. The four of us just stared at each other.

And then Mr. Locke opened the door.


What had she just said? Witch? Did she say witch?

Editorial Reviews

Wow! What a story! Nancy Hundal's novel, Stazy and the Magic List, is filled with big feelings about growing up, friends, and belonging. This is a book with plenty of heart, humour, and even some Magic. Highly recommended for every middle grader." ~ Norma Charles, author of Runner, Harry Jerome, World's Fastest Man

The reader is in for a treat with this middle-grade novel that combines Halloween, magic, secret identities, new friends, best friends, disability struggles, hidden ability empowerment, and learning to accept yourself and your friends for who they are. Grab a cozy blanket and enjoy this magical journey! Highly recommended. ~ Sheila Davies, teacher/librarian

>p>Featured in BC BOOKLOOKissue July 13, 2023: On her first day at a new school, Stazy (short for Anastasia), meets three other girls (Rena, Faye and Hali) who, like Stazy, have learning disabilities, in Stazy and the Magic List (Rebel Mountain $13.95), a middle grade novel by Nancy Hundal. They become friends when they learn they also share special secret qualities. The story is told through alternating internal monologues of each of the four girls highlighting the many difficulties young teens have fitting in. Hundal is a retired teacher-librarian and she has written twelve books for young people. Her first children's book, I Heard My Mother Call My Name (HarperCollins, 1990) was awarded the Sheila A. Egoff B.C. Book Prize in 1991.

BC BookWorld Autumn 2023, Vol. 37, No. 3; Who's Who: Nancy Hundal.

Other titles by Nancy Hundal