How to Heal a Gryphon (Giada the Healer Novel #1)

by Meg Cannistra (Author)

How to Heal a Gryphon (Giada the Healer Novel #1)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
To save her family, she'll have to make a dangerous bargain and tip the scales of balance. With her thirteenth birthday just around the corner, Giada Bellantuono has to make a big decision: Will she join the family business and become a healer or follow her dreams? But even though she knows her calling is to heal vulnerable animals, using her powers to treat magical creatures is decidedly not allowed.When a group of witches kidnaps her beloved older brother, Rocco, and her parents are away, Giada is the only person left who can rescue him. Swept into the magical underground city of Malafi, Giada will need the help of her new companions to save her brother--or risk losing him forever.

Kirkus Reviews

Cannistra's entertaining narrative features wonderful descriptions of places and events that will transport readers. Stupenda!

Publishers Weekly

In this Amalfi Coast-set adventure steeped in Italian culture and folklore, Cannistra (The Trouble with Shooting Stars) introduces readers to a stubborn heroine determined to embrace her true strengths. Giada Bellantuono, nearly 13, is in training to become a guaritrice--an Italian witch specializing in the art of magical healing. But unlike the rest of her renowned streghe family, Giada doesn't want to serve the god Apollo and heal people, nor undertake a looming apprenticeship. Instead, she feels drawn to Diana, goddess of wild animals, and to healing creatures "ordinary and extraordinary," like the baby gryphon she finds. When Giada spills salt and olive oil, and wishes that her esteemed 16-year-old brother Rocco would disappear, he is kidnapped by the Streghe del Malocchio--witches who can "sniff out a person's bad luck." To rescue him, Giada and her new feline familiar, black cat Sinistro, must journey to Malafi, the witches' underground city, and accomplish an impossible task. Via a world where magic and modern medicine coexist, and a secret spell-casting community lives undetected year-round, Cannistra writes a compassionate quest that interrogates tradition, legacy, and humans' effect on the natural world. Ages 8-12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary. (Oct.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Take one headstrong, lovable heroine, one snarky cat familiar, a family of gryphons, a rich and immersive magical world plus a search for a missing brother and you get How to Heal a Gryphon, a funny, fantastical mystery with nods to Italian history and mythology. Perfect for fans of Rick Riordan."—Laura Ruby, Two-Time National Book Award Finalist and author of the York Trilogy

"I could live with these characters and in this world for a good long while. Bring on the sequel!" —New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy 
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Inkyard Press
Publication date
October 20, 2022
Giada the Healer Novel
BISAC categories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
JUV002270 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical
Library of Congress categories

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