A Junior Witch Special: Emma Mildon Interviews Nikki Van De Car

Photo of Nikki Van De Car. Nikki is leaning against a wall with her head turned to the camera. She is smiling.
Author Nikki Van De Car

Mystical powerhouse Nikki Van De Car is expanding her magical offerings for young witches! Her bestselling title The Junior Witch’s Handbook: A Kid’s Guide to White Magic, Spells, and Rituals introduced kids to the world of magic with sections on spells, rituals, potions, and illustrated tables on everything from crystals and chakras to herbs. Now, she’s taken inspiration from this first book to create two new amazing offerings: a grimoire and a spell deck for junior witches!

Crafting Magic: A Junior Witch’s Grimoire is an interactive spell book that will teach young witches how to hone their craft. It’s the perfect place for a budding witch to write down spells, rituals, and meditations, and to work to develop their spellcasting. The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck: 50 Spells, Rituals, Meditations, and More! is a magical 50-card deck full of spells, rituals, activities, and meditations for friendship, family, school, and more.

Here, leading mystical author Emma Mildon interviews Nikki about this new step in her writing, and all of the magic she has in store for kids this year!

Q&A

An illustration from “Crafting Magic” showing two girls holidng a large cup of tea between them.

Emma Mildon: Both Crafting Magic and The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck are based on your first kid’s title, The Junior Witch’s Handbook which is a beautiful introduction to white magic. What’s your best tip for kids starting on this journey?

Nikki Van De Car: One thing we all start off with as children, and then slowly lose as we grow into adulthood, is a sense that anything is possible. I wrote these books to serve as guidance for young witches, to kind of launch them into exploring their own magic—but the last thing I want is for them to think that this is all that there is! My best advice is to hang on to that sense of imagination and discovery, and see where it brings you!

A Spell Record page from “Crafting Magic,” showing spaces to write in: Name of Spell; Date/Time/Place; Intention of Spell; Materials Required; Incantation

EM: Why did it feel important to you to make a grimoire for kids? Did you have a spell book when you were a kid?

NVDC: I had a number of journals and scraps of paper…usually that I’d dyed with tea and rubbed with dirt and burned the edges with a candle, but I didn’t have anything formal that could offer me any sort of guidance. I had to find my own way. And of course there’s nothing wrong with that—I pulled ideas from fiction and the stories I read, but I also didn’t necessarily have a sense that what I was doing was in any way real, or genuinely powerful, or that it could have any sort of impact on my life.

The adults around me all thought it was great and imaginative, but they figured I was just playing, which of course I was, but I also was truly working magic, even though I didn’t know it. Because magic is really so much simpler than we think it is, and when we’re comparing it with what we read in novels, expecting sparks to fly out of wands or something like that, it can feel like we’re not doing anything even when we are.

We are working powerful magic through our intentions, our dreams and hopes and the good that we put out into the world. And I suppose I wanted to create something concrete to show kids that, in a way that I didn’t understand when I was young.

The Spell to Invite Creativity card from “The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck”

EM: As a mystic mother, what was an important part of magic for you that you also taught your children to harness?

NVDC: It’s that magic sometimes takes time. One of my favorite stories ever about my kid involves a television show, of all things. We both really adored “Good Omens”—It’s a sweet, cozy hug of a show about an angel and a demon who absolutely love each other, and it was supposed to be only one season. The season finished, it was incredible, that was it. But my kid was certain there was more to it, even though the creator, Neil Gaiman, and the stars—everybody said, No, that’s it, it’s just the one season. And for two years, my kid made the same wish every chance they could, using every lost eyelash, every dandelion clock, every shooting star, asking for another season of “Good Omens,” just because they loved it so much.

They were at school when I read online that this “one season only” series was going to be renewed. I just about fell over, and I called them even though they weren’t supposed to use their phone, because I honestly couldn’t believe it. It’s such a small thing, in some ways—and yet it taught them so much about the power of patience and dedication and also about sticking to what you want, even when it seems like it’s not likely to work out.

The Connection Ritual card from “The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck”

EM: What’s currently on your altar?

NVDC: Along with my usual representations of the elements, I’ve added a couple of pictures of my best friend—one with her and my kid, and one of the two of us. She’s having a tough year, and I just want to keep her present. I also rotate the art on my altar fairly often. My kid is an incredible artist and did a multimedia piece of dancing goblins that I keep up there to remind me that living in the darkness can also be joyful and creative (I had a book come out recently called Shadow Magic, and this plays into that).

There’s also a wonderful tapestry of a unicorn, woven in the 1500s, that I loved when I was a kid, and when I was at ComicCon this past year, I bought a print of it, only the unicorn was replaced with the forest spirit from “Princess Mononoke.” I guess I keep that one to remind me that magic has always been present in cultures around the world, and it always will be, in one form or another, shifting and blending.

The Meditation for Compassion card from “The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck”

EM:  Top 3 must-knows for a kid witch and mini mystic?

NVDC:

1. You are more powerful than you realize.

2. Let your own creativity guide you! There aren’t any rules here, and you are your own best resource when it comes to your magic.

3. You don’t need stuff to make magic. A blade of grass, a piece of string, a whisper, even just a thought—are all you truly need.

The DIY Diffuser card from “The Junior Witch’s Spell Deck”

EM: Any magic brewing for 2024?

NVDC: Yes! I have a new adult book coming out in April called Forest Magicwhich is all about inviting the wilderness back into your life! I’m currently at work on a somewhat different project for me, a compendium of fairies from around the world, as they’ve been depicted in art and story, and the ways in which culture influences folklore, and vice-versa. And then I’m so excited to have my first young adult novel come out in 2025—it’s called The Skin of the Ocean, and it’s heavily based on my experiences growing up in Hawai’i.

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Nikki Van De Car

About the Author

Nikki Van De Car is a blogger, mother, writer, crafter, and lover of all things mystical. She is the author of ten books on magic and crafting, including Practical Magic and The Junior Witch’s Handbook, and the founder of two popular knitting blogs. Nikki lives with her family in Hawaii.

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Photo of author Emma Mildon sitting in a field of grass and smiling at the camera

Emma Mildon

About the Author

Emma Mildon is an international columnist and #1 bestselling author. She blogs for numerous online communities, including The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen, Soul and Spirit Magazine, and Wanderlust. Mildon also has a chart-topping podcast called 11:11, with Rachel Hunter, that airs interviews with authors and experts across iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Stichter. 

Sara Ugolotti was born and raised in Italy. She works as a freelance illustrator for worldwide publishers. When not illustrating books, she enjoys art, cooking, traveling, and nature.
 

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