Cover image for So you want to be a wizard
So you want to be a wizard
Duane, Diane.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, [2003]

Physical Description:
323 pages ; 22 cm.
Thirteen-year-old Nita, tormented by a gang of bullies because she won't fight back, finds the help she needs in a library book on wizardry which guides her into another dimension.
General Note:
"20th Anniversary ed.

"Features a new afterword and the Nita and Kit story 'Uptown local'"--Cover.

"Uptown local" previously published in "Dragons and Dreams" edited by Jane Yolen, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh, published by Harper & Row.

Sequel: Deep wizardry.
Reading Level:
960 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.9 11.0 14491.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 15 Quiz: 10620 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Long before wizards were a fixture on the bestseller lists, Kit and Nita were working magic with readers of all ages. So You Want to Be a Wizard is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, featuring a new afterword from Diane Duane as well as the hard-to-find Kit and Nita short story "Uptown Local."

Author Notes

Author Diane Duane was born in New York City on May 18, 1952, and grew up in Roosevelt, Long Island. She is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Duane studied nursing in college and became a psychiatric nurse. She began writing full time in 1980 and has published numerous novels, including several with her husband, Peter Morwood. She also writes screenplays, served as senior writer for the BBC-TV education series "Science Challenge," and writes scripts for CD-ROM computer games. Her "Young Wizards" series won a special commendation in the Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize in Children's Literature, 2003. She currently lives in County Wicklow, Ireland.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As two young wizards embark on a mission to preserve the universe they encounter an eerie version of Manhattan. Ages 10-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Bookish and passive, 13-year-old Nita is the perfect target for the neighborhood bully. Taking refuge in her beloved public library one afternoon, Nita stumbles across an odd little book titled So You Want to Be a Wizard. Intrigued, she discovers that it is not a work of fantasy but an actual manual of spells and secrets for those brave enough to take the oath and become a wizard. Curious but hesitant, Nita decides to try a spell when she realizes that her NASA pen was stolen by the bully. Her simple desire to have her special pen returned turns into a complicated, dangerous quest involving a colorful cast of character, including unlikely fellow wizards and a star named Fred. Reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time, this finely-crafted blend of science fiction and fantasy by Diane Duane (Harcourt, pap. 1996) will delight listeners who will identify with Nita. Even those who are not fantasy or science fiction fans will find themselves pulled into an increasingly complicated yet fascinating plot. Reader Christina Moore adeptly portrays a variety of voices including the subtle Hispanic accent of Nita's friend Kit and an hilarious Brooklyn accent.-Susan McCaffrey, Haslett High School, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Preliminary ExercisesSHE DID HER CHORES that morning and got out of the house with the book as fast as she could, heading for one of her secret places in the woods. If weird things start happening, she thought, no one will see them there. Oh, I'm going to get that pen back! And then...Behind the high school around the corner from Nita's house was a large tract of undeveloped woodland, the usual Long Island combination of scrub oak, white pine, and sassafras. Nita detoured around the school, pausing to scramble over a couple of chain-link fences. There was a path on the other side; after a few minutes she turned off it to pick her way carefully through low underbrush and among fallen logs and tree stumps. Then there was a solid wall of clumped sassafras and twining wild blackberry bushes. It looked totally impassable, and the blackberries threatened Nita with their thorns, but she turned sideways and pushed through the wall of greenery undaunted.She emerged into a glade walled all around with blackberry and gooseberry and pine, sheltered by the overhanging branches of several trees. One, a large crabapple, stood near the edge of the glade, and there was a flattish half-buried boulder at the base of its trunk. Here she could be sure no one was watching.Nita sat down on the rock with a sigh, put her back up against the tree, and spent a few moments getting comfortable-then opened the book and started to read.She found herself not just reading, after a while, but studying-cramming the facts into her head with that particular mental stomp she used when she knew she was going to have to know something by heart. The things the book was telling her now were not vague and abstract, as the initial discussion of theory had been, but as straightforward as the repair manual for a new car, and nearly as complex. There were tables and lists of needed resources for working spells. There were formulas and equations and rules. There was a syllabary and pronunciation guide for the 418 symbols used in the wizardly Speech to describe relationships and effects that other human languages had no specific words for.The information went on and on-the book was printed small, and there seemed no end to the things Nita was going to have to know about. She read about the hierarchy of practicing wizards-her book listed only those practicing in the United States and Canada, though wizards were working everywhere in the world-and she scanned down the listing for the New York area, noticing the presence of Advisory Wizards, Area Supervisors, Senior Wizards. She read through a list of the "otherworlds" closest to her own, alternate earths where the capital of the United States was named Huictilopochtli or Lafayette City or Hrafnkell or New Washington, and where the people still called themselves Americans, though they didn't match Nita's ideas about the term.She learned the Horseman's Word, which gets the attention of any member of the genus Equus, even the zebras; a Excerpted from So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
Preliminary Exercisesp. 38
Research and Developmentp. 83
Temporospatial Claudications: Use and Abusep. 119
Exocontinual Protocolsp. 177
Entropics: Detection and Avoidancep. 212
Contractual Magic: An Introductionp. 249
Major Wizardries: Termination and Recoveryp. 297
Timeheartp. 359