Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Summary: Growing up in Eatonville, Florida, Zora loved any kind of storytelling, and would hang around the general store to hear the townsfolk swapping stories. Her father and grandmother didn’t approve, but her mother encouraged her to “jump at de sun. You might not land on de sun, but at least you’ll get off de ground.” Sadly, Zora’s mother died when she was 13 years old, and her stepmother didn’t encourage her dreams. Zora was on her own at the age of 14, and she went to school as much as she could, graduating high school in her late 20’s. A college anthropology professor encouraged her to collect Negro folklore. She started the project in Eatonville, then moved on to other states, Haiti, and the Bahamas. Zora spent the rest of her life back in Eatonville, typing up those stories and writing her own as well. Includes an author’s note with additional information; a few Hurston stories recommended for children; and a list of sources. 48 pages; grades 1-5.
Pros: The story of Zora Neale Hurston is told with plenty of energy in the voice of the stories she loved by Newbery honoree Alicia D. Williams. The illustrations complement the story, with cartoon bubbles that includes snippets of those stories.
Cons: For such a long picture book biography, which would make a great starting point for research, there was surprisingly little back matter.