Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

Jump at the Sun

The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston 

by Alicia D. Williams

illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

With colloquial and figurative language, Williams introduces readers to an iconic American author as a young story-loving-story-teller who bursts to life and nearly jumps off the pages of this effervescent picture book biography. As a young girl who lingers at the Eatonville general store to hear "townsfolk swap stories," and creates characters out of a carved bar of soap and an ear of corn to act out her own stories, Zora's creativity is boundless. As a teen, the death of her beloved mother, who told Zora to "jump at de sun. You might not land on de sun, but at least you'd get off de ground," and a harsh new stepmother, drive Zora to work to for the two things that make her happiest - going to school and telling stories. At twenty-six, Hurston lies about her age, saying she is sixteen, so she can attend public school for free. Graduating and going on to Howard University, Hurston is inspired to pour her Eatonville memories onto the page. Moving to New York City and jumping feet first into the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston earned a scholarship to Barnard College, collecting "Negro folklore" for her final project in anthropology class while also winning awards for four different short stories submitted to a literary contest.

Word bubbles scattered across the pages add to the story, giving readers a deeper feel for Zora's gifts and accomplishments as well as a taste for her storytelling style while a bright palette mirrors Hurston's vibrancy. Back matter includes a generous author's note, including the sad fact that Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave when she died in 1960. In 1973, Alice Walker found Hurston's grave and honored her with a tombstone with the inscription, "'A Genius of the South' . . . Novelist, Folklorist Anthropologist." Additional reading and sources, also.

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