Zora, the Story Keeper (Hardcover)
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A young Black girl and her aunt celebrate the wonder and magic of their family's legacy through storytelling.
When Zora grows up, she wants to be just like Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea is the best storyteller she knows! Every day after school, Zora heads to her aunt’s house, where they take out their family book and turn Aunt Bea’s kitchen into their stage. They raid Aunt Bea’s costume chest, filled with colorful garments from her acting days, and even do special voices to tell the stories of swimming coaches, Sunday preachers, World War II pilots, and more—all real members of their family. Zora can’t wait to find out what her story will be. As the days pass, Zora notices something’s happening to Aunt Bea. She gets tired more quickly, and sometimes she needs Zora to tell the stories instead. Zora never imagined that Aunt Bea’s tales would ever stop, but in addition to creating lots of joy and a lifetime of memories, Aunt Bea had been working on her greatest gift of all: preparing Zora to become the story keeper.
Lyrically told by Dr. Ebony Joy Wilkins and exquisitely rendered with mixed-media illustrations by Dare Coulter, Zora, the Story Keeper captures the richness and scope of Black American life through the lens of one family across generations.
About the Author
Ebony Joy Wilkins, Ph.D. is an English professor, writer, and founder of Curriculum Cafe. She is the author of If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad, Claudette Colvin Refuses to Move, the Mathical Honor Book DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson, and more. Ebony lives in Chicago. Read more about her books and subscription service, Ebony Kids, at ebonyjoywilkins.com.
Dare Coulter is an award-winning sculptor, muralist, and artist. Her mission for her artwork is to create positive imagery of Black people and families. Dare is currently based in Raleigh, North Carolina but hopes to have her murals and monumental sculptures to black joy live all over the world. Learn more about her work at darecoulter.com.
Praise for ZORA, THE STORY KEEPER:
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2023
A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2023
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2023 List
The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books 2023
SLJ’s A Fuse 8 Blog 2023 Picture Books List
★ “A must-purchase for picture book collections.”
—School Library Journal, starred review
★ “Every word of Wilkins’ text is well chosen, and Coulter’s stunning, emotional art . . . is a memorable visual depiction of a range of tender moments. Powerfully immersive.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Wilkins and Coulter create a tender, smartly constructed tribute to love, storytelling, and family history.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A moving representation of a Black family, grief, and the tradition of storytelling.”