Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. Mar. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534419131.
K-Gr 3–This vibrant portrait of the early life and career of Black American writer Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960) is sure to inspire young readers. Newbery Honor–winning author Williams follows Hurston from her childhood in Florida through her success as a writer in New York, emphasizing her efforts to reach each milestone in her career. Hurston is characterized as tenacious, and she overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles to pursue her dream. Alcántara’s luminous illustrations will immediately engage readers, with saturated colors and captivating use of shadow and light. The narrative showcases a strong sense of setting. Readers can envision a lush Floridian landscape during Hurston’s younger years, and later, the energy and promise of the Harlem Renaissance. Williams’s lively prose employs dialect and a conversational style; it begs to be read aloud. The tone is a fitting tribute to Hurston’s writing style and her work in researching and preserving African American folktales. This title is more of an inspirational story of grit and determination than a resource for school reports, but an author’s note provides additional details about Hurston’s life and work and includes further resources.
VERDICT A welcome addition to any picture book biography collection; Williams deftly underscores the value of perseverance and education while highlighting the achievements of an influential Black female author.

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