Zora, the Story Keeper

Penguin/Kokila. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984816917.
PreS-Gr 1–Zora wants to be like Aunt Bea when she grows up. A gifted storyteller with a trunk of costumes, Aunt Bea tells the best stories about their family members as she throws on the costumes and uses funny voices. There’s Grandma Jean who used to coach a swim team and Grandpa Tom who was a preacher. Zora and Aunt Bea turn the kitchen into a stage as they act out these stories from the past. When Aunt Bea starts needing to rest more and is not telling the stories as well, Zora begins to worry. It’ll be okay. Even after Aunt Bea passes on, Zora knows she’s been well-equipped to carry on the tradition. This book is a poignant reminder to readers that though the people they love will die, they will live on in stories. In addition to the vibrantly illustrated pages, there are also photographs from the author’s and illustrator’s lives interspersed throughout. Black characters of varied skin tones and hair textures grace the picture book’s pages.
VERDICT A family’s stories pass down to the next generation of story keepers in this beautifully illustrated work that’s a must-purchase for picture book collections.

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