Zora and Me
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Zora and Me

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  633 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Winner of the 2011 John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award


Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston.

Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who

...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Candlewick (first published October 12th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,310)
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Lars Guthrie
People tend to denigrate adaptations, abridgements, those shortcuts to understanding that all of us use from time to time despite their reputations.

Admit it. As a student, you read the Cliff Notes, or more likely these days, the Wikipedia summary, of a required text rather than do your homework. Perhaps as an adult, you’ve refined the process. A few reviews, and you blithely pretend that you’ve read the book they’re talking about at the dinner party.

One of the joys of working with kids is that...more
Rory
I fundamentally disagree with the impulse of so many authors/illustrators/publishers to "expose" children to famous authors/artists with these sorts of works. Zora Neale Hurston wrote some incredible things. These things were not meant for children. There's no reason to write a story based on a fictionalized account of her young life in hopes of attracting children to Hurston--it won't, and it shouldn't. Just write a good story for kids. This one was fine. A typical old-timey rural action-packed...more
April
Zora And Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon is a coming of age middle grade fictionalization of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood. Hurston is perhaps one of the most famous female writers to come out of the Harlem Renaissance.Alright, I am putting on my history teacher hat. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of great cultural achievement for Black culture. You've got Duke Ellington making awesome music, Langston Hughes dropping mad poetry, and Billie Holiday's crooning, not to mention the Apollo The...more
Carol Baldwin
I didn’t realize when I selected Zora and Me from the audio book shelf of my local library that I would be treated to a powerful, multiracial historical novel. But I was.

Under 200 pages long, this book is the result of collaboration between Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon. Their fictionalized account of Harlem renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood, brings the reader into gator country, Eatonville, Florida, during the Jim Crow period.

Zora’s outspoken manner and boldness is seen through...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Outstanding! Based on the childhood of folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, it's a story about a sheltered girl (Zora) living in the mostly black town of Eatonville, Florida, who discovers one summer, to her dismay, that, in the world outside of her town, the color of your skin makes a difference, and that secrets can be dangerous. I loved everything about this story--the authentic dialogue, the setting, the childlike outlooks of Carrie and Zora, and their gradual awakening to the reality of the adult...more
Pam Torres
See complete Review at soimfifty.blogspot.com.

First Line: "It's funny how you can be in a story but not realize until the end that you were in one."


One Great Line: "We hopped and skipped like coal embers were grazing our toes right through our shoes" (76).


What I Thought: When I first read The Bluest Eye and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings , I realized I had heard a new voice, one that was absent from my white middle-class upbringing. I hungered to hear it again and went on to read more. What I l...more
The Reading Countess
Acclaimed African American author (of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" fame) Zora Neale Hurston lived a full life, though she never reaped the financial reward of her prolific writing in her lifetime. In fact, she died penniless. Her neighbors took up a collection for her burial, but were forced to bury her in an unmarked grave when their pockets ran short of change. How do I know this, you might ask? It certainly wasn't taught to me in high school or college English courses. No, I learned about H...more
Josiah
"I thought about the difference between a mama's girl and a daddy's girl. I decided that a daughter who belongs to her daddy expects gifts, while a daughter who belongs to her mama expects a lot more. Not from her mama. From herself."

Zora and Me, P. 69

Right off the top, there are a few things about this book that stir my curiosity. How much of the story is an authentic biographical portrait of the young Zora Neale Hurston? Was this intended to be pretty much an accurate account of a real ser...more
Michele
This book is a fictionalized story in the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. It is described on the dust jacket as being an "echo" of "literary giant" Hurston, best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora is a child in the book, and one of the main characters, but she is not the narrator. The narrator is Zora’s fictional best friend, Carrie. The story and the characters are loosely chipped from Hurston’s own writings.

Zora and her best friend live in an all-black community in earl...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Eatonville, FL, "the first incorporated all-black township in the United States." In this fictional account of an incident in her childhood, Eatonville at first seems to be idyllic. Sure, the residents aren't very well off, but they're safe and free to be whoever they'd like. After a headless corpse is found by the railroad tracks, Zora and her friend Carrie's perspectives are changed forever.

This was a very fast read. Zora herself is a delight. She reminds me a bit...more
Gabi Coatsworth
I loved this book..it's perfectly pitched for its target audience. I will be handing it out to students a middle school on World Book Night. I hope they find it as I interesting and as much fun as I did. The secondary aim of the book, in my opinion, is to introduce students to Zora Neale Hurston. The main purpose is to teach them something about history while they read an absorbing story with relatable characters.
Akilah
I like the cover, but the title leaves a lot to be desired.

The story is interesting enough, I guess, but the focus on a young Zora Neale Hurston didn't really work for me. The way it's set up makes it less Carrie's story than Zora's, and if the narrator is a true participant, she shouldn't feel like a supporting character in her own story.
Kirei
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann
Zora and Me is a well-written, compelling story setting a young Zora Neale Hurston and her gift for storytelling at the heart of a mystery in the black Florida town where she grew up. Unlike many books in the genre that ring false by turning historical characters into supersleuths, however, Zora and Me is much more than a mystery. It's a story about family relations and race relations in the early 20th century. It's also a story about storytelling itself, the roles it plays in people's lives and...more
Carly Wesley
This book is based on the story of the historical folklorist Zora Hurston (but is fiction). It takes place in Eatonville, Florida, a mostly black town where a sheltered little girl Zora lives and is told by Zoras best friend Carrie. This summer Zora finds out that in the world outside her town the color of your skin makes a difference. Zora has a creative imagination that brings her to the idea that neighbor that doesn’t come much is half alligator. She and her friends set out to prove this idea...more
Mary Lee
No one who's reviewed this book here has mentioned the race issues that are honestly and historically accurately portrayed (including the language of race) in this book. Okay for elementary students? Several said it would be a good read aloud. Really? How much back work would you need to do?
Kylie Svoboda
Audience: Upper Elementary 5th-6th grade up through middle school
Appeal: Great for African American students to learn about their history. Great novel to tie into history when learning about segregation and the Jim Crow Laws.
Award: Corretta Scott John King Award
Julie
Zora Neale Hurston is an author who is best known for her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora and Me is a middle grade novel by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon that imagines Zora as a young girl who loves to tell stories. It all starts when Sonny Wrapped wrestles an alligator... and loses. Then Zora and her friends meet a man who turns up dead soon after. A mystery ensues, and Zora has a theory: a half gator, half man creature is to blame.

Zora and Me is a book that was part of my son's Battle...more
Heike
Excellent book. It was entertaining, as well as enlightening. We often think of prejudice being a problem that whites have, but this book shows, at least it did to me, that the prejudice goes both ways. It shows African Americans being treated badly, but it also shows African Americans shunning those who spend time with whites. Again, an excellent book for reflection and examination of the problems with prejudice we have in America.

For those who are looking for a sweet story about 2 young girls,...more
Carol Royce Owen
I kept waiting for this book to grab me and pull me in, but I guess I missed the bus. It just never happened. The story is of two 4th grade girls, Zora, based on author, Zora Neale Hurston and the narrator, Carrie, her best friend. The story is told from an all-black township in Florida where the girls have been sheltered from the racial tension between the white and black. When a series of events leads to Zora spinning some unbelievable tales, including one of a half man-half alligator, Carrie...more
Dorothea Palmer
Excellent and awesome book that base on the life of author Zora Neale Hurston, the story fictionalizes events surrounding Zora in the all-black community of Eatonville, FL, during her fourth-grade year, about 1900. The story, narrated by Zora’s best friend, Carrie, enables the reader to feel the power of Zora’s storytelling abilities. Zora and her friends learn that truth is sometimes stranger and more complicated than imagination. Mysteries and thought-provoking situations infuse the story with...more
Jenny Mock
I wanted to like this more than I did. It's an easy and interesting read.
Qnpoohbear

It's the summer after fourth grade and Carrie is looking forward to spending the lazy days with her best friends Zora (Neale Hurston) and Teddy. Zora is a born storyteller and when she claims she has seen a local man with a gator's head, she spins a yarn that the adults refuse to believe and the children aren't sure what to think. Carrie gets sucked into Zora's wild adventure to find the gator man and solve the mystery of a local murder. Zora's tale may have disastrous consequences for everyone...more
Aimee
Zora is girl who loves to tell a story. Whether Zora is telling the truth or stretching it, she is a riveting storyteller. Zora’s latest story revolves around the murder of a man by the railroad tracks. She believes that a murderous shape-shifting gator man prowls the marshes and feeds on the souls of men. Zora enlists the help of her two best friends, Carrie and Teddy to help her solve the mystery. The three friends find more than they bargained for as they uncover a web of lies, envy, deceit a...more
Claire
Written as a memoir, a fictional friend of Zora Neale Hurston remembers a little slice of her childhood with Zora. Set in Eatonville, a town in Florida founded to be a haven for black families shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Zora, Carrie and their friend Teddy live in a world defined by the magical stories Zora devises from the events around them. Carrie conveys Zora's genius ability to give personality to everything around Eatonville, Zora could make a story about anything, or put a...more
Ms. Yingling
Bond, Victoria and T.R.Simon. Zora and Me.
Zora and her friends Carrie and Teddy get into all sorts of trouble in their small Florida community in the early 1900s. Zora has a flair for the dramatic and is always making up one story or another. After a local man is mauled to death trying to wrestle an alligator, Zora comes up with two stories-- one about Mr. Pendir having the snout of an alligator, and one about what might have happened to a man found murdered beside the railroad tracks. Her stori...more
Nikki Warnke
Two best friends are caught in the middle of a mysterious series of murders in their small Florida town during the late 1800’s. Zora’s story-telling abilities enable her to catch the attention of family and friends while she and her best friend search for a connection between the unexpected murders. Told from best friend Carrie’s point of view, this story tells a tale of three young children who try and help their community unmask a tricky web of lies that has their town in a state of havoc.
Rec...more
Dawn
The childhood of Zora Neale Hurston is explored through the eyes of her best friend Carrie in this adventurous novel. Carrie shows us who Zora is and articulates the Eatonville that shaped Zora’s life. There is a clear understanding of the differences between the African-American and white worlds in which these girls seamlessly pass through. In fact, when a young man’s body shows up by the railroad tracks in Eatonville, these two worlds mesh in unexpected ways.

While I loved the insight into Zora...more
Diane
Young Zora is a good friend and confidant to the narrator, a young girl named Carrie. Zora is a gifted and imaginative storyteller whose curiosity and naivety lead Zora, and her friends on adventures that have the potential of ripping apart their racially complicated community. This fictional story is based on the life and short stories of Zora Neale Hurston and combines history, folklore and imagination in an engaging tale. As I began reading, I half expected this story to be a reworking of The...more
Pam
"The bad things that happen to you in life don't define misery--what you do with them does."
~ Carrie, narrator of this wonderful YA historical fiction novel.
While Carrie is fictional, the true subject of this novel, Zora Neale Hurston, is real. Hurston is perhaps the most famous woman writer from the Harlem Renaissance era. This is a fictional tale from her childhood. The setting, Eatonsville, Florida is also very real. It was the first incorporated all-black township in the United States.
Car...more
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608123
Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon met ten years ago while working together in publishing and became fast friends. After kicking around the idea of a collaboration for years, the idea of writing a middle-grade novel about Zora Neale Hurston emerged, and both knew they had stumbled into the project of their dreams. Excited and humbled by the opportunity to expose young readers to a seminal figure in twe...more
More about Victoria Bond...
The Frog Prince/peter And The Wolf

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“I thought about the difference between a mama's girl and a daddy's girl. I decided that a daughter who belongs to her daddy expects gifts, while a daughter who belongs to her mama expects a lot more. Not from her mama. From herself.” 7 likes
“I reckon everyone's got someone they're looking to find. Sometimes the problem is trying to find somebody who don't know they lost or don't want to be found.

—Ivory”
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