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Geeder's summer at her uncle's farm is made special because of her friendship with a very tall, composed woman who raises hogs and who closely resembles the magazine photograph of a Watutsi queen.

A new 25th anniversary edition. "For Geeder, competent, self-possessed, six-and-a-half-foot Zeely Taylor becomes a romanticized idol. When Geeder finally meets Zeely, she gains a new perspective on daydreams and reality and a more realistic appreciation of Zeely's true ...

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Geeder's summer at her uncle's farm is made special because of her friendship with a very tall, composed woman who raises hogs and who closely resembles the magazine photograph of a Watutsi queen.

A new 25th anniversary edition. "For Geeder, competent, self-possessed, six-and-a-half-foot Zeely Taylor becomes a romanticized idol. When Geeder finally meets Zeely, she gains a new perspective on daydreams and reality and a more realistic appreciation of Zeely's true character."--Booklist. Illustrated.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689716959
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia Hamilton

Born into a large family and raised on a farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Ms. Hamilton grew up listening to stories shared by her mother and father. While studying writing at the New School for Social Research in New York City, she met a young poet, Arnold Adoff, and the two were married in March 1960. In 1968, Ms. Hamilton's first book, Zeely (S&S, 0-02-742470-7; Aladdin, 0-689-71695-8. Ages 10 up), edited by Richard Jackson, was published; and she and her family (which now included her daughter Leigh and her son Jaime) moved back to Yellow Springs, building their home on land that had been in Ms. Hamilton's family for generations. Ms. Hamilton's second book, The House Of Dies Drear (S&S, 0-02-742500-2; Aladdin, 0-02-043520-7. Ages 12 up), was published in 1968 and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best juvenile mystery. The success of these first two novels heralded a long and prolific career full of accolades and the most prestigious awards in children's literature.

Ms. Hamilton won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1992 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1995 for her body of work. Also in 1995, Ms.Hamilton received a John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Fellowship, presented to "talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits" and have demonstrated "exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work." She was the first African American to win the Newbery Medal, which was presented to her for M.C. Higgins, the Great (Aladdin, 0-02-043490-1; Aladdin, 0-689-71694-X; S&S, 0-689-83074-2. Ages 10 up). M.C. Higgins, the Great was also the first of only two books ever to win the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (Philomel/Penguin Putnam, 1982), The Planet Of Junior Brown (S&S, 0-02-742510-X; Aladdin, 0-689-71721-0; Aladdin, 0-02-043540-1), and In The Beginning: Creation Stories From Around The World (Harcourt, 1988) were all Newbery Honor books. Ms. Hamilton won the Coretta Scott King Award three times, and three times her books were selected as Coretta Scott King Award Honor books. Twice she won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction (for M.C. Higgins the Great and for Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush), while Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave (Knopf, 1988) won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. In 1996 the NAACP Image Award was presented to her for Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, And True Tales (Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, 1995). She was also a winner of the Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association, and in 1984 an annual children's literature lecture was established in her name at Kent State University.

Ms. Hamilton's writing career spanned more than thirty years, during which time she was awarded every major honor for children's book writing. To learn more about Ms. Hamilton and her books, please visit her Web site: http://www.virginiahamilton.com/


A writer of prodigious gifts, Virginia Hamilton forged a new kind of juvenile fiction by twining African-American and Native American history and folklore with contemporary stories and plotlines.

With Hamilton's first novel, Zeely, the story of a young farm girl who fantasizes that a woman she knows is a Watusi queen, she set the bar high. The book won a American Library Association Notable Children's Book citation. Hamilton rose to her own challenge, and every new book she published enriched American literature to such a degree that in 1995 she was awarded the ALA's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement.

Born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and raised in an extended family of farmers and storytellers (her own father was a musician), Hamilton's work was inspired by her childhood experiences, family mythology, and Ohio River Valley homeland. In an article about the importance of libraries in children's lives, she credits her mother and the "story lady" at her childhood public library with opening her mind to the world of books.

Although she spent time in New York City working as a bookkeeper after college, and traveled widely in Africa and Europe, Hamilton spent most of her life in Yellow Springs, anchored by the language, geography, and culture of southern Ohio. In The House of Dies Drear, she arranged her story around the secrets of the Underground Railroad. In M. C. Higgins, the Great, winner of both a John Newbery Medal and a National Book Award, she chronicled the struggles of a family whose land, and life spirit, is threatened by strip mining. Publishers Weekly called the novel "one of those rare books which draws the reader in with the first paragraph and keeps him or her turning the page until the end."

In her series of folk-tale collections, including The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World, and Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, Hamilton salvaged and burnished folk tales from cultures across the world for her stories; stories that suffused her fiction with its extraordinary blend of worldly and otherworldly events, enchantment, and modern reality. Virginia Hamilton died on February 19, 2002.

Good To Know

Hamilton's first research trip to a library was to find out more about her family's exotic chickens, which her mother called "rainbow layers," because of the many tints of the eggs they laid.

In 1995, Hamilton became the first children's writer to win a John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur "genius" grant.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      March 12, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yellow Springs, Ohio
    1. Date of Death:
      February 19, 2002
    2. Place of Death:
      Yellow Springs, Ohio
    1. Education:
      Attended Antioch College, Ohio State University, and the New School for Social Research
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012


    Im reading this book fore school i fond it on my nook so far the book is amazing! I cant wait to finish it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011


    I love this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008


    ZEELY Zeely is an adventure in the South of United States. The author is Virginia Hamilton, and published by the Macmillan Publishing Company. And published At Beacon Street, Boston, in 1989. The main focus theme in the novel was that Geeder and toeboy or also known as Elizabeth and John. And there sent to visit Uncle Ross in the country side of the South. But it¿s unusual that they don¿t remember much since they went three years before. Geeder and toeboy had to make some attitude changes to impress Uncle Ross to see that they became responsible kids over the years. First, Geeder is tall and much older. She¿s fourteen years old. The thing that toeboy dislikes, is the fact that her sister is the bossy one, and tells toeboy what to do. Uncle ross house was really big, ¿I don¿t remember it being so large, though, with so much more.¿ I did feel as if I were there. Because she describes exactly to what she saw when she got to the farm and house. The setting to the novel was a lonely farm that Uncle Ross just lives and owns the land. But could Uncle Ross be happy alone? Sure hes a happy old man that just spends his day farming the land with neighbors. Toeboy is a little kid in 6th grade. He¿s tired of the pressure from his sister telling him what to do. The ups and down of him was that he can be playful when him and his sister went out to play with the dogs. But there¿s times that he can be scared when they spend their night sleeping outside telling scary stories about the ¿ night travelers¿, and staring and wondering at the breezy feel of the wind. I think hes a kid that is really confident and safe when he¿s near her big sister. But in the same time he doesn¿t want her to tell him what to do as far as decision making. I loved and actually felt that Iwas there when there were just laying outside with sleeping bags, and loking at the stars waiting to see an image that comes in their crazy heads. The thing that I liked the most was when Zeely just walks across them in the middle of the night. Zeely is more then six and a half feet long, thin and deeply dark as a pole of Ceylon ebony skin. She wore a long smock down to her ankles. Her head was shape like an Egyptian statue. And she had high check bones with a shiny face. My favorite quote comes from Uncle Ross about how life changes, ¿Some eggs change into chickens, some worms into butterflies.¿ I think this quote means you can be someone, but some actually do change to be better if you force your self to become better. I connect better with Uncle Ross then the rest three is because he lives a simple lifestyle but is seeking a better tomorrow with a good will of attitude. This is why he teaches the kids how to appreciate life even if there hometown is the city. The best way I can call this book is a ¿mesmerizing country state home¿. It doesn¿t get better then I say it. If your not into adventure books this is not the type of book recommended. But if it is, then don¿t read it anyway, just take my word for it. I felt extremely into the book felling if I looked to the side that I were to start a conversation with Geeder and toeboy. Avoid the reading. Because just hearing the dialogue between the two is like being in charge of ten babies at a time. I think it¿s annoying when I read what they say. It reminds me like my sister. Plus the Country side theme in the book does not match the Southern California theme in our case. Its really boring after chapter six, for the lack of helping the reader picture things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008


    This book is soo boring I cant belive it even got published

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    I remember days like this

    Just as Geeder and her brother visit their uncle, I remember when my sister and I used to visit our grandparents who had a similar farm. A story that will get children to imagine more and come up with ideas for their next visit to their relatives in the country. Love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2006


    The first book I read for Virginia Hamilton is Zeely. The book ¿Zeely,¿ is about a young girl named Elizabeth Perry and her little brother named John Perry, who is visiting her uncle, over the summer. Uncle Ross lives in a farm. Elizabeth and John were excited to stay in theirs uncles¿ farm because they were free from their parents and rules. They were so to stay in theirs uncles¿ farm excited that, Elizabeth chose the nickname ¿Geeder¿ because she likes horses and John chose the nickname ¿Toeboy¿ because he walks barefoot, around the farm. In a few days later, Nat Tayber and his daughter, Zeely comes to Uncle Ross¿s farm. Zeely Tayber is tall and dignified, unlike anyone else in the small town. Geeder is fascinated and admires Zeely so much that, she wants to be like her. One day, when Geeder was reading and looking at some magazine, she found a picture of a Watutsi queen who looks like Zeely. Geeder thinks that Zeely is made of royalty and Zeely could be Watutsi queen¿s granddaughter. Zeely saved Geeder from a rampaging run of hogs. In page 72 ¿... her she was crying a little, from somewhere in her throat. There was pain in her left foot where a big boar had stepped on her. The stench of the animals made her legs weak. She almost fell, but then Zeely was just ahead. Geeder had to step between two sows ... eased. Then, Zeely had Geeder by the arm. Zeely was walking fast. She leaned forward like a young tree bent in a storm. She walked as though she had made a path ...¿ and in page 73 ¿... her, nor Geeder, either. Not more than a half minute had passed since the time Geeder had begun to run and Zeely had started back with her through the hogs. In no time, they saw Nat Tayber prodding the stricken sow hard with his pole. Zeely stopped a few feet from Nat. She let go of ...¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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