Zora Neale Hurston; Southern Storyteller

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9These biographies, with their bright, appealing covers, should attract readers. Lisandrelli draws heavily on Angelou's extensive autobiographical writings, but has also culled several other sources as well. Hurston, too, provides an evenhanded portrayal of a complex and unique woman. The major strengths of both books include an adequate representation of the subjects' lives, including both exemplary and the not-so-exemplary aspects. However, in Angelou especially, the abundance of footnotes may prove distracting. The practice is much less obtrusive in Hurston. Both authors offer honest portraits of strong African American women. Their hard work, optimism, perseverance, and belief in themselves offer inspiration to readers of either sex or any ethnic origin. The short, engaging chapters are generously enhanced with interesting, informative black-and-white photographs.Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC
Kirkus Reviews
Yannuzzi (Wilma Mankiller, 1994, not reviewed), awkwardly rehashing information better handled by one of her sources—Mary Lyons's Sorrow's Kitchen (1993)—seldom peeks below the surface of Hurston's checkered literary career and notably unstable private life.

A luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston later became an enthusiastic collector of African-American tales, lore, and cultural practices—but, unable to hold on to money, friends, husbands, or benefactors, died in poverty and remained almost forgotten until the mid-1970s. Through a selection of telling incidents and brief quoted comments, Hurston's intelligence and strong personality come across, but her written work is passed over virtually unassessed in a dry recitation of titles and content summaries that reads like CIP notes. Yannuzzi does not explain how an author supposedly endowed with "a big talent and a strong will to succeed" met with such mixed reviews and produced so many rejected manuscripts; readers will come away with only vague ideas of the quality of Hurston's thought or writing. This may be more detailed than Patricia McKissack's shorter Zora Neale Hurston, Writer and Storyteller (1992), but it offers no further insight.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780894906855
  • Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Series: African-American Biographies Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.48 (d)

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