Zora and Me

Zora and Me

by Victoria Bond, T.R. Simon


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Zora and Me by Victoria Bond, T.R. Simon

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. (Ages 10 and up)

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 lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named
Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn’t merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.

Also includes:
*an annotated bibliography of the works of Zora Neale Hurston
*a short biography of Zora Neale Hurston
*a timeline of Zora Neale Hurston’s life

"It is with sheer genius that Bond and Simon have created something for readers young and old—there are familiar references, like the ‘Brazzles,’ for true Zora-philes, as well as revelatory and wondrous information for those readers as yet uninitiated in the masterful storytelling of Zora Neale Hurston. This is a grand and accessible work that educates, informs, and entertains, and one that I am personally grateful was written for all of us."
—LUCY ANNE HURSTON, niece of Zora Neale Hurston

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763658144
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 157,621
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.52(d)
Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

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 twentieth-century American letters, they discovered that Zora’s life as both field anthropologist and writer custom-fit their own backgrounds. T. R. (Tanya) Simon has an MA in anthropology, while Victoria Bond holds an MFA in creative writing.

Read an Excerpt

It's funny how you can be in a story but not realize until the end that you were in one. Zora and I entered our story one Saturday two weeks before the start of fourth grade.

That Saturday, while our mamas were shopping, Zora and I were sitting under the big sweet gum tree across the road from Joe Clarke's storefront making sure we were in earshot of the chorus of men that perched on his porch. We sat under the tree, digging our feet into the rich dark soil, inviting worms to tickle us between the toes. We pretended to be talking and playing with the spiky monkey balls that had fallen from the sweet gum branches, but we were really listening to the menfolk's stories and salty comments and filing them away to talk about later on. That's when Sonny Wrapped strolled up in his Sunday suit, strutting like he owned the town and not just a pair of new pointy shoes, and calling for folks to come watch him whup a gator.

Sonny was a young welder from Sanford who had come to Eatonville to court Maisie Allard. For three weekends straight, he'd been wooing her with sweet talk and wildflowers. When he wasn't with her, he was shooting his mouth off about how tough he was. That particular day, Sonny had managed to track down the king of the gators, the biggest and oldest one in Lake Maitland, Sanford, or Eatonville. The gator's name was Ghost, and for good reason. One minute he was sunning on a mud bank or floating in the pond, his back exposed like a twenty-foot-long banquet of rocks; the next minute he'd have disappeared, and the pond would be as still as a wall.

Anyway, Sonny got a couple dozen men to walk the short distance to Lake Hungerfort to watch him wrestle the gator. Zora's father, her eldest brother, Bob, and Joe Clarke were among them. Nobody was thinking about the two of us, but we still had sense enough to lag behind and make ourselves invisible. Everyone stood a good ways back from the lake—close enough to see but far enough to have time to scoot up a tree if Sonny lost control.

Ghost lay still as death, but as Sonny approached, his eyes were like two slow-moving marbles. Before Sonny could jump Ghost from behind, the old gator swung his tail around and knocked Sonny off his feet.

To this day, I can still see Joe Clarke running toward Sonny, yelling, "Roll! Roll!" If Sonny could tumble out of the reach of Ghost's jaws, he might have a chance.

But Sonny was too stunned to get his mind around Ghost's cunning. He gaped, wide-eyed and mute, as the gator clamped down on his arm and dragged him into the water.

People began to scream. I think I remember screaming myself. One thing I remember for sure is Zora, just standing and watching without a sound, tears streaming down her face.

Joe Clarke is a big man, but he hesitated for a second—a grown man paying respect to his fear—before diving into the water. Two other brave men—Mr. Hurston and Bertram Edges, the blacksmith—dove in a moment later.

It took the three of them to drag Sonny back on dry ground. I'll never know how. They were bruised like prizefighters. But they were better off than Sonny, whose arm had been mangled past all recognition.

Back in our homes, we chewed on silence and thought about Dr. Pritchard, awake all night trying to patch up Sonny and make him right.

The next morning, Joe Clarke rode to all the churches in his capacity as town marshal and gave the pastors the news: Sonny didn't make it.

For two weeks after that, you would see pairs of grim men with shotguns scouring the ponds for a sign of Ghost, but they found nothing.

In the days that followed, Zora's father said it "wasn't fitting" to talk about what had happened to Sonny in front of women and children. Even Joe Clarke, who loved a story better than almost anyone, refused to talk about Sonny and Ghost.

Sometimes when I think back on that steamy afternoon, I can see my own father emerging soaking wet from Lake Hungerfort, Sonny's broken body in his arms. But that was impossible, because my daddy had already been gone six months by then. And that's another reason I remember that summer so clear: it was the summer my mama gave up believing my daddy would come home. She had cried just about all a person can cry.

As for Zora, while every kid in the schoolyard could talk of nothing else for days and pestered Zora and me for eyewitness reports, she quietly closed in on Sonny's death, like an oyster on a bit of sand. A week later, she had finally turned that bit of sand into a storied pearl.

Customer Reviews

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Zora and Me 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
shellshock96 More than 1 year ago
Anyone who likes a good mystery book, I strongly recommend this book. The book takes place in a town called ''blah'', and in the little blah community has some special characters, one of the main ones is a girl named Zora who witness's a mans head that has went blah. Zora and her friends think that it was the blah-man did it, you might never know, Until you read this great book. Minor things could have been done to make this book a better read, for example the book uses some racially offensive language, so would not recommend this book to people who don't like hearing such things, and personally think overall the book was alright.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally think that this book is a decent mystery novel. A couple of the things i liked most about this book is it has a very interesting and grabbing story line. I think it is cool how much imagination is involved in this mystery in a small nothing town. I would recommend this book to anyone 4th grade on up to 100 years old, male or female, that is interested in mystery novels. I would definitely read another book by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, i absolutely loved the way the story went and how many plot twists there was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bammmmmmmmm whattttttttttttttttttttt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Then l challenge you to a pokemon battle! -holds up a pokeball-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ho-Oh flaps his wings. The wind pushes S back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi,this is kin! And i was hoping you battle me. My pokemon have been wating to battle someone! So,what do you say!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi samuratt!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alt nook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits neer steeil and starts asking whats the most powerful pokemon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She hugs Flight. "Sorry..." She tps back to her tree, her expression as somber as ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits by myself
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, the author just wasted all that paper. I was really disapointed near the end of the book. Zora was just a waste of time. I really had my hopes high. Zora wasted their time with her fantasy. I was really disapointed when I found out Mr. Perpich carved his alligator snout. IT SUCKS!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good book to read over the summer i got to read it for a school book report
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Review title: Tenderbox of Secrets. Do you want to know a secret? Well, there are many secrets in this tale about "Zora and Me." A man comes to town and a few days later he is found dead. How did he die? And why did he die? *Mystery and suspense surround Zora, find out the secrets she uncovers as Carrie spends time with Zora. *Well-developed plot, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing about the truth. Also, there is a great supporting cast for the protagonist which allows readers to be drawn into the center of Zora's story. *Fascinating leisure time reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Katie will probbally battle u tomortow. GTG.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Somethibgs gonna go wrong im a physic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"So, you wont battle me?", she asks shyly. She sighs in dissapointment and turns sadly to leave.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Arceus, hang on! Swallot, return. Go buizel! Use watergun on that arcanine! Arceus, do a meteor shower followed with a thundershock! Buizel return. Go ghastly! Use suffocating gas! (Not that kind...) Ghastly return! Go luxio! Ignite that gas! Your turn... To anyone whos reading this, if you want to be in a story, say so at likitung first result! You need a bio!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"PIKA!!!!!" an angry pikachu yells at his trainer, reminding her that she needs to feed him. "I know! You need to be fed. But with school and Jordan and everything else, I just can't find the time," protests Heather as she watches her pikachu glare up at her. Jordan was her boyfriend. They metat the mall one day and became friends, where they realized that they were both at the same school, but never really noticed each other. "I'll go get the celery." Heather's pikachu was a vegan, which means that her pikachu doesn't eat anything from animals, not even honey and cheese! As Heather went to get the celery, she watched her geodude hop around, trying to tell her something. "What's wrong? What's outside?" she said, looking outside after her geodude pointed outside, " All right! Come on pikachu!" she screamed upstairs "You too, geodude," she spoke more quietky to the geodude when she saw what was outside. It was a shiny mew, which are very rare, shy, and the pokemon of her dreams. She quietly walked outside. "Mew, mew, mew!" Taking careful aim, she threw her last master ball from the professer. "Yes! We got it! Don't look that way, the mew isn't going to replace you," she scolded her pikachu. "Pika..," whimpered her little pikachu. "Oh, right, food! Don't worry, I'll fix up the biggest salad you've ever seen!" she assured her pikachu, already running full speed towards the house. After pikachu wolfed down the salad, everyone was happy. Nothing could go wrong.