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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.

Zora and Me Kicks Off New Mystery Series

Based on Zora Neale Hurston's childhood, it's a gator of a tale!

By Maxwell Smith | January 31 , 2011
Photo courtesy Candlewick Press<br />
Photo courtesy Candlewick Press

Zora and Me
Authors: Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
Publisher/Release Date: Candlewick Press/October 2010
Readlng Level: Middle School and up
No. of Pages: 192


A wonderful novel for middle school readers, Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon is based on the childhood of historic literary figure Zora Neale Hurston.

In the story, Zora has two friends named Teddy and Carrie. Zora and Me is told from the perspective of Carrie. Zora, Teddy, and Carrie tell each other almost everything. The three young friends turn their everyday lives into an exciting adventure with the help of Zora's wild imagination and storytelling. Anyone within earshot can't help but listen to her fantastic tales.

Zora's curious nature often gets her into trouble. She spends most of her free time prowling around Eatonville, her suburban community.

Eatonville, Florida, is referred to as "Gator Country" and for good reason. Florida is known for its alligators and much of the story revolves a gator named Ghost.

Zora links the events surrounding Ghost with all of the town's strange happenings. Through storytelling, Zora turns Ghost into a larger than life, mythical creature.
 
During the course of the story, Zora comes to realize there is more to Eatonville than meets the eye. What at first seems like child's play turns out to be something more dangerous than she can handle alone as she is exposed to the complicated racial relationships between blacks and whites.

Always leaving the reader wondering what will happen next, each page of the book brings surprise and mystery. This was one of my favorite things about Zora and Me. The authors succeed in making the book feel like someone is whispering the story in your ear—as if you were involved in each event.

I strongly recommend this book to all readers, especially those looking to get involved in a great new series. Yes, there is going to be a sequel!

Check out Kid Reporter Maxwell Smith's video interview with the authors of Zora and Me, Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon! And watch another video of the authors of Zora and Me talking about the influence of Zora Neale Hurston on their writing!

CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

For more on the achievements and contributions of African Americans to U.S. History, return to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps' Black History Month Special Report.

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