I read a book. I thought about it so I could write a review. And then I wondered, is this something I can do justice to? I mean, there is nothing hard about Zora, the Story Keeper. It is a story about a girl, Zora, and her beloved Aunt Bea. And in the end, after their beautiful times together, where they told stories, and costumes are worn, Aunt Bea passes away, so it is also a book of grief and holding onto the stories Aunt Bea gave Zora. Zora is now the keeper of the stories; the keeper of the old ones and the keeper of making sure there are new ones added.
I think what is hard is that there are questions I have. Such as, was Aunt Bea a great aunt to Zora? (There is a story that makes Bea sad about someone dying in World War Two and Bea acts like it was a husband). Did Aunt Bea die of something like cancer or just growing older in the natural event of things? I guess, However, Ebony Joy Wilkins, maybe I need to read your book again. Maybe that is why I am not sure I can do justice to this picture book coming in October 2023. I know that this book is about the powerful things one black family has done, and in turn, will do, but I feel like there was something more. Maybe I focused too much on Zora’s and Bea’s relationship instead of the larger picture.
And speaking of pictures, the illustrations of Dare Coulter are the crowing point to everything. They show the images with softness and support the stories. There is good detail and good colors. They will show the “then and now” side-by-side not taking away from either one; not crowding the other but sit together on the page playing nicely and allowing the reader to see how everything flows together. They are created with mixed media that at first was a little awkward but worked after a bit to create probably my favorite part of everything. As I said, they work with the story and are well done.
Overall, like many books I have read, this is an experience book. You experience it and you take away from it. And everyone will have a little something different happened while they are having their experience.