Storytelling, gardening, and Zora Neale Hurston all in one book! Zora’s garden is a children’s book written by Rae Chesny. Inspired by Zora Neale Hurston, the author describes storytellers and their importance. She also uses a simple analogy to explain how one can create stories.
The two protagonists are Zora and her mother, Lucy. Zora is a vivacious extrovert. Lucy understands the importance of imagination and has instilled this in her daughter from a young age. This is evident in Zora’s love for making up stories. Rae kept Lucy’s dialogues authentic which is very appreciated.
The story is well-written with rich vocabulary. The main message includes imagination, storytelling, and nature. It starts with Zora and Lucy and ends with Zora making sure Lucy’s message to her was kept alive after she passed away. Rae has worded nature uniquely, and this carries over into the way Lucy’s demise is dealt with in the book.
The illustrations are excellent and helpful for imagining the story. The coloring pages, questions for readers, and informational graphic about Zora were lovely extra touches at the end of the book.
In this digital age of technology and social media, it is easy to overlook the importance of preserving the legacy of historical figures and drawing inspiration from their works. Moreover, creativity, imagination, and gardening are seldom encouraged in today’s children.
Rae has kept Zora Neale Hurston in mind and combined fact and fiction to create a children’s book that explores the facets of gardening and storytelling. This narrative enables children to learn about Zora and her legacy. The story also helps the young generation recognize the value of imagination and storytelling. This message is necessary to pass on to children at an early age, and the analogy used is easy for children to understand. Youngsters will definitely enjoy this book!
(Book Review by Clara)