February 11, 2021


Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D Williams and Jacqueline Alcántara is the story of Zora Neale Hurston's perseverance and positivity in the face of adversity.

Zora spent her life collecting and telling tales. When she wasn't listening to the townsfolk tell stories, she was telling her own, to strangers and friends alike, and she was blessed with a mom who encouraged her to "jump at de sun" and try everything. Zora's life got harder after her mother passed away but Zora kept her mother's words in her mind and in her heart, and they helped her become a writer and fulfill her ambitions.

The illustrations were done in gouache and markers and edited with Photoshop. Alcántara uses many speech bubbles throughout the spreads to emphasize the importance of words, of course, but also to emphasize the fun, oft-blurred lines between Zora's truths and her tall tales. Readers are hard-pressed to find many scenes of characters standing still. Rather, Zora's energy is palpable as she moves across the pages, and Alcántara explores unique angles and perspectives to keep the energy flowing.

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston published last month from Atheneum Books. You can also read an interview I did almost exactly two years ago with Jacqueline about her illustration process here!

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