Zora Hurston (Reading Rainbow Books) Review

Zora Hurston (Reading Rainbow Books)
Average Reviews:

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I am surprised to read the harsh editiorial reviews as MY LITTLE GIRLS AND I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK. As avid readers of children's literature to my six children this book ranks up there with our favorites! Not only does it validate that it is OK to have unique goals and interests which we may develop as adults which differ from those which parents have set for us as children, it does so without coming across as DISRESPECTFUL of the well intended parents. While it SAYS "ZORA Only listened to her mother" I think the irony of that statement is REALLY obvious to even little readers who don't miss the fact that ZORA became a writer and that it was indeed HER FATHER who insisted that she hone her academic skills and study her BIBLE daily which most certainly was as influential and formative in developing skills required for her later writing success as her mother's teaching. While Zora'a father is portrayed as teaching her in a structured and disciplined way SKILLS and LESSONS, Zora's mother is shown to have taught her to not be limited by expectations and rules imposed by others in her life but to actively seek out to learn new things.
I thought that while the statement "Zora only listened to her mother" did indeed benefit from SOME EDITORIALIZING for small children which can be sticky, that issue merits this story becoming a 4 star rather than 5 star one. However at the same time, I FOUND IT REFRESHING that the fact parents AT TIMES are contradictory to children WAS SO HONESTLY PRESENTED IN A CHILDREN'S BOOK. How many kids have received opposing messages from each of their well intended parents? HOw many parents have themselves struggled with EACH OTHER over how to present their ideas which at times contradict?
HOW WONDERFUL for kids to have a book where they CAN IDENTIFY WITH THE MAIN CHARACTER who has to make her own way in the world BY ASSIMILATING WHAT HER PARENTS TAUGHT AND MAKING CHOICES REGARDING THE POINTS WHICH HER PARENTS DISAGREED AND PRESENTED OPPOSING IDEAS. AND HOW WONDERFUL for us parents to read of the brilliant success of ZORA and realize that our kids ALSO will likely be successful and capable DESPITE our errors and flaws of not always being COHESIVE and IN AGREEMENT in our parenting of our children! In this day and age where 50% of marriages end up in divorce, I think those seeming "flaws" of writing may at second glance be apprechiated as honest reflections of OURSELVES and valuable in assisting our CHILDREN in feeling comfortable knowing they are not the only ones who ever felt like that! ,
AND GENDER, as well as overcoming the unintended confusion we parents sometimes present to our children.
I felt the inclusion of the myth of DEATH was not at all confusing to young readers and indicated Zora's interest in folk lore at a young age which informed her later antropological work. I think for very young readers this myth gives them some explaination of how death took her mother as the personification of death makes it not seem like a mystery but offers explaination which is satisfying to them. (And not harmful regardless of ones beliefs and teaching regarding death, as young readers have such short attention spans they forget this detail as quickly as it takes for them to be entralled by the beautiful illustrations.) Older readers are not likely to be at all confused by this inclusion of storytelling that is represented as being a myth.
Overall I found this to book to be a beautiful one which my girls JUST LOVE as they identify with the dreamy climbing of trees and reaching out for the world in wonder.

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