Zora, the Story Keeper
by Ebony Joy Wilkins
Illustrated by Dare Coulter
Publication date: October 3, 2023
ABOUT ZORA, THE STORY KEEPER: A young Black girl and her aunt celebrate the wonder and magic of their family’s legacy through storytelling. When Zora grows up, she wants to be just like Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea is the best storyteller she knows! Every day after school, Zora heads to her aunt’s house, where they take out their family book and turn Aunt Bea’s kitchen into their stage. They raid Aunt Bea’s costume chest, filled with colorful garments from her acting days, and even do special voices to tell the stories of swimming coaches, Sunday preachers, World War II pilots, and more—all real members of their family. Zora can’t wait to find out what her story will be. As the days pass, Zora notices something’s happening to Aunt Bea. She gets tired more quickly, and sometimes she needs Zora to tell the stories instead. Zora never imagined that Aunt Bea’s tales would ever stop, but in addition to creating lots of joy and a lifetime of memories, Aunt Bea had been working on her greatest gift of all: preparing Zora to become the story keeper.
Lyrically told by Dr. Ebony Joy Wilkins and exquisitely rendered with mixed-media illustrations by Dare Coulter, Zora, the Story Keeper captures the richness and scope of Black American life through the lens of one family across generations.
About the Illustrator
Dare Coulter is an award-winning artist, muralist, and sculptor. Her mission for her artwork is primarily to create positive imagery of black people and families. Her most recent notable work includes a 200ft mural (with Kotis Street Art) in Greensboro honoring oft-unmentioned black cowboys and a commission of a painting of Nina Simone from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that was used to raise funds to restore Nina Simone’s childhood home. She has illustrated several children’s books, including An American Story, You Are My Sunshine and My N.C. From A to Z. Her primary focus is monumental sculpture.