jump at the sun: the true life tale of unstoppable storycatcher zora neale hurston


4-8 years

  • historical figure
  • writers
  • self-empowerment

Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara


This gorgeous book goes into detail about the life of writer Zora Neale Hurston, who bounded from adventure to adventure and found notoriety in writing along the way. I love the way the illustrations convey movement and joy, always showing Zora in movement and creativity.

Zora was a child who loved to collect stories, and could often be found convincing visitors to let her ride along with them in their cars, entertaining them with tall tales the whole way. As she grew up, she began to focus her secondary education on collecting these stories, and wrote her own. I love the way the book integrates the stories into the artwork, like whimsical memories with swirling illustrations and text boxes.

The book uses the title of one of Zora’s writings and a phrase her mama used to tell her as a metaphor for following her dreams and taking chances. Zora Neal Hurston is remembered as an unstoppable force, jumping at the sun and making her mark on the world.

Alicia D. Williams

Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received the Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris prize finalist, and won the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Alicia D also debuted a picture book biography,  Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston. She shares a passion for storytelling which stems from conducting school residencies as a Master Teaching Artist of arts-integration. Alicia D infuses her love for drama, movement, and storytelling to inspire students to write. She resides in Charlotte, NC.

Jacqueline Alcántara

Jacqueline Alcántara is a freelance illustrator and artist spending her days drawing, writing and globe trotting with her dog Possum. She is fueled by dance music, carbs and coffee. Jacqueline studied Secondary Art Education and taught high school art and photography before transitioning to illustration. 

Her experience working with children has led her to focusing on children’s literature and specifically in pursuit of projects featuring a diverse main character. She won the 2016 “We Need Diverse Books Campaign” Mentorship Award and is excited to be working to promote inclusiveness and diversity in children’s literature and the illustration field. 

Her first book The Field (written by Baptiste Paul, published by North South Books ) received 3 starred reviews and won Jacqueline the Sonia Lynn Sadler Award in 2018. Her second book, Freedom Soup (written by Tami Charles, published by Candlewick Press) received 4 starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild, Indiebound and Amazon selection in 2019.

In addition to the children’s illustration field, Jacqueline has worked with other clients including NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Foundation for Women, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Elle Decor, and University of Chicago creating illustrations for a range of editorial and promotional projects. She has a never ending interest in learning new skills and taking on new challenges.

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