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About Zetta Elliott
Zetta Elliott is a Black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. She was born and raised in Canada, but has lived in the US for over 25 years. She earned her PhD in American Studies from NYU in 2003; she has taught at Ohio University, Louisiana State University, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Bard High School Early College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her poetry has been published in New Daughters of Africa, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, the Cave Canem anthology The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers. Her novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto's Black Storytellers, and her plays have been staged in New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. Her essays have appeared in School Library Journal, The Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Her picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books' New Voices Contest and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Her young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called "a revelation...vivid, violent and impressive history." Ship of Souls was published in February 2012; it was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth and was a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award. Her YA novel, The Door at the Crossroads, was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the 2017 Cybils Awards, and her picture book, Melena's Jubilee, won a 2017 Skipping Stones Honor Award. She received the Children's Literature Association's Article Award for her 2014 essay, "The Trouble with Magic: Conjuring the Past in New York City Parks." She is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing, and has self-published numerous illustrated books for younger readers under her own imprint, Rosetta Press; 3 were named Best of the Year by the Bank Street Center for Children's Literature, and Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged was a first-grade fiction selection for the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was published by Random House in 2018; the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) named it a Notable Children's Book. Its sequel, The Dragon Thief, was named a Best Middle Grade Book of 2019 by CBC Books. Say Her Name, a young adult poetry collection, was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in January 2020; A Place Inside of Me was published in July 2020 by FSG and was named a Notable Poetry Book by NCTE. She currently lives in Evanston, IL.
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Titles By Zetta Elliott
The Girl Who Swallowed the Sun Sep 2, 2014
On the outside, Zoe looks like an ordinary little girl, but her father knows just how special she is inside. On cloudy days, they pretend that she has swallowed the sun, and then together Zoe and her father put it back up in the sky. After the terrible events of September 11th, Zoe decides she must secretly swallow the sun both to keep it safe, and to fill the void left by her missing father. As the days pass, however, the sun inside Zoe becomes too heavy a burden to bear. With her mother’s help, Zoe learns to accept her father’s death, and she puts the sun back in the sky where it belongs.
One Eye Open May 17, 2011
More than anything, Nina Traymore wants stability in her life. After graduating from college, Nina returns to New York City determined to immerse herself in the struggle to revive impoverished communities. Her world is shattered, however, when she is brutally raped in her home by a male acquaintance. Traumatized by the violation but fearful of life outside the city’s familiar limits, Nina accepts a teaching position in Brooklyn and moves there hoping to piece her life back together. At the Sojourner Center for Families and Youth, Nina meets Isaiah Edwards, an aspiring architect whose privileged upbringing saved him from many of the traps that have ensnared his childhood friends. Although he intends to detach himself from his inner-city roots, Isaiah soon finds himself caring for Nina, though she seems bound to the crumbling community. Torn between her love for Isaiah and her duty to the children she serves, Nina must decide whether her path to healing lies abroad or in the beautiful yet brutal city that has been her home for so many years.
Room in My Heart Sep 3, 2014
It took some time for Nikki to adjust to her parents’ divorce, but now she and her little sister Natalie enjoy their new routine. Daddy comes over for dinner on Tuesday nights and the girls spend each weekend with him. But everything changes when Daddy picks them up for their weekend visit and introduces the girls to his new friend Sylvia. Nikki feels invisible when Sylvia’s around and so she decides not to spend the weekend with Daddy anymore. Only after talking about her feelings with her aunt does Nikki learn that her father’s love is unchanging, and that there is room in his heart to love many different people.