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Zeely Paperback – May 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416914137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416914136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virginia Esther Hamilton was born, as she said, "on the outer edge of the Great Depression," on March 12, 1934. The youngest of five children of Kenneth James and Etta Belle Perry Hamilton, Virginia grew up amid a large extended family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The farmlands of southwestern Ohio had been home to her mother's family since the late 1850s, when Virginia's grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought into the state as an infant via the Underground Railroad.

Virginia graduated at the top of her high-school class and received a full scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs. In 1956, she transferred to the Ohio State University in Columbus and majored in literature and creative writing. She moved to New York City in 1958, working as a museum receptionist, cost accountant, and nightclub singer, while she pursued her dream of being a published writer. She studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research under Hiram Haydn, one of the founders of Atheneum Press.

It was also in New York that Virginia met poet Arnold Adoff. They were married in 1960. Arnold worked as a teacher, and Virginia was able to devote her full attention to writing, at least until daughter Leigh was born in 1963 and son Jaime in 1967. In 1969, Virginia and Arnold built their "dream home" in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement.

In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography. Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as "Liberation Literature." She won every major award in youth literature.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike Johnson on February 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I expect this book, like all great books, means different things to different people. A "different strokes" book - you think? Anyway, I just finished teaching a lesson to my sixth grade class from this book for about the zillionth time over a six year period. Each time, I see more in the book than before. I'm not sure where Mrs. Hamilton was going with this book, but I explained to the class that the more you read it and the more you grow, the more you will see. I never cease to be amazed at Zeely's serenity in the brutal scene of the hog drive (chapter 11) - her compassion and inner strength. In this scene, Mrs Hamilton shows us all something inside ourselves that we are seeking: inner peace in the maelstrom. Thanks for reminding us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Alexandre on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a young African-American teenager going through major surgery, this book was a such a gift that helped me to take my mind out of a semi-private room in a children's hospital, and to exercise my fantasy of being Geeder. Virginia Hamiliton's writing is simple, but powerful; the emotions very realistic and can be taken to heart. Most important, it speaks of differences among the "same"; the acceptance of the diversity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I first read this book, I was puzzled and a bit put off by the heroine. But I find, like Mike Johnson, that the more you read it, the more you find. Like Geeder I am mesmerized by Zeely, her beauty, serenity, and her mystery. I am also inspired by the book's emphasis on reality--not realism--that it's good to dream, but you shouldn't lose hold of reality--those pigs. I'm also inspired by the idea that we need to know the truth about our families and our history before we're ready to make up stories. The book is a reminder that we can all be queens if we do our work with dignity and grace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Rowe on February 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm in my late 30's now, but this book still remains one of my favorites from childhood. As a preadolescent I read this book countless times, and found it only became more engaging with each reading. I valued its realness. I often wished I could enter the worlds my books revealed, but this was the most concrete of those worlds with which I wished to engage.
This is not an easy book. Hamilton challenges her readers. Still, for children who like to read, this book is terrific.
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By Amazon Customer on December 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the complete review as it appears <a href="http://ianwoodnovellum.blogspot.com/2014/12/zeely-by-virginia-hamilton.html">at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV</a>. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).

I rated this book WORTHY!

WARNING! MAY CONTAIN UNHIDDEN SPOILERS! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Zeely, believe it or not. is a story about Elizabeth Perry and her brother John who go to the country to spend the summer with their uncle, Ross. On the train there, they change their names to Geeder (soft 'G') and Toeboy for the summer for reasons unexplained.

This is a short novel, only a hundred pages or so, and an easy read - not just because of the comfortable writing and leisurely pace of the novel, but also because the story is very entertaining. But don't make the mistake of thinking it's too leisurely. The story moves.

Geeder and Toeboy decide to "camp out" at night, and they sleep in a field near the house which has a view of the road through the bushes.
Read more ›
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By Jazz Lover on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this when I was in elementary school and it kept my attention. This was one of the first books I could relate to and visualize the story while reading it. I probably checked this book out four times in our library. I wanted this for my kids to read one day.
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