Words of Wonder from Z to A (Hardcover)
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An inspiring picture book from Scripps National Spelling Bee champ Zaila Avant-garde, filled with her favorite motivational words from Z to A. Perfect for your little book lover and spelling ace!
When 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde became the first Black American student to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2021, the world took notice.
Now, this extraordinary speller, writer, and basketball champ celebrates the world of words, with 26 of Zaila's favorite words, such as KINDNESS, HOPE, and RESILIENCE, alongside Zaila's encouraging and poetic thoughts.
Each bright and busy page also includes an inspiring quotation from a famous thought leader. And an afterword to the book details the fascinating origins of each word.
It's an uplifting picture book packed with motivation, learning, and fun, from one of America's most promising, unique, and accomplished young people.
About the Author
ZAILA AVANT-GARDE is a multi-talented powerhouse and a New York Times bestselling author, with success springing from all her endeavors and all before the ninth grade. She was named SportsKid of the Year 2021 by Sports Illustrated Kids.
Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, she won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee, making her the first African-American to win in almost 100 years of the competition. Avant-garde landed on her winning word, murraya—a type of tree—by associating the word with famous comedian Bill Murray, who surprised her by phoning in during her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Avant-garde’s spelling triumph is just one entry on a very impressive resume. Along with competing in spelling bees for two years, Avant-garde holds two Guinness World Records for her basketball prowess. She holds the records for the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs and most basketballs dribbled simultaneously by one person (at 6 basketballs).
Her success has been celebrated by the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, and Dr. Jill Biden, who attended the bee. Since winning the Bee, Zaila has appeared in a cameo role in Netflix’s “HUSTLE”, as well as NBA on TNT, and Peacock’s “Kid’s Tonight Show”. You can also see her displaying her basketball skills in brand campaigns for Carnival Cruise Lines, BYJU, Xbox, and Gymshark.
KEISHA MORRIS earned her BFA in Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and mentored with illustrators such as Sean Qualls, Selina Alko, and Dan Santat. She lives in Maryland with her wife, daughter, and two crazy cats. Learn more about Keisha's work at keishamorris.com and follow her on Instagram at @kekkerz86.
★ "In a word: Wonderful."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ 2023 Black Caucus American Library Association Best of the Best List
"A wonderfully uplifting book."—School Library Journal
"Little readers will love the vibrant illustrations and the inspirational words on every page." —The Root