Going Down Home with Daddy

by Kelly Starling Lyons and Daniel Minter

This year at the reunion, Lil Alan’s family is celebrating 75 years on the... read more

This year at the reunion, Lil Alan’s family is celebrating 75 years on the land that Granny and Pa, his great-grandparents, bought, and Lil Alan doesn’t know what gift to give Granny. Lil Alan pays attention, not just to what his siblings and cousins plan to do for Granny—sing a hymn, recite a Langston Hughes poem, make a scrapbook—but to conversations and stories about the land and their family history on it. “Think with your heart,” Daddy tells him. When the time comes for Lil Alan to give a gift to Granny, his presentation isn’t polished, but it’s heartfelt: a cloud of cotton from a plant, for all the quilts Granny’s made, a pecan for all the trees Pa planted and the kids still love to climb, and a pinch of dirt for the land that belongs to all of them. “'That’s alright,’ I hear Granny say.” Striking acrylic wash illustrations, with various patterns incorporated throughout, further ground this fictional African American family’s strong sense of identity and history. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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