When Lil Alan and his family leave the city on reunion morning, the boy is excited about travelling to his great-grandma’s farm for a yearly gathering with his father’s extended family. But Lil Alan is also sad and worried because he knows that for the celebration evening everyone will have something to share, and he has nothing to offer.
As the children explore their great-grandma’s farm, they talk about what they each will do for the celebration evening. Lil Alan’s sister plans to sing great-grandma’s favorite song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” And his cousin plans to read a poem by Langston Hughes.
Later, the children take a tractor ride around the farm with Lil Alan’s daddy and he tells them about how his African-American family bought the land and grew cotton. Still, Lil Alan continues to worry. When he asks Daddy for help, his wise father says, “Think with your heart, Lil Alan.”
And that’s what Lil Alan does. He remembers Daddy’s stories about the past; he recalls the pictures he’s seen of his ancestors; and he thinks about the treasures on his family’s land. Finally, Lil Alan knows what he will offer—a surprising, simple tribute to his family.
Illustrator Daniel Minter’s exquisite paintings portray the majesty of the verdant land, the miracle of hard-won freedom, and the love, connection, and joy experienced by a large, vivacious African-American family. They enhance and enrich this touching narrative of a young boy who knows without a doubt that he belongs to his family, yet wants to contribute in a meaningful way to its tradition. (Peachtree Publishing Company)