GOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY. Written by Kelly Starling Lyons. Illustrated by Daniel Minter. Peachtree Publishing Company. $17.99.
“On reunion morning, we rise before the sun. Daddy hums as he packs our car with suitcases and a cooler full of snacks. He says there’s nothing like going down home.”
In this 2020 Caldecott Honor award-winner, “down home” is where Lil Alan’s Granny lives. Lil Alan and his family are on their way to see their extended family of grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Their reunion is a time to share stories and visit the land of their family’s history. Even the children get involved in the sharing, leaving Lil Alan anxious about his role. Minter, who also won a Coretta Scott King Honor award, used acrylic wash to show the action and connectedness of this loving family. His images, textures, and patterns reinforce the idea that there is power in celebrating family traditions. For example, in the following image, he incorporates the Sankofa, a symbol with curves that come back and connect. This symbol, used by the Akan people of Ghana, reminds us that we should look back to our roots and learn the best of what the past teaches us to move forward into our fullest potential. It is an apt symbol to incorporate into a book about going to a reunion in a family’s place of origin.
Daniel Minter was a guest at the recent Mazza Summer Conference. For a fuller description of this book in his own words, go to https://www.mackincommunity.com/2020/03/19/an-illustrators-journey-guest-post-by-daniel-minter/.