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Going Down Home with Daddy

Written by Kelly Starling Lyons
& Illustrated by Daniel Minter

Nothing is more important than family.”

I was delighted to learn that Going Down Home with Daddy was named a 2020 Caldecott Honor Book. From the first time I read the beautiful words and poured over the lush, acrylic wash illustrations by artist Daniel Minter, I knew it was something special.

Kelly Starling Lyons’ book tells the story of a family reunion from the perspective of a young boy named Lil Alan. Lil Alan shares the anticipation and joy of spending time with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles as they come together to honor the rich history and importance of their family.

Lil Alan also shares worries that he won’t have anything to offer during the part of the reunion where everyone gathers to share the gift of their stories during a special time of celebration.

Through conversations and time spent on the land and with family members, Lil Alan finds a way to share his story through objects– rich and ripe with symbolism.

This would be an amazing narrative mentor text for intermediate grades, and a strong go-to for teachers to have in their conferring stacks. It evokes the warmest feelings of The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. This book deserves every accolade it has received and more– add it to your stack today.

Be sure to check out Kelly Starling Lyons’ website with your students! Her bio page gives a wonderful glimpse into her desire and decision to become a writer.

(Author photo from

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