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Thirteen-year-old Jordan Garrison is at a crossroads. He's just about to enter high school, and his biggest worries are his new bottom-of-the-totem-pole status as an incoming freshman and his father's constant lectures about becoming a man. Growing further apart from his younger siblings—precocious eight-year-old twins—Jordan thinks his only ally is his grandmother, a hip sixty-two-year-old with a youthful glow that comforts Jordan, especially in the absence of his mother.
But when his widowed father suddenly dies, Jordan finds the journey through puberty to adulthood all the more daunting. He feels alone despite the best efforts of his family and friends. He is resentful and confused about new responsibilities forced on him, and torn between acting with his heart or fulfilling the expectations of those around him. A mysterious neighborhood shopkeeper, Snackman, notices Jordan's dilemma and steps in as surely as Jordan's own father would have. He offers Jordan a dirty strip of kente cloth, which he says contains the answers to Jordan's problems. And through this strip of cloth, Snackman guides Jordan to the answer of what it is to be a Black man. But not before Jordan meets with an almost disastrous fire and realizes his true importance to his family.
Dazzling and magical, Between Father and Son is a heartening story with a powerful message that adults and children alike will turn to time and time again.