A beautiful portrait of an African American family in a small town of Oklahoma Deborah Ronna Baker’s The Porch Down Home tells the story of seventeen-year-old Avie and her fifteen-year-old sister Cassie. When their parents are killed in a tragic accident, the sisters are taken in by their loving grandparents, Emmanuel and Fronia Wallace (or as the girls affectionately and respectively call them, Bigdaddy and Bigmamma). Based on—and named after—the author’s own grandparents, the story paints Bigdaddy and Bigmamma as “the epitome of a marital example.”Set in the historically African American town of I.X.L., Oklahoma, the book follows Avie and her family in several settings through the town including its church, the school which the sisters attend, and the Wallace homestead. The family’s home is an active and vibrant place where they raise their own livestock and grow their own crops, including an herb with mystical healing properties. Though much of the town is aware of the existence of Bigdaddy’s miracle herb, he is very protective of it. He doesn’t realize trouble may be closer to home than suspected.When Avie—a generally excellent student—forgets she is tasked with choosing a topic for her group’s science project, she decides the only way to maintain her good grades is to use a sample of the herb, unbeknownst to Bigdaddy. Filled with guilt, Avie tries to tell Bigdaddy but can’t find the right time. When he does find out, he wonders if he’ll ever be able to trust Avie again.Featuring an amazing ensemble of supporting characters,The Porch Down Home is a sweet depiction of family life and the trials we may experience.