Nothing Special

Desiree Cooper

Six-year-old Jax can’t wait to leave Detroit and spend a week with his grandparents in coastal Virginia. But as he dreams of the adventures he’ll have, his PopPop has other ideas. For the first time, Jax goes crabbing, shucks corn, and counts fireflies, continuing the beloved traditions that his PopPop enjoyed as a boy.

On the surface, Nothing Special is a buddy story that spans generations. But it’s also a love letter to the black family connections that survived the Great Migration. Between 1910 and 1970, more than six million African Americans left the Jim Crow South, but they never forgot the culture, the land, and the family they left behind. In the decades since, it’s been a summer ritual for many black families to reverse the journey and return South for a nostalgic visit to their homeplaces. Nothing Special celebrates the enduring connection between the generations who stayed in the South, and the millions of emigrants for whom it will always be home.

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