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The Last Stand

Feb 24, 2024

Papa has the last stand at the Farmer’s market.

All the other market stands have closed.

His community needs him, but one day he is too tired to go.

“Earl’s pumpkins peppers plums & eggs” is the signboard that Papa and his grandson put up every Saturday at the Farmer’s market. They fill the stand with fresh vegetables and greet the community who come to get their favorite items.

Being the last stand, we see how important the fresh food, Earl, and his grandson are to their community and how the community rallies around Earl when he is too tired to continue.

The brightly coloured collage illustrations by brothers Jarret and Jerome Pumphrey bring this picture book to life. The vegetables, the colours, and the connection between Earl, his grandson, and the community, are powerfully depicted and demonstrate the work involved in being a farmer.

The author’s note at the end describes this book as a love letter, and an apology to the farmers of colour who have faced discrimination and racism over the past century in the United States. Author Antwan Eady shares his own story of growing up in South Carolina where black farmers raked, tilled, and appreciated the land. He dedicates this book to all those living in food apartheids, where access to fresh and affordable groceries is a struggle.

There is hope for this family and cultural tradition of farming to continue through Earl’s grandson as we see Little Earl’s sign and a new farmstand on the last page.

Helps with: The value of community and growing food, understanding the plight of black farmers, perseverance and initiative, caring for others, Intergenerational family farming, understanding systemic discrimination and racism, understanding food deserts and food apartheids, and Black history month.

Author: Antwan Eady
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2024