Thirteen-year-old Hank Kemp is four-feet-nine inches and ninety-seven pounds of pure intelligence. Despite growing up in a poverty-stricken African American community in the 1950s South, Hank still dares to dream. Although he has been abandoned by his drifter father, his hard-working mother provides an endless supply of unconditional love and support. Shortly after he wins the spelling bee at his junior high, Hank’s promising world shatters when his mother dies in a fire. Soon, his mother’s friend, Lillie, takes Hank in and begins raising him as one of her own. While Hank struggles through his grief and rekindles his strong determination to succeed in life, he is helped along the way by a kindly teacher, an attorney, and the Spoorville community as they band together to keep Hank out of foster care. As his father reenters his life and Hank’s journey propels him toward high school graduation and an exciting future, he learns that success is better achieved with help from those able to see what he can be. In this inspiring coming-of-age story, a young African American growing up in fifties America must carve his own path in life after his mother dies, with assistance from a caring community.