It is 1943 in Sicily. The pension from America has stopped, the countryside is not producing food, and winter will soon be upon the Sicilians. Salvatore Campo is a desperate man. With five children and a wife to support, he resorts to stealing grain—a crime that eventually lands him in jail. As sorrow and despair falls on Salvatore’s family, his wife prays for a miracle. As time goes on, she begins to realize that her only hope for overcoming starvation lies within her eight-year-old son, Lillo.
Three years later as little Lillo is sent away to work on a country farm to help his family, his only possessions are an extra shirt and pair of pants. With a fear bigger than himself, Lillo embarks on an unforgettable coming-of-age journey that opens his eyes to the world around him and forces him to face all the challenges that accompany his new destiny as a sheepherder. From sleeping on the cold floor to assuming responsibility for over seventy sheep, little Lillo grows up quickly while learning how to travel alone, live without his family, and most importantly, become a man.
In this autobiographical novel, a Sicilian boy must rely on his inner-strength and perseverance as he helps his family survive starvation after World War II and walks into a new future.