Mary Quattlebaum


Family Reunion

Finalist, Best Picture Book, Texas Institute of Letters

Like lazy summer days, the poems quietly roll into one another.
A celebration of families.
--School Library Journal

The poems are easy to read and many are heartwarming. Shine's watercolor paintings ... have an impressionistic quality.

The Story

Through 15 poems, 10-year-old Jodie tells of her extended family coming together for a reunion. Young cousins eat watermelon, catch fireflies and listen, wide-eyed, to their parents' tales of childhood. Different poetic forms--sonnet, free verse, villanelle, ballad, haiku--help expand children's awareness of poetry and encourage their own writing. Award-winning illustrator Andrea Shine weaves collage flowers, leaves, and letters into her luminous watercolors.

Writing Games

  1. 1.Have you ever been to a family reunion? What was it like? What did you enjoy the most? How might you help with the planning for another?

  2. 2.Because fireflies are very small, I wanted to write a small poem about them--and chose the 3-line haiku form. What small thing--button, flower, baby, tadpole--might you like to explore in a haiku?

  3. 3.Want to try publishing your photos, drawings and writings about a recent family reunion? Reunions magazine offers a chance.