Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Kind of Love: A Family Reunion in Poems, by Traci Dant (ages 8 - 12)

My children are definitely excited about Halloween, but my thoughts are turning toward Thanksgiving. I'm especially looking forward to our family reunion this year, as our extended family grows bigger and bigger. Both of my brothers have had new babies in the past year, and my oldest niece is now 16 and taller than her mother! Family reunions are full of chaos, cooking and laughter. Some Kind of Love, a collection of poems by Traci Dant, captures all of these feelings perfectly.
Some Kind of Love:
A Family Reunion in Poems

by Traci Dant
illustrated by Eric Velasquez
NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2010
ages 8 - 12
available on Amazon and at your local public library
Some Kind of Love: A Family Reunion in PoemsEvery summer, relatives (old and young, big and small) come together from all over the country for a huge family reunion with cousins, brothers, sisters, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles. All have one thing in common: their love for each other. This African American family gathers every summer at their grandmother's house, with folks sleeping wherever there is room.
"Must be some kind of love
that moved my grandma to say,

Always come home.
Come home so I can see your faces."
Kids and grownups eat and laugh and tell stories and remember. There are sleepovers, days spent fishing, cousins riding bikes, and men telling stories that "make my work-hard Daddy laugh like / he'll never have to janitor all night and farm all day again." Told through the eyes of a nine-year old boy, this set of poems captures the moments of a family reunion - from the laughs to the heart-felt tender moments.

Traci Dant dedicated this book to her father, Melvin Dant Jr.. He "inspired me to write the poems in Some Kind of Love. He is the one who grew up attending every Mother's Day reunion in Hannibal, Missouri. He is the one who told stories about aunts and uncles and cousins I'd never met."
I adore Eric Velasquez's paintings - he is one of my favorite illustrators, especially for capturing emotion in people's faces. Here, he creates oil paintings that capture the warmth and depth of feelings in each family member.He's chosen to make the paintings soft and warm, almost like memories. I miss some of the clarity that I sometimes see in his work, but appreciate the feelings that come through.

I love being able to share with my children and students this African American family full of love for each other. As we head toward Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, it's the love I feel for family and friends that I want to celebrate. And I think children really understand this. As Traci Dant writes,
"What love you must feel
for your family. Those folks

who nutured you in the garden
of their hearts. What a special

special something it must be
when you all get together."
Many thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.


  1. Hi, Mary Ann--

    Am I in the right place for Poetry Friday? I'm in this week with a classic from Valerie Worth--"Pumpkin".

  2. Heidi (and all who might have come here thinking this was the roundup blog),

    Mary Ann is on her way to KidLitCon in Minneapolis. Andi has the roundup at a wrung sponge this week:

  3. Thanks for the link Mary Lee! Heidi found us there.

    Mary Ann - that book sounds fabulous! I am going to look for it. I think it will good for me and my sons. Thanks for posting!

  4. Hi Andi - thanks so much for hosting Poetry Friday for me! I hope you can seek out Some Kind of Love - it's a special book.