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|Some places more than others|
Author: Watson, Renee
Amara visits her father's family in Harlem for her twelfth birthday, hoping to better understand her family and herself, but New York City is not what she expected.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 504824
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/19)
School Library Journal (08/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2019 Amara, almost 12, leads a comfortable life in Beaverton, Oregon. Her dad works for Nike, and that brings perks. Her mom owns a boutique and is pregnant with Amara’s soon-to-be sister. But when her teacher assigns a family history project, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know: Why is her father estranged from Grandpa Earl? Does it have something to do with her birthday being so close to her grandmother’s death? After much pleading, Amara is allowed to accompany her father on a business trip to New York, where she visits with relatives, tries to mend old feuds, starts a new one, and unravels family secrets. Though there are few surprises here, Watson creates characters that pop, especially Amara, who, through her first-person narration, demonstrates how past events affect the present. The Harlem setting makes a good background for Amara’s growing awareness of Black history and how her privileged existence (a source of irritation to her cousin Ava) has been built on the shoulders of those who came before—some historical figures, others closer to home. Satisfying in many ways.HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Books from Watson, a Newbery Honor winner and Coretta Scott King–award winning author, always generate a buzz. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2019 Gr 4–6—For Amara's 12th birthday, she longs to travel to Harlem with her father to see where he grew up and meet the family she's spoken with only on the phone. Amara's mother objects to the trip, but a school assignment requiring research on family history helps put father and daughter on a plane to New York. Watson, Newbery Honor winner for Piecing Me Together, is a master of structure and character development. Amara's emerging sense of self contrasts with yearning for stories of her family's past and foreshadows the strained family relationships that will be revealed, and healed, during the Harlem trip. Readers experience the city through Amara's eager eyes, taking in the sights, sounds, and history on every street. Seeing statues of Harriet Tubman and Adam Clayton Powell and touring the Schomburg Center give Amara the connection she's been searching for: "the journey I am on has many footprints, many stories coming with me." Her eloquent, powerful poem at the novel's end shows that her journey is off to a solid start. VERDICT Amara's search for her roots is tender and empowering. An essential purchase for all middle grade libraries.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.