Some places more than others

Renée Watson

Book - 2019

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.--

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Bookmobile Children's Show me where

jFICTION/Watson, Renee
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Children's Room Show me where

jFICTION/Watson Renee
2 / 2 copies available
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New York : Bloomsbury Children's Books 2019.
Physical Description
194 pages ; 20 cm
Main Author
Renée Watson (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

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. Grades 5-7. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When "sneaker-head" Amara Baker expresses a wish to visit her father's childhood home in Harlem for her upcoming 12th birthday, her mother, eight months pregnant with a baby sister Amara is less than thrilled about, isn't too keen on the idea. But when her humanities teacher assigns a project requiring Amara to delve into her family history, her father agrees to take her to visit his family, including Grandpa Earl, with whom her dad hasn't spoken in 12 years. New York City is far more intense than small-town Beaverton, Ore., where Amara's from, yet the more of Harlem Amara sees, the more she begins to love the neighborhood for the wealth of African-American history it represents. And she begins to cherish the relatives that her father, a poet turned Nike executive, left behind, including his own father, a former basketball coach who once held a limited view of masculinity. Watson (Piecing Me Together) composes a quiet, emotive story of finding home in a new place and finding family among new people. Watson's Harlem comes alive on the page, lovingly viewed by flawed but lovable characters whose story underscores themes of family, history, and forgiveness. Age 8–12. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

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 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Looking forward to meeting her extended family for the first time during a visit to her father’s childhood brownstone in Harlem, Amara is dismayed by family estrangements and revelations about her father’s early years before discovering new ways to connect with her heritage. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Renée Watson comes a heartwarming and inspiring novel for middle schoolers about finding deep roots and exploring the past, the present, and the places that make us who we are.All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City--Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family--and herself--in new way.But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.Acclaim for Piecing Me TogetherNewbery Honor BookCoretta Scott King Author AwardLos Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult FinalistA New York Public Library Best Book for TeensA Chicago Public Library Best Book, Teen FictionAn ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young AdultsAn NPR Best BookA Kirkus Reviews’ Best Teen BookA Refinery29 Best Book