Some Places More Than Others

by Renée Watson

A visit to New York City is exactly what Amara wanted for her 12th birthday. She’s... read more

A visit to New York City is exactly what Amara wanted for her 12th birthday. She’s seeing Harlem, where her dad grew up; staying with Grandpa Earl; and getting to know her cousins, who are showing her around—although not always willingly. Her mom, eight months pregnant and unable to make the trip from their home in Beaverton, Oregon, has also charged Amara with getting Grandpa Earl and Amara’s dad talking—there’s been a rift between them for 12 years. The discovery that her dad, working his dream job for Nike, was a bookish kid like Amara, and used to write and perform poetry, while Grandpa Earl, a former basketball coach, pushed him to be more athletic, makes Amara think about her own relationship with her mom—it sometimes feels like they have so little in common. Seeing the same is true of her dad and grandpa is both unsettling and reassuring, especially after the distance between the two finally begins to close. As African American Amara explores both family history and the history of Harlem—a vibrantly realized setting in the novel—she discovers a lasting legacy of love. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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