Hot Best Seller

Some Places More Than Others

Availability: Ready to download

Newbery Honor author Renée Watson explores a family’s relationships and Harlem—its history, culture, arts, and people. All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants Newbery Honor author Renée Watson explores a family’s relationships and Harlem—its history, culture, arts, and people. All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes's home. But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family. This is a powerful story about family, the places that make us who we are, and how we find ways to connect to our history across time and distance.


Compare

Newbery Honor author Renée Watson explores a family’s relationships and Harlem—its history, culture, arts, and people. All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants Newbery Honor author Renée Watson explores a family’s relationships and Harlem—its history, culture, arts, and people. All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes's home. But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family. This is a powerful story about family, the places that make us who we are, and how we find ways to connect to our history across time and distance.

30 review for Some Places More Than Others

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Anderson

    Best middle grade novel of 2019. Filled with the joy of family, of place, of finding your roots while you spread your wings. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I don't read a lot of middle grade books, but I enjoyed Watson's contribution to the YA title, WATCH US RISE, that I really wanted to see more of her work. SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS seemed like another title that would explore identity, heritage, and growing up in a positive and interesting way, delving in deeper to serious issues rather than merely scratching at the surface as so many books aimed at teens seem to do. SOME PLACES MORE Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I don't read a lot of middle grade books, but I enjoyed Watson's contribution to the YA title, WATCH US RISE, that I really wanted to see more of her work. SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS seemed like another title that would explore identity, heritage, and growing up in a positive and interesting way, delving in deeper to serious issues rather than merely scratching at the surface as so many books aimed at teens seem to do. SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS is about a twelve-year-old black girl named Amara, who lives in Beaverton, Oregon. Her father works at Nike and her mother is pregnant with her younger sister. She has one close friend, and apart from that, isn't really interested in much besides shoes and school-- and her one birthday wish: going to New York to meet her extended family. Her father is estranged from Amara's grandfather and hasn't spoken to him for twelve years. Both of her parents are reluctant to allow the trip because of all the emotional baggage that will have to be unpacked, but Amara's incessant wheedling and her pointing out that there might not be a chance for "later" when the baby is born end up causing her parents to relent, although her mother issues a caveat that things will be awkward and that Amara should do her best to help her father and grandfather reunite-- because that's not pressure at all. Amara is really excited to be in Harlem, which is rich in black history and black cultural heritage, as well as to meet her grandfather and her two older cousins. However, apart from her grandfather, nobody is really that thrilled to see her, and the distance and tension between her grandfather and her father is worse than Amara thought. As she gathers information about New York and her family for a class project, Amara learns many important lessons about family, forgiveness, and heritage, all while trying to navigate her place in the family, and the many shapes that love can take. I actually liked this a lot. Amara can be a little annoying, but in that way that a lot of little kids can be annoying, which stems from ignorance and innocent selfishness, and not a lack of good writing. She's a fully fleshed-out character who feels like a real person, and Renee Watson did a great job writing like a kid. I also thought the rest of the family was really well-written, and I enjoyed how so many parts of this book felt like a love letter to black history and culture in New York. There are so many places and names mentioned, and I bet actually having been to New York makes those mentions even more satisfying-- I know for me, New York is on my bucket list of places I need to see; it's just risen even higher after reading this book, and seeing how awesome it is through Amara's eyes. This is a great book for kids. It's got positive rep, good values, and deals with serious issues, and it doesn't condescend to its audience at all. Kids can sense that-- especially smart kids-- and I think SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS will really resonate with its target audience. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!    4 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Bookriot Giveaway win! 3.5 Stars! Some Places More Than Others is a middle grade book so I am obviously not the target audience for this book, being as I am a 33 year old woman with no kids. Some Places More Than Others is a good book. Very simplistic but it is a middle grade book, so its perfect for the target age group. Nine or ten year old me would have loved this book. I know I would have given it 5 stars and I would have made my mom take me to the library to get the rest of Renee Watson's Bookriot Giveaway win! 3.5 Stars! Some Places More Than Others is a middle grade book so I am obviously not the target audience for this book, being as I am a 33 year old woman with no kids. Some Places More Than Others is a good book. Very simplistic but it is a middle grade book, so its perfect for the target age group. Nine or ten year old me would have loved this book. I know I would have given it 5 stars and I would have made my mom take me to the library to get the rest of Renee Watson's books. Recommended for 9- 13 year olds and their parents.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Olivia-Savannah Roach

    Some Places More Than Others is basically the middle grade book I needed in my childhood and never had. I would’ve loved it. We have a black, female main character who is learning about her family history and what it means to be herself. And it is an absolutely fantastic book. We have to start off with talking about the black representation which is done so well in this book. Not only do we get some moments with black hair, where Amara’s mother oils her hair, or when she discusses hair with her Some Places More Than Others is basically the middle grade book I needed in my childhood and never had. I would’ve loved it. We have a black, female main character who is learning about her family history and what it means to be herself. And it is an absolutely fantastic book. We have to start off with talking about the black representation which is done so well in this book. Not only do we get some moments with black hair, where Amara’s mother oils her hair, or when she discusses hair with her cousins and some hair shaming goes on… But we also get to see them eating Jamaican patties and drinking ginger beer, among other foods. We get to see a bit of church culture too. While religion is not heavy handed or very important in the book, we know they are church goers and get to see them going to different churches and laughing about pranks played when they were children in church. I liked seeing a little church culture and a lot of black culture in this book. It always makes me happy to see education being presented as something a student is involved and inspired by. A lot of the happenings in this book are inspired by a school project that Amara gets, and it prompts her to look into her family history. It makes me happy to see education being shown in such a positive light! It then goes on to develop the theme of identity. Especially as Amara is at the age where she is growing up figuring out who she is independently to her parents. This book heavily features parents and family ties. I loved seeing how included her mum and dad were throughout the whole novel. Her parents clearly love her, and while they have their own imperfections and learning to do, I love that they put Amara first. Extended family were also at the forefront of the novel, especially when it comes to living far from home and meeting them for the first time. I had this exact experience when I met my cousins from Jamaica for the first time (I’d never been before so it was like tapping into a realm of family I’d never had access to!) and it was such a good portrayal. Love, forgiveness and reconciliation are some important themes here. And the storyline of forgiveness and love was handled very well. I loved seeing New York in this novel. I’ve never felt a particular pull to visit, but now I want to go there. I had no idea that New York held so much celebration for black culture and black history. I usually see this city as a grey background to popular novels, but in this one the city comes to life through Amara’s tourist eyes. It made me feel strong, proud and I would love to learn more about some of the people mentioned who I didn’t know. I was surprised that deconstructing stereotypes surrounding gender roles was also included in this book. It was presented in a very accessible way to younger children and explained so well. I love that, because it is something that children need to learn. Another theme that was handled so well. Watson can do no wrong in this book. Lastly, I want to mention something that has no right to be in this review and I am going to include it anyway. Amara’s grandfather is very much a focus in this book. In one scene, he is with his grandchildren and teaching them about history, and hands them a dollar for their knowledge. In that moment it reminded me of something similar my own grandfather did. With the anniversary of his passing coming up he has been on my mind more and more, and it struck a chord with my emotions. This book was a true celebration of family and love to the smallest scenes, and I want to thank Watson for writing it. My younger self would’ve been overwhelmed with happiness. This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2019/1...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Colby Sharp

    Newbery alert! This one is special.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    This is an excellent story of family and friendship for modern MG readers. Nothing earth-shattering or tragic happens. It is a story about girl trying to figure out her history and family's past. She has loving parents and a great home, but like every human ever, she is searching for her place in it all and trying to discover her identity independent of them and also how she fits with them. Renée Watson does an excellent job of developing character and place as she always does.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dee Dee G

    I read this in less than a day. Nice book about family and forgiveness for middle school readers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    All Amara Baker wants for her twelfth birthday is to accompany her father, a Nike executive, on his next business trip to New York so she can get to know his side of the family better. Maybe she can even learn why her dad hasn't spoken to his dad since the day she was born, which also happened to be the day her father's mother, Grandma Grace, passed away. But Amara's mother, nearing the end of her pregnancy, is not willing to let her go. Adding to Amara's desire to know that side of her family is All Amara Baker wants for her twelfth birthday is to accompany her father, a Nike executive, on his next business trip to New York so she can get to know his side of the family better. Maybe she can even learn why her dad hasn't spoken to his dad since the day she was born, which also happened to be the day her father's mother, Grandma Grace, passed away. But Amara's mother, nearing the end of her pregnancy, is not willing to let her go. Adding to Amara's desire to know that side of her family is an assignment by her teacher called the Suitcase Project. Students are expected to create a time capsule that explores their past, present and future with items that represent who they are, where they are from and what their dreams for the future are. But just when Amara gives up hope of getting to New York, her mother changes her mind and says she can go. And maybe, just maybe, while she is there, Amara can get her dad and grandpa talking so they can mend their rift. Until arriving at her grandfather's Harlem brownstone, Amara had only spoken to Grandpa Earl, a former basketball coach, on the phone for special occasions. And although her father manages to avoid him, Grandpa Earl and Amara immediately bond. Amara is excited to see the places where her dad grew up in Harlem, and Grandpa Earl can't wait to show her his favorite places, too. No sooner does the week begin, and her dad runs into an old friend who spills the beans about her dad writing poetry in high school, something Amara didn't know about him. Over the next few days, Amara begins to learn what happened between her dad and Grandpa Earl, even as she begins to formulate how she will present the family history she is discovering on this visit, in part by snooping, in part from Grandpa Earl talking to her and in part from being taken. to iconic places in Harlem that represent so much of African American history, in a way she has never experienced it at home in Beaverton, Oregon. But Amara also spends a lot of time with her cousins, Nina, 16, and Ava, 14. She and Ava don't really get along. Sightseeing for Ava is going to H&M, not visiting the murals, statues, and other places she sees all the time. After a family visit to the cemetery where Grandma Grace is buried, the tension between Amara and Ava comes to a head when Ava refuses to "babysit" her cousin again. Angry, Amara decides to make her own way to the East Village and find a place called the Nuyorican Cafe, a place, she had discovered while snooping in her dad's old bedroom, where her dad had wanted to read his poetry on open mic night when he was in high school. But when she finds herself in the Bronx at the Yankee Stadium stop on the subway, Amara realizes she's gone the wrong way. But maybe it's the right way for past hurts and anger to finally be dealt with. Some Places More Than Others is a really well-crafted coming-of-age novel that explores who we are and how we fit into the world of family and into the wider world, past and present. For Amara, New York and her family there are a whole new world and she can't get enough of it. And everything excites her, unlike her cousins who take it all for granted, not understanding Amara's need to linger and take pictures of what she's seeing for the first time: "...I am starting to understand by Big T is always saying there's no place like New York. No place else that constantly reminds us that we are important, they we come from a people who sacrificed and fought and protested for us to be able to walk these streets free. What is it like to be reminded of this everyday?" (pgs. 102-103) Watson's message is very clear here - do not forget who you are and where you come from. I think that Amara is a well-intentioned, but flawed character who nevertheless really understands what her week in New York means for her life, as she says "I want to feel like...there's a history keeping me moving, living. Like the journey I am on has many footprints, may stories coming with me." (pg. 103) Her awakening is such a wonderful part of this story. I also felt that in Watson's hands, Harlem becomes another exciting character in Amara's identity quest. She has captured all it's beauty from the quiet reverence of the Schomburg Center to the hustle and bustle of 125th Street, and the streets named for famous African Americans - Frederick Douglas Boulevard, Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, Malcolm X Boulevard, among others. And by the time you finish this novel, you will really appreciate the title of this novel. Be sure to read Amara's poem at the end of the novel to find out what she puts in her Suitcase Project. What would you put in a Suitcase Project? This book is recommended for readers age 9+ This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    I loved this book. It's a really beautiful novel about family, history, and culture. Watson lets us into Amara's soul, where we discover how the places our hearts call home are the most important. I love Renée Watson, and I recommend this book to readers who like diverse characters and rich plots!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Amara lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her mother, who is a fashion designer and runs a boutique, and her father, who is an executive for Nike and travels a lot. He also gets good deals on the latest shoes, which is great for Amara, who is a bit of a sneakerhead. She doesn't appreciate her mother's clothing, preferring a more casual style. She knows that her father and grandfather, who lives in Harlem, NYC, don't talk much, but she really wants to visit the city E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Amara lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her mother, who is a fashion designer and runs a boutique, and her father, who is an executive for Nike and travels a lot. He also gets good deals on the latest shoes, which is great for Amara, who is a bit of a sneakerhead. She doesn't appreciate her mother's clothing, preferring a more casual style. She knows that her father and grandfather, who lives in Harlem, NYC, don't talk much, but she really wants to visit the city and see something besides Oregon. Her mother is expecting a baby, after a lot of disappointments, and Amara is determined to visit before the baby comes. Eventually, her parents decide she can go as a birthday present. She is thrilled to visit her grandfather's brownstone, and enjoys traveling around the city with her slightly older cousins, who are not thrilled to have to "babysit" her. She soaks up the Black culture and takes lots of pictures for her school project, a "suitcase" of memories and family stories. There are some mishaps, like when she tries to find the Nuyorican cafe where her father read his poems, but she has a good visit connecting with her family and learning about its history. Strengths: Family issues, such as the one that Amara's father and grandfather have (grandfather was a coach for the Knicks; father wrote poetry that wasn't appreciated) are not covered as much in middle grade literature as are more traumatic events, so this was interesting to see. My students will be thrilled to see middle class, suburban African Americans; while this is more common now, a large percantage of books with African American characters are set in the inner city, and my students want to see themselves reflected in books occasionally. Amara's grandmother died the day she was born, and this is also realistic. The big seller for this book is the description of New York City and the inclusion of so much Black history. Weaknesses: A bit slow. I wish that Amara hadn't had to argue for so long with her parents, and that the book jumped into the New York trip more quickly. What I really think:Watson is a popular author in my library (students particularly like This Side of Home), so I will purchase this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Amara wants nothing more than to go to New York City with her dad for her 12th birthday. She's hoping to meet her family there and get to know the places where her father grew up. But, Amara's mom isn't keen on her daughter going. A school assignment, wherein Amara is asked to build a suitcase that gives insight into her heritage and family history, might be the catalyst to make it happen. It's not, as Amara's mother relents outside the assignment, but the assignment makes an opportunity for Amara wants nothing more than to go to New York City with her dad for her 12th birthday. She's hoping to meet her family there and get to know the places where her father grew up. But, Amara's mom isn't keen on her daughter going. A school assignment, wherein Amara is asked to build a suitcase that gives insight into her heritage and family history, might be the catalyst to make it happen. It's not, as Amara's mother relents outside the assignment, but the assignment makes an opportunity for Amara to really learn and connect with her New York City family and heritage. This is a book about family. Amara's father hasn't talked with his father since she was born, and Amara promises her mother that she'll see to her dad and grandfather communicating again. Why they had a falling out has never been explained to Amara, but it will become clear when they're in the city. In addition to being a story about family, this is a love letter to Harlem. It's a love letter to the history of art, writing, and creativity in the Black community, not only as it relates to Amara and her family, but also to Harlem more broadly. There are, of course, wonderfully 12-year-old mishaps (Amara decides she wants to go on a trip herself without telling anyone, gets on the wrong train and finds her phone battery dead, but eventually finds her way back home). I loved, too, how Amara got to meet her cousins and see how they interacted as sisters, as she herself is about to be a big sister. There's a nice thread here, too, about privilege. Amara comes from a stable family -- upper middle class -- and seeing how her cousins live in a tiny apartment and without two parents working (their father is in jail) raises her awareness of being part of the "haves." Watson really nails voice and this middle grade book is no difference.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an eARC of this book. Wow. I'm really blown away by how much story is packed into a little over 200 pages. This is the kind of book I want to see more of in #mglit, but it takes a very talented author to do it as well as Renee Watson has in SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS. I've heard a number of people say that we need more stories that focus on the lives of Black characters that aren't rooted in slavery, pain, and stereotypes. This is the story of a young Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an eARC of this book. Wow. I'm really blown away by how much story is packed into a little over 200 pages. This is the kind of book I want to see more of in #mglit, but it takes a very talented author to do it as well as Renee Watson has in SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS. I've heard a number of people say that we need more stories that focus on the lives of Black characters that aren't rooted in slavery, pain, and stereotypes. This is the story of a young girl who wants to know where she came from, where her dad came from, where her family is from and how she fits into it. It takes us to Harlem where he meets her grandfather and cousins in person for the first time, and she experiences New York with the intention of learning about her history. It's powerful without being heavy, and addresses so much about family, history and culture. I'd love to see a sequel and watch the development of these new relationships. Highly recommended, and one of the most unique and important books I've read this year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Afoma Umesi

    I ADORED THIS BOOK. I shamelessly confess to tearing up many times in the second half and yearning to know my own family’s history as Amara learned hers. The need for that connection is summed up in this quote: "I want to feel like that. Like I am connected to something, like there’s a history keeping me moving, living. Like the journey I am on has many footprints, many stories coming with me (pp. 103-104)." Renée Watson’s Some Places More Than Others is a quiet, immersive, and resonant novel that I ADORED THIS BOOK. I shamelessly confess to tearing up many times in the second half and yearning to know my own family’s history as Amara learned hers. The need for that connection is summed up in this quote: "I want to feel like that. Like I am connected to something, like there’s a history keeping me moving, living. Like the journey I am on has many footprints, many stories coming with me (pp. 103-104)." Renée Watson’s Some Places More Than Others is a quiet, immersive, and resonant novel that encourages us to listen to more stories about our families. This novel inspires forgiveness, yearning for our history, and the need to maintain family (and chosen family) bonds. Most importantly, Watson’s recent release is a love letter to the city of New York! Read my full review on my blog.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richelle Robinson

    "Shelly's Book Corner received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.'' This was a well written coming of age story. Amara visits the best place ever aka New York City and learns all about herself and family. This story took me on a trip down memory lane as I lived in the Bronx when I was younger and remember the 4 train fondly. I also want to visit the Schomburg Center after reading this "Shelly's Book Corner received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.'' This was a well written coming of age story. Amara visits the best place ever aka New York City and learns all about herself and family. This story took me on a trip down memory lane as I lived in the Bronx when I was younger and remember the 4 train fondly. I also want to visit the Schomburg Center after reading this story. This story is geared towards kids but I think adults will be able to appreciate this story as well. This was my first time reading Renee Watson and it was a very nice read and I would recommend this story to people of all ages.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Camryn

    My only complaint is I wish this had been longer! I already tweeted this, but: Renee Watson books literally nourish my soul and I’m so glad they exist for Black kids everywhere to feel that love and strength for our people and culture and our stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Guice

    Really great book! Wonderful family story of love and forgiveness...can span grade levels.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    A really great read. #ownvoices #weneeddiversebooks Authentic and affecting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    I feel like I can just give any Renee Watson book 5 stars before I even start it. I love her writing and story telling so much. This book is middle grade, but perfect for anyone to read. Amara is getting ready to turn twelve years old. All she wants is to go see her family in Harlem. She's never met her grandpa or cousins. Only her aunt has visited in Oregon. Amara's mom is pregnant and doesn't like New York. Her father who works for Nike is always going on business trips. He grew up in Harlem, I feel like I can just give any Renee Watson book 5 stars before I even start it.  I love her writing and story telling so much.  This book is middle grade, but perfect for anyone to read.   Amara is getting ready to turn twelve years old.  All she wants is to go see her family in Harlem.  She's never met her grandpa or cousins.  Only her aunt has visited in Oregon.  Amara's mom is pregnant and doesn't like New York.  Her father who works for Nike is always going on business trips.  He grew up in Harlem, but hasn't spoken to his father in twelve years.  Amara's mom is against the trip even though her dad is going to New York for work anyway.  She then gets a school assignment to make a suitcase filled with what makes her, her history and interviews, etc.  This is the perfect chance and now that she knows her dad and grandpa haven't talked, Amara is determined to help their relationship. Amara's mom finally gives in and she goes with her dad to Harlem.  They are staying in his old house, but he stays away most of the time with work.  Amara wants to see everything she can in New York, but also wants to learn her family's history and the history of Harlem.  She gets stuck with her two cousins often, but they don't care about the history.  They don't understand why Amara wants to take pictures of the things they see every day.  She starts spending time with her grandpa who fills her in on a lot of the past.  Amara also finds out that her grandpa wanted her father to be someone he's not.  That stood out to her because her mom is always pushing her to wear dresses and she hates them.   There is a lot of history in the book that I loved reading about.  Harlem sounds like an incredible place full of history, ancestry, and family values.  I loved reading about how Amara really began to understand her roots and that she actually appreciated everything.  While she was mature for her age, she does get in over her head.    "We pose in front of Harriet Tubman, and I am starting to understand why Big T is always saying there's no place like New York.  No place else that constantly reminds us that we are important, that we come from a people who sacrificed and fought and protested for us to be able to walk these streets free.  What is it like to be reminded of this every day?"   "Just the idea that people like Harriet Tubman, Adam Clayton Powell, and Langston Hughes were thinking that one day someone like me would exist in a free world makes my heart pound, my eyes water."  Warnings for miscarriage and fertility issues.  The book has some tough topics at times, but they're all handled so well (the fallout from the family, thinking a boy needs to play sports, etc.)  There is also the death of Amara's grandma that is talked about.  As usual, kids say some stupid and mean things, but nothing horrible.  Mostly jealousy.  *quotes taken from advanced copy and may change before final publication* I gave this book 5 stars.  Thank you to Bloomsbury Kids for sending me a copy for review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    Amara grew up outside of Portland, Oregon, which she does love, but she's always been so curious about her dad's hometown of New York, specifically Harlem. After pestering and bothering her parents about this, they finally agree she can accompany her father on a business trip to the city, when she's assigned a project at school about family and where she comes from. This way she can finally meet her grandfather and cousins. Along the way she discovers her father and his father haven't spoken Amara grew up outside of Portland, Oregon, which she does love, but she's always been so curious about her dad's hometown of New York, specifically Harlem. After pestering and bothering her parents about this, they finally agree she can accompany her father on a business trip to the city, when she's assigned a project at school about family and where she comes from. This way she can finally meet her grandfather and cousins. Along the way she discovers her father and his father haven't spoken since she was born. And she's horrified to learn her grandmother died the same day that she was born. Once in Harlem, her cousins don't turn out to be perfect, and she doesn't understand the city. She does go to see some things she really wants, like The Apollo, and also some more off-the-beaten path attractions like the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She does get to know her family better, and if she plays her cards right, she might even get her dad and grandfather talking again. She learns a lot about herself, her family's history, and where she comes from both geographically and metaphorically. I think the thing I liked the most about this book, is that through Amara's eyes, it will encourage kids to see, perhaps for the first time, that their parents are humans, who once were kids, who might have difficult relationships with their own parents. Kids often idealize and dehumanize their parents into perfect automatons of parenthood, instead of seeing them as flawed, 3-dimensional people. This isn't a front-and-center issue and it's something only adults can appreciate, but I do think it's important, especially today. It was easy to read, compelling, and filled to the brim with new experiences for Amara. She even has a first-time experience of getting into a fight with her cousin and being accused--as a black girl by another black girl--of being privileged. Which she is, although she's never seen her life that way. This is a multilayered book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    This is a wonderful coming of age story about a young girl who is exploring her roots (both her family and her race). Amara is Black and lives in Portland, Oregon with her mother and father. Amara is a sneakerhead; luckily her father works for Nike and she gets new shoes on a regular basis. Amara's life is about to change; she has a new sister on the way. She's afraid of being displaced by this new baby and struggling with the fact that she doesn't know her extended family very well. A school This is a wonderful coming of age story about a young girl who is exploring her roots (both her family and her race). Amara is Black and lives in Portland, Oregon with her mother and father. Amara is a sneakerhead; luckily her father works for Nike and she gets new shoes on a regular basis. Amara's life is about to change; she has a new sister on the way. She's afraid of being displaced by this new baby and struggling with the fact that she doesn't know her extended family very well. A school project about family heritage and her twelfth birthday cause her parents to allow her to finally visit Harlem with her father to meet her grandfather for the first time...whom her father hasn't spoken to for 12 years. Secrets will out and Amara will discover who she is in relation to her family. This beautiful, moving exploration of identity captivated me; I read it in one sitting! Out 9/3/19! Perfect for all elementary and middle school libraries. Grades 4+. 4.5/5

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I ended up loving this book! It took me a little bit, but I really fell in love once Amara visited New York. I loved watching her meet her extended family and start to understand where her . dad came from. I think Watson did an excellent job bringing up the concept of establishing your own identity as a young adult and how that can conflict with your parents' identities. Although short, I think this book has a lot to discuss and would be a great conversation starter for my 6th graders.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS by Renée Watson was one of my favorite reads this year. I felt like I was with Amara on every step of her trip to NYC. I loved getting a peak into her family and the rivers and roots that made up her life. Being with her made me want to find out more about what's in my suitcase. My students are going to relate to Amara's story and journey to find out more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This is a slow, quiet book with tons of heart that made me misty eyed more than once toward the end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book makes me want to explore my own family roots.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chalida

    Watson captures young people's need to know their roots and where they come from no matter how much their parents may want to shield them from this truth because of their own baggage. While this book has a kind of perfect middle school ending, the underlying truth is there for everyone but especially young folks of color. The beauty of Harlem and NYC and Black Joy is preserved in this book and my favorite part, the teacher-y part is the poetry. Son to Mother and the Suitcase poems have Linda Watson captures young people's need to know their roots and where they come from no matter how much their parents may want to shield them from this truth because of their own baggage. While this book has a kind of perfect middle school ending, the underlying truth is there for everyone but especially young folks of color. The beauty of Harlem and NYC and Black Joy is preserved in this book and my favorite part, the teacher-y part is the poetry. Son to Mother and the Suitcase poems have Linda Christensen's teaching written all over them and they are beautiful. Son to Mother is especially beautiful. These will be used with my students very soon.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephany Pachowka

    Some Places More Than Others follows a young girl from Oregon to Harlem. There she explores the city, the past and present of her family, and her roots. “Everything and everyone has a story, a beginning.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    I am a Renée Watson fan, so I was ecstatic when NetGalley approved my request to review this book. It will be released September 3, 2019. Preorder a copy or two for your library. Amara is the only child in her middle class urban family. Her mother is expecting a new baby, but since there have been numerous miscarriages, Amara reists getting excited about it. She has solid friendships and is mostly happy to be where she is. Her mother is happy to live in Colorado, and could care less about I am a Renée Watson fan, so I was ecstatic when NetGalley approved my request to review this book. It will be released September 3, 2019. Preorder a copy or two for your library. Amara is the only child in her middle class urban family. Her mother is expecting a new baby, but since there have been numerous miscarriages, Amara reists getting excited about it. She has solid friendships and is mostly happy to be where she is. Her mother is happy to live in Colorado, and could care less about returning to New York where she met Amara’s father. Amara has never met her father’s family although she talks to her grandfather on the phone regularly. When her father, who works for Nike, is set to go to New York on a business trip, she announces that she wants to go and meet his family as a 12th birthday present. Her mothers adamantly refuses. When the visit is combined with a family history school project, her mother relents with the proviso that Amara leave her father and grandfather alone so they can mend their fences. Once in New York, Amara is immersed in a city rich with black culture, art, history and people. As much as her grandfather wants his grandchildren to connect, there is tension between the cousins because they don’t want to have to ‘babysit’ Amara while she is visiting. This culminates in Amara taking off on her own to explore New York. The schism between her father and grandfather stems from different understandings about what it means to be a man. Her grandfather was a coach who thought boys should be into sports while her father was a writer of poetry. They haven’t spoken since her grandmother’s funeral. Renée Watson writes powerful characters, puts them into realistic situations, and delivers authentic responses. All readers will end up attached to these individuals and wanting the best for them. I appreciate that she shows us successful families inside and outside Harlem, all the while connecting them through similar experiences and history. I especially appreciated this book because as a white reader of primarily children's fiction, I am mostly exposed to black families in inner cities or the American South living under difficult situations. I am thankful for this opportunity to extend my understanding of what it means to be black in American today.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Family can be so complicated and this story meets it head on.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    It’s rare to read a book with so few pages that can tackle very difficult topics and yet leave the reader feeling such resolve. Watson did just that in Some Places More than Others. Amara lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her mother and father. She’s an only child and has watched her mom go through multiple miscarriages. Her mom is finally pregnant again with a little girl and Amara doesn’t quite know how she feels about this pregnancy since she’s long past hoping for a sibling. Amara’s dad grew up It’s rare to read a book with so few pages that can tackle very difficult topics and yet leave the reader feeling such resolve. Watson did just that in Some Places More than Others. Amara lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her mother and father. She’s an only child and has watched her mom go through multiple miscarriages. Her mom is finally pregnant again with a little girl and Amara doesn’t quite know how she feels about this pregnancy since she’s long past hoping for a sibling. Amara’s dad grew up in Harlem where her grandfather and cousins all still live. And over the course of the book, she discovers that her father and grandfather haven’t spoken since the day Amara was born. As luck would have it, Amara’s class is doing a suitcase project where she must look at her family and include all sorts of important pieces (pictures, poems, small items, etc.) that help define where she comes from. So for her 12th birthday, she asks to go to New York, tour the area, and get to know her family roots. However, she has NO idea how her experiences will change her life and outlook forever. The characters in this story are so realistic and relatable. I personally hurt through Amara’s recognition of the broken relationship, knowing what it feels like to be a child witnessing confusing conflict between the ones we love. Additionally, rarely is miscarriage discussed from a child’s point of view. But Watson’s examination was so eloquent — showcasing the confusion and evident pain through young eyes. I also appreciated the bits and pieces of black history weaved into the heart of the story — I was reminded of important events and even learned about new ones. Oh my, I heartily recommend this one for both middle grade and young adult libraries. Thanks to NetGallery and Bloomsbury for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Mcavoy

    4 1/2 stars. Amara is an only child, raised by two loving parents in Portland Oregon where her dad is a shoe designer for Nike. While she talks on the phone with her Dad's extended family, who live in Harlem, she has never met them and longs to see where her dad is from. Two forces drive Amara to set her heart on joining her dad on a business trip to New York: Her family is expecting a new baby sister and her inspired homeroom teacher has assigned a yearlong 'suitcase project' on identity. All 4 1/2 stars. Amara is an only child, raised by two loving parents in Portland Oregon where her dad is a shoe designer for Nike. While she talks on the phone with her Dad's extended family, who live in Harlem, she has never met them and longs to see where her dad is from. Two forces drive Amara to set her heart on joining her dad on a business trip to New York: Her family is expecting a new baby sister and her inspired homeroom teacher has assigned a yearlong 'suitcase project' on identity. All the uncertainty of a major familial shift combines with Amara's discovery that her dad hasn't talked to his own father since the day she was born. Is it because of her or the terrible coincidence of her Grandmother's death on the same day? The push to explore the heritage and history that shape identity is a great one for 5th and 6th graders. It can tie into their own awareness of how much is about to change. It seems especially resonant for kids on the west coast, many of whom live far from their familial roots. (1/3 of people in San Francisco were born in another country, 1/3 were born in another state.) One chapter into the ebook copy I was reading I knew I was going to steal 'suitcase project' ideas for the 5th graders I teach. Imagine my insane delight when at a fabulous SFPL lecture and book signing with Renee Watson she pointed out there is an entire template of 'suitcase project' suggestions, resources and ideas at the back of the book. I may never be so lucky again. What prevents the book from being a full 5 stars is it doesn't feel quite as real and fully dimensional as Watson's Piecing Me Together. Like that novel this one is a character study, rather than a page turner. Amara and her family were strong characters, but never fully came alive for me. And while I loved the references to Harlem Renaissance greats (we do a major 5th grade project on the period) it did make the book feel vaguely didactic. It is absolutely a very fine book and one I will recommend widely, but it is not a book that will convert the disinclined.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.