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Some Places More Than Others

As with all good stories, this book can be enjoyed by all ages. It is a fantastic book to share and discuss either with a child or a classroom of children. It is set in America, in Oregon and New York, and instinctively rather than overtly, looks at the heroes of the local black people who settled around Harlem. Because the story is narrated by a young girl, we see the new places through her eyes, and her questions echo our own.

Amara is the much- loved daughter of Leslie, who is expecting her second child. This pregnancy has progressed where others have failed, so everyone is rather anxious for her health. Charles, Amara’s father, works for Nike and has to travel often. He is going to New York for meetings and his daughter wants to go with him. Her grandfather lives there and the girl wants to meet her extended family. Both her mother and father are adamant that she shouldn’t go, but, as it is her birthday and she presents some powerful arguments, they relent. Before she leaves, her mother tells her that her father hasn’t spoken to his father for a long time.

Some of the strands that make this story so rich are the musings that Amara has about people. Her cousins take her to see some of the statues in New York. She sees statues of men and women of great courage and conviction who have made the way easier for the people who followed. These were those who fought for equal pay and working conditions for all. Along with the stark contrast between New York and Oregon, she finds that the highlights of both places vary enormously. The mountains, waterfalls and open spaces of Oregon, couldn’t be more different from the crowded, colourful streets of New York.

Amara is aware that she has a homework assignment to fulfil, and decides to set it around her extended family about whom she knows little. It seems that she is very like her much loved grandmother and has prompted conversations between family members. Gradually, she discovers that the animosity between her grandfather and father, is to do with family expectations, and her questions and observations seem to reduce this enmity. Time has passed and people have moved on and forgiveness is seen as the best move forward for all to have a rich and happy life.

This is an easy flowing story with characters who are individuals with strengths and weaknesses. A pleasure to read.

Author Renee Watson
Publisher Bloomsbury Childrens Books
ISBN 9781681191089
Distributor Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Released September 2019