Some Places More Than Others. New from Renee Watson.
I am a fan of Watson’s work after first reading Piecing Me Together. Watson’s novel won that year’s Coretta Scott King award from the American Library Association. So I was thrilled for the chance to meet Watson and read her new novel.
Some Places More Than Others
Watson grew up in Portland, Oregon, and now lives in New York City. She uses her story to link those places for Amara, ready to turn 12. Amara has lived in Portland all her life, but longs to visit her estranged family – grandfather and cousins – who live in Harlem.
Amara’s Dad works for Nike, and Amara is a sneakerhead who has a collection of their products. But what Amara doesn’t have is a relationship with her estranged family, or any first-hand experiences in New York City. She begs to accompany her father on a business trip as she prepares to celebrate her 12th birthday.
Finally, finally, her parents consent.
As luck would have it, one of Amara’s teachers had assigned a project for students to explore subjects relating to their history, both as an individual and as a collective group. Watson uses this assignment and Amara’s trip to facilitate Amara’s twin explorations of family and African-American culture.
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 f
or us to be able to walk these streets free.
Along the way, Amara helps her father and grandfather heal from old wounds and mend their relationship.
Amara connects with her family and her heritage.
You have all of us in you, Amara. You are all of us.
Watson’s latest novel is a treasure of a story for middle grade readers and for all of us. I highly recommend it to you!