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Some Places More Than Others

From New York Times bestselling and multi award-winning author Renee Watson comes a heartwarming and inspiring middle grade novel about finding deep roots and exploring the past, the present, and the places that make us who we are.

‘Some of the places I am still getting to know, some of these places I have known all my life. All of these places made me, are making me.’ All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City – Harlem. 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 a new way. But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s noisy, crowded, confusing, and her cousins can be mean. Plus her father is too busy working to spend time with her and too angry to fix his relationship with Grandpa Earl. Amara can’t help wondering, even if she does discover more about where she came from, will it help her know where she belongs?

Our Review Panel says...

New York Times bestselling author Renée Watson brings a heart-warming story about discovering the places that make us who we are.

Amara is 12 and lives in Oregon. She longs to visit New York so that she can find out about her heritage and see where her Dad grew up. Her Mum doesn’t have any family left, her Dad doesn’t talk about his, and with a new sibling on the way Amara is feeling a bit lost. She eventually persuades her Mum and Dad to take her to New York for her birthday and she is incredibly excited to meet her Grandpa Earl and her two cousins.

However, New York is busier than she imagined, Dad and Grandpa Earl are not talking to each other, and one of her cousins is not particularly welcoming. Dad spends most of the time working which makes it hard for her to work on the secret mission her Mum has given her: to bring her Dad and Grandpa Earl back together.

Things start to look up when Grandpa Earl arranges for Amara’s cousins Nina and Ava to take her sightseeing. While Nina is happy to show her around, Ava can’t understand why she is so fascinated by New York and rushes her past everything. Can Amara discover more about her heritage and bring her family back together?

I absolutely loved reading this heart-warming book, with its fascinating themes of identity, belonging, black culture and family running through the plot. It would make a brilliant class reader in a Year 5 or 6 class as it raises many discussion points throughout, such as how Amara’s family treat her, how Amara behaves when she is in New York, the value of cultural heritage and the importance of family.

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Some Places More than Others: Teachers' Notes

A teaching resource provided by the publisher featuring extracts from the text and corresponding discussion questions and activities.

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