Finished Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“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.”
Renee Watson has a 100% success rate with me. I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers (and I’ve read everything except her picture books) and I think this one is my favorite yet.
Amara is meeting most of her dad’s family for the first time. She’s met her aunt, but not her cousins or grandfather. (It turns out that her dad and grandpa haven’t really spoken in years, and she doesn’t know why.)
That’s probably overwhelming enough but they live in New York City (specifically Harlem) and Amara’s never been there before. (His dad is from New York but moved back to Oregon, where Amara’s mom is from.) Combine the two, and this vacation is A LOT for Amara.
I love this book so much. It’s all about history but it’s both the history of Amara’s family and of Black people in general. It’s fascinating and it doesn’t read like a lecture. (It makes me want to visit all the places mentioned in here the next time I go to New York and I definitely want to try those beef patties. They sound like perfection.)
If you haven’t read Renee Watson, this is a great place to start—but there’s no bad place to start, either. Highly recommended.