Book Review: Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson.

Another book I have devoured this week is 'Some Places More Than Others.' I read it in a day. It's a middle grade book by Renée Watson and it is a beautiful read. I fondly remember books that I read growing up and books that were read to me at school, but while I can spend ours perusing bookshops for the perfect picture book, I never thought to see what's out there now for kids/teenagers. Like I said on Monday though, if I want to write them, I have to read them and I'm so glad I am, because the ones I'm finding are just wonderful!

The Blurb.

From New York Times bestselling and multi award-winning author Renée 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?

My Review.

The fact that this book is dedicated to Renée Watson's grandparents made it extra special to me, because I understand that bond and that love, that is like no other. The fact that Renée so beautifully created a world of fiction that depicts that love so well is awe-inspiring to me. I could feel it from every page and it completely stole my heart. Honest to goodness, Amara's want to learn more about her family's history and to visit where her Dad grew up and meet her Grandpa made my heart so full. I want kids to be reading stories like this. Stories that show just how magical a good, thoughtful book can be. 

As I sit in my house that is full of pictures and sentimental items from my own Nanna and Grandad's house (some I 'stole' from under their watchful, loving eyes, others I have gained in the past few months.) I'm reminded of all the stories I've sat and listened to and all of the places I've been that have been links to my past and my family's history. As Amara discovered her own stories and found things for her school project - which was such a fantastic idea that I want to do my own just because - I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll have to read it to find out. (No spoilers!) I felt so fortunate to have had the opportunity to find out so much about my family and to have had my Nanna and Grandad for as long as I did. They truly were and still are so special to me and played an enormous part in who I am today. 

I loved the history lessons Amara got while in New York and how each neighbourhood or street gave her an insight into her past and the people who had come before her. As someone who works with children, it really opened my eyes to the importance of teaching children about black culture and including it in schools as part of the curriculum. It really is terrible that we don't, especially when we have children, like Amara, who should be able to learn about the people who helped change the world and to also see people that they can relate to. We found which is a great site for reading up on and learning about what you can do to help change what we teach in school. 

'Some Places More Than Others,' is a delightful, brilliantly written, heart-warming, page turner that I know I'm going to keep on my shelf to read to my future kids. I already gave it to my sister to read, because it really does pull at your heartstrings and I know she'll feel the love too. It's not like we need reminding - we think about Nanna and Grandad every day - but it's lovely to read someone else's words that touch on a love that we feel too, even when we no longer have the people here with us. 

Happy Reading!


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