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Books for children

- Emmet Arrigan

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury, €8.70)

This is a search for identity by black girl Amara who lives in Oregon with her largely pregnant mother and highflying executive father. Amara dreams of visiting her grandfathe­r in New York, the same man who has been estranged from her father for 12 l ong years. She finally breaks down her parents’ objections to going, though it will be in the company of her father in what could be a highly emotional trip. Amara is delighted to experience Harlem though her cousin Ava takes an instant dislike to her. The trip is also a chance for Amara to do her school project which is to create a time capsule that details the student’s past, present and future containing items representi­ng who they are and where they are from.

An old friend of her father’s spills the beans on what he was like as a student — passionate about poetry and even penning some verses himself. Amara is fascinated but soon discovers how the rift between father and son originated, and to her dismay, realises there is a similar rift in her own immediate family. She does come to appreciate the importance of Harlem as the epicentre of black culture and history where street names honour the characters who shaped American history. She does have a struggle on her hands to sort out the tensions between herself and her cousins who have been immersed in black culture all their lives. A valuable insight into black culture in America. Suitable for age nine and up. Fantastica­lly Great Women Who Saved The Planet by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury, €8.70) Wangari Mathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and despite government opposition organised women to plant 51 million trees thus reversing the evils of deforestat­ion. Edith Farkas discovered the ozone layer was dramatical­ly thinning over the Antarctic; studies of the dangers of meteorite impacts by Ursula Marvin are vital to the survival of the planet. Kate Pankhurst has paid tribute to the many unsung women. Suitable for age nine and up.

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