Where Will I Live? is an extremely timely nonfiction title for kindergarten to third graders about refugees fleeing their homes for safety and a better life. Readers learn how refugees travel—walk, run, ride on the backs of trucks, and trek through the desert—and where they are running to geographically and structurally, which is sometimes unknown. Will they live under a staircase, along the travelled roads, or in a tent? Even the climate makes a difference. Each question or set of questions is paired with a picture and its respective country. Refugees are not just one culture, religion, group, or ethnicity. After all of this dangerous and indeterminate traveling, McCarney ends with the notion of hope: hope that someone will welcome these children and their families into their homes, communities, neighborhoods, and countries. Hope for friends, shelter, and a better quality of life.
The first person narration humanizes the children seen in pictures, making them relatable to readers. The questions asked throughout the book emphasize the uncertainty and severity of refugee children’s situations while also demonstrating that like everyone else, they just desire basic needs such as food, shelter, and love. While the words on the page are seemingly less serious, each picture tells its own story. Simple yet packed with meaning and at times, heart-wrenching, each picture leaves a lot to be discussed and read into. Readers see a small child sleeping on the street, boys peering out from a rudimentary tent, and a boy warming his bare hands from the cold. Readers stare back at faces through a fence and watch as families struggle to traverse across the barren desert. In a time where the United States, especially, is revising and reevaluating its immigration and travel policies, Where Will I Live? addresses discrimination and intolerance head on with the innocent and beautiful faces of refugee children who need help, support, and resources. I would recommend this title for any parent looking to explain the hardships families face all over the world and how refugees are people just like everyone else; this is reason enough to show understanding, open our arms, and embrace humanity.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Second Story Press for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Where Will I Live? by Rosemary McCarney (Second Story Press, 2017)