Where Will I Live?

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Where Will I Live? Book Poster Image
Moving book about child refugees brought to life by photos.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Concept of refugees. Names of countries pictured in the photos. How refugees travel, sleep. The photos provide more observable detail about refugees lives, e.g. routes they might travel, getting drinkable water, sleeping situations, clothing worn, kids at play in the camps.

Positive Messages

Refugees are "good people" who have to flee soldiers or danger to look "for a safe place to live." Refugee children have the same feelings, worries, and hopes that readers would in that situation. Refugees can be welcomed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

These kids look resilient. Though they're in very rough and unsettling circumstances, we see them also smiling and enjoying the company of their family and friends. Some carry water or belongings. Some take care of siblings. The text very directly expresses feelings.

Violence & Scariness

Pictures may be frightening or unsettling: Families fleeing homelands that have become dangerous. Families carrying their children on long treks. Families sleeping in tents, refugee camps, and other makeshift circumstances. One young boy looks frightened as he looks up at a soldier.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Where Will I Live?, by Rosemary McCarney, introduces the idea of refugees to young kids by picturing actual kids who are refugees. It's illustrated with full-page photos photos provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. McCarney is Canada's Ambassador to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The text is simple and highly accessible, asking questions the kids affected might ask, for instance "Where will I live?" Some young readers might be frightened or unsettled by the pictures of kids fleeing strife and sleeping in makeshift circumstances, but many of the photos show kids with friends or relatably at play, and the book ends with a picture of a smiling girl hoping that "someone smiles and says ‘Welcome home.' I hope that someone is you." Proceeds from the book will be donated to refugee children's programs around the world.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 9-year-old Written byEmi B. August 28, 2017

Great Conversation Starter

This book works effectively against the very real problem of dehumanizing of refugees, and it helps a child get a handle on an abstract concept by presenting it... Continue reading
Adult Written byLelouch Vi Britannia June 10, 2017


It's househunters. That's all it is, nothing more nothing less. It's just Househunters International. Nothing else to say about it.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

WHERE WILL I LIVE? introduces the concept of refugees with the text "Sometimes scary things happen to good people. When soldiers fight or danger comes, families must pack their things and search for a safe place to live." Illustrated with photos of actual child refugees, we see them and their families in transit, many walking, some on boats. They sleep in makeshift shelters or in refugee camps, but we also see them finding friends and opportunities to play and smile. Accompanying text asks simple and direct questions: "Where will I live?" "Will I find one special buddy … or lots of friends where I live?" And it ends on a hopeful note, with an image of a smiling girl anticipating being welcomed by the reader.

Is it any good?

This excellent book for introducing young kids to the plight of refugees is brought vividly alive by the photos and faces of very real children who've been affected. Where Will I Live? uses spare but very affecting text to voice the thoughts, worries, fears, and hopes of kids who are refugees. The text is simple and direct so readers can easily relate. Though there's no direct information about the current events that caused these refugees, each photo names the country where it was taken, which include Croatia, Hungary, Rwanda, Lebanon, Jordan, Slovenia, Greece, South Sudan, Kenya, Cameroon, Myanmar, and Niger.

Throughout this photo essay, the beautiful, expressive faces of the children stare frankly out at us, engaging us in their lives. And though some of the pictures are scarier, especially the one of one young boy looking frightened when blocked by a solider, the kids are often shown smiling, even playing, making it clear that they're kids like any others. A beautiful book to encourage empathy and understanding of world situations, while contributing to programs that help.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the children and families pictured in Where Will I Live?  What feelings do you think they're having? How would you feel if this happened to you?

  • Can you tell that the children are from different countries? What clues can you find in their clothing and other details? Do you know the names of the countries in the pictures?

  • What do you think will happen to these children and families? What do you hope happens?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of empathy and families leaving their homeland

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