A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
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