Rosemary McCarney, author of books such as Every Day Is Malala Day and Because I Am a Girl, has a new picture book that portrays the uncertainty and the hope of refugee children. Where Will I Live? has full-page color photos of scenes from Cameroon to Slovenia, places around the world where there are refugees. Each photo captures a moment in time; it might be fleeing an armed conflict, entering a tent city, or some children playing in a camp. What unites the scenes is the presence of children in every one. They might look frightened or tired, or sometimes they might be smiling with a new friend. Their faces make a remote situation recognizable and something to which readers can relate. We've all felt tired or scared or relieved and those are commonalities that help us connect to the text.
Each of the photos is unobtrusively labeled with the location where it was taken. Beneath the photo is a short bit of text that ties the images together. "Sometimes scary things happen to good people," it begins. Then it explains why people might have to leave their homes and look for a safe place. It talks of how they reach this new place and what sort of shelter they might find. But the biggest point is saved for last, the hope that these children have for someone to say "Welcome home" at the end of their journey.
As Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations, Rosemary McCarney hears of situations like these every day. Using photos taken by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, she has created an accessible book about the topic for young readers. But it could also be used as an entry point for older readers - who could then research the situations in each of these places, plot them on a map, or try to find a service project to help the refugee populations. This would make a wonderful addition to classrooms and school libraries.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.