Where Will I Live? by R. A. McCarney
McCarney, Rosemary A. Where Will I Live? Second Story Press, 2017.
In Where Will I Live, Rosemary McCarney uses 23 pages of images captured by a host of skilled photographers to convey the plight of the world’s refugee children. These images were provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They depict children and their families as they flee in fear, cross hostile landscapes, live in tents and makeshift shelters, and dream of hope. In them, we sense the threat of violence, but we do not see violence itself. Neither do we see death. The lines of text with which McCarney captions the photographs are brief, pointed, sometimes sobering, always thought provoking.
“But where will I live? Will it be down this road…beyond this hill…past this fence…across this sea?” [pp.7-10]
McCarney is uniquely qualified to write on the global refugee crisis. As Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Geneva office of the United Nations and its Conference on Disarmament, and Past President of Plan International, she speaks with authority on the topic. This book is evidence of her ability to convey her message to child audiences. An accomplished author, her previously published works for children include the international bestseller, Every Day is Malala Day.
The global refugee question is a grim subject; this book, however, is not grim—partly because McCarney focuses not on the miseries of the refugees’ flight, but on their hopes for the future. This she accomplishes by means of a child’s question, “Where will I live?” Looking at the images the author has arrayed, reading her words, thinking of the work to which she has dedicated her life, we may venture a guess at the answer that lies in her heart: “Our doors are open.”
Where Will I live? could be read and understood by most children in grade three. Its subject matter, however, is also completely appropriate for discussion with older students—certainly, those in grades four to six. Finally, in classes where adult students of English as a Second Language have experienced the hardships depicted in the book’s pages, it could prove very successful in prompting dialogue.
Reviewer: Leslie Aitken
Highly recommended: 4 stars out of 4
Leslie Aitken’s long career in librarianship involved selection of children’s literature for school, public, special, and university collections. She is a former Curriculum Librarian at the University of Alberta.
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