Wherever I Go by Mary Wagley Copp, illustrated by Munir D. Mohammed. Atheneum, 2020. 9781534419193
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Abia has lived at the Shimelba Refugee Camp in Ethiopia for almost her entire life. And she is its queen! When she goes for water at the pump, she is the queen of balance. When she pounds the cassava for the food, she is the strongest. When she howls back at the hyenas in the surrounding hills, she is queen of the hills. But when she gets ready for bed in her family’s tent, she is a child, and she listens to her mama tell her the story of the family’s flight from their home country, and how they became refugees. She finishes her story by recounting her airplane trip to the U.S. and how she has a new home and new friends. But, she is still a queen.
Perfectly suited to a child’s ability to understand migration, this wonderful story is the story of many of the thousands of people at that Ethiopian refugee camp and others like it around the world. The author has worked for many years in refugee resettlement and is able to paint a warmly sympathetic and authentic portrait of a child refugee. The artist is a native of Ghana, and his acrylic art is like a serious of beautiful paintings documenting life as a refugee. Although this story is fictional, important information in an author’s note expands on life in a refugee camp, and there resources listed for different age groups.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? A great purchase for most children’s collections, appropriate for ages 6-9.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: December 31, 2020