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Where in the World Hardcover – October 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-An unusual and gripping coming-of-age story. Ari Huber, 11, and his mother have moved from Germany to Australia, where she runs a caf‚ with his new stepfather. Through flashbacks of a train trip across Europe when he was six and a visit to Australia at age eight, French explores the child's closeness with his mother and grandfather and the events that led to the move. The flashbacks; one-sided phone conversations; e-mails; and well-translated, conversational German add depth to the story and build connections between Ari's present and past. His talent as a violinist plays a major part in the novel, as he uses his music to come to terms with the death of his barely remembered father and beloved grandfather, but French's themes move beyond the world of music with a realistic picture of a boy deciding whether to stand out from the crowd. His single mother's struggles add an unusually realistic picture of the role of adults in a child's life. While he seems quite mature for his age, his concerns are timeless and permit this deceptively simple story to retain a strong appeal for a somewhat older audience. This well-constructed novel challenges readers to think about their own families, talents, and "where in the world" they might be.
Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Winner of Australia's 2003 Patricia Wrightson Award, this is one of the few novels for the age group that handles the topic of music with a musician's sensibility. Ari and his mother have moved from Germany to settle near Sydney; a silver-framed photograph is the only concrete reminder Ari has of his father, who died when Ari was three. Struggling to fit in at a new school, speak a new language, and adjust to his stepfather, Ari doesn't let anyone at school know he plays the violin, for fear of seeming weird. Most of all, he misses his grandfather, the source of his musical inspiration. Through a fluid blend of recollections and support from the adults around him, Ari finds a way to reconnect with his father and overcome the shyness and sadness that keep him from performing on stage at the family cafe. The lyrical writing style suits the theme of musical improvisation in a story that's poignant without being overly sentimental. Louise Brueggeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Jr (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561452920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561452927
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,460,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Lynn Walsh on April 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book a lot. The writing style is almost musical in places - which is quite appropriate, given one of the themes of the book, musicianship. It is a quiet book, in that there are no major conflicts that occur in the time of the book, but nevertheless it has plenty of substance. The relationships between all of the characters are very well drawn and you can feel respect they have for each other. I would love to spend an evening at the cafe, eating and listening to the music.
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