Cover image for Where in the world
Where in the world
French, Simon, 1957-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Atlanta, GA : Peachtree Publishers, 2003.
Physical Description:
174 pages ; 22 cm
When Ari and his mother leave their home in Germany for a new life and family in Australia, he parts from the grandfather who taught him to play violin, but finds that his music and memories are intertwined.
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 6.0 75303.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.3 10 Quiz: 34443 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this emotionally charged story, Ari, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary gift for music, must adjust to his family's move from their home in Germany to Australia and struggles to find his place in the world.

Author Notes

Simon French was born and raised in Australia. He wrote his first novel while still in high school. He has written several novels and picture books, published in Australia and overseas. His work is praised by critics and has won several awards, including the 1987 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for All We Know. Change the Locks was an Honour Book in 1992. His most recent novel, Where in the World, won the 2003 NSW Premier¿s Literary Award for Children¿s Literature, and was shortlisted for the 2003 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, long listed for the 2003 Guardian Children¿s Fiction Prize and nominated to the IBBY Honour List in 2004.

In 2015 his title Other Brother was one of four books by Australian authors selected for the United States Board of Books for Young People (USBBY) list of Outstanding International Books for children and young adults.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Australian author French's (All We Know) sensitively observed novel offers up quiet notes of joy while conveying the pain of a fatherless child. Narrator Ari and his mother have moved from Germany to Australia, where his mother owns a small caf?. Ari was three when his father died, and now struggles between yearning for memories of his father ("My dad lived in a small photo," he states) and acceptance of his stepfather, a good man who loves him and allows him his personal space. Two things bring Ari joy-his music, a force that emerges on the page as Ari shifts from player to fledgling composer, and his beloved Opa (grandfather), who is also his mentor and teacher. Opa's death plunges Ari into a dark, anguished period of questioning his love for music. The narrative oscillates between Ari's recollections of traveling throughout Europe with his mother at ages six and eight, and different points in Ari's life in Australia, where Ari gradually learns to share his music with those around him. The understated prose sets off the thunderousness of the emotions, and French, who avoids tear- jerking, wins readers fair and square with a tender approach-as well as a protagonist who grows immensely. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.