Of all her friends, Abia has been at the Shimelba Refugee Camp the longest—seven years, four months, and sixteen days. Papa says that’s too long and they need a forever home. Until then, though, Abia has something important to do: be a queen. Sometimes she’s a noisy queen, banging on her drum as she and Mama wait in the long line for rice and oil. Sometimes she’s a quiet queen, cuddling her baby cousin to sleep while Auntie is away collecting firewood. And sometimes, when Papa talks hopefully of the forever home in their future, Abia is a little nervous. Forever homes are in strange and faraway places. Filled with hope and love, this is a timely tribute to the strength and courage of refugees around the world.
Wherever I Go was named a finalist for the 2020 Julia Howe Award given by the Boston Authors Club.
“Beautiful, realistic paintings portray the challenging everyday life of refugees in the northern Ethiopian camp and, notably, show refugee children and adults working, playing, sharing, and making the best out of what they have. . . . A fine addition to children’s literature about refugees, resettlement, and resilience.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“This story captures the unequivocal joy of childhood even in the midst of refugee status and resettlement. Acrylic paint illustrations eloquently capture the warm earth tones of East Africa with great attention paid to defining features of the people.”
“Brimming with personality in richly colored, vibrant paintings, this fictional child is ultimately blessed with her family being resettled in a safe country, the fate of less than 1% of the world’s millions of refugees. Kudos to this local author and illustrator team for crafting a thoughtful, important story perfectly pitched for children to both understand and enjoy.”
– Kathleen Odean, Providence Journal
Great news! WHEREVER I GO joins NPR’s esteemed list of 100 Favorite Books for Young Readers.
And stay tuned: Mary has a new nonfiction picture book forthcoming in 2023!
To read interviews with Mary, please visit:
For signed copies of Wherever I Go, order through Books on The Square.
Coming Soon: YOSHI’S BIG SWIM: ONE TURTLE’S EPIC JOURNEY HOME (Capstone, 2023)