Reviews /

Where?

Authored by Jordan Collins
Illustrated by Phil Lesnie
Published by Allen & Unwin

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Where? is a fierce and emotional rebuke to casual racism. The question ‘where are you from?’ (often followed up with ‘no, where are you really from?’) is a loaded one that points at difference and a sense of being an outlier. In sharp contrast to its shallowness, the response is deep, rich and enlightening. The answer takes us through the cosmos, across seas and through time, taking us back to the simple fact that we are all human – and humanity is where we come from.

This is such a powerful picture book, both in its message and its visual appeal. The initial double spread shows our narrator alone, surrounded by a question that clearly doesn’t go away. The narrator is hunched over slightly, clearly tired, and this frustration is the launchpad to a tremendous tirade that sees them travel through time, treading the paths of all our ancestors. The landscapes created here are cinematic and full of detail, encouraging us perhaps to take in the wonders of our world and be grateful for them, including our fellow humans. As one of the last lines of the book says: Where are you from? I’m from that same place that you are.