Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Leslie Staub
Publisher: Voyager Books, Harcourt
Publisher’s Intended Audience: Ages 3 – 7
Summary: Whoever You Are is the powerful, and yet simply told tale of our common humanity—“Whoever you are; wherever you are.”
Literary Elements at Work: One of the most effective literary elements at work in the story is an oft-repeated refrain: “Whoever you are; wherever you are, whoever they are; wherever they are.” This is the underlying theme holding together the idea of our common humanity in the midst of a wide and diverse world. The illustrations are bright, contrasting oil paintings on gessoed paper, highlighting the different skin colors, home lands, homes, and schools found all over the world. Yet, through all the differences “joys are the same, and pains are the same.”
Scripture: Exodus 19:5b “Indeed, the whole earth is mine [says the LORD]…” (NRSV)
Theology: It matters not where or in what condition we find ourselves. Whether our skin is brown, black, or white, whether we live in houses of stone or houses of leaves, whether we go to school inside large brick buildings or outside sitting on logs, whether we speak Farsi or French, whether we eat knishes or hummus, the whole earth and all that is in it is God’s. Thanks be to God.
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for use with children ages 4 – 7): Sit down in the floor beside your child. Go through the book slowly just looking at the pictures. Talk about the big wide world and all that is in it—the different kinds of trees, the different kinds of people, the different kinds of houses, the different kinds of foods, the different kinds of words. Each page is filled with rich and vibrant pictures depicting life all over the world. Point out that even though the children in the book live in different places, speak different languages, and go to different schools, they are still children. They like to play, sing, dance, color, hug, and love. Now read the story slowly, pausing to talk about different places but similar faces (we all have two eyes to see with, two ears to hear with, etc…). Point our different places on the globe. Ask your child, “Is God here?” “Is God there?” “Is God everywhere?” Tell your child that God is definitely everywhere. Remember the words from Exodus, “Indeed, the whole earth is mine [says the LORD]…” (NRSV). Sing He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.
Review prepared by Kim Lee, MACE, Entering Cohort 2007
Whoever You Are by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.