Where in the World

Ari is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary gift for and love of music.
Price: $7.95
  • ISBN: 9781561454433
  • Publication date: 04/01/2008
  • Page Count: 208
  • Size: 6" x 9"
  • Age Range: 10-14


Ari is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary gift for and love of music.

Since moving with his mother from Germany to Australia, Ari feels adrift—cut off from his familiar world, the people he loves most, even his music. For Ari, playing the violin was always the key to his memories of people and places and his connection to the world around him. But even the music cannot help him now. How is he to find his footing in this new country, accept his new stepfather, and most difficult of all, leave behind his beloved grandfather?

Fearing that his musical talent might separate him from others, Ari tries to keep it hidden. After facing disappointment, confusion, and even the death of someone he loves, Ari realizes that music does have the power to heal him, and perhaps it can be his path to finding his place in the world.

Simon French’s emotionally-charged story of an adolescent boy trying to find his way in an unfamiliar place will resonate with readers, especially those who may occasionally feel out of step with the world around them.


Simon French


Simon French had his first novel published at the age of eighteen. Since then, he has written numerous books for young readers that have earned critical acclaim and awards. French is a teacher, and the characters in his stories often develop from the children he has worked with. He lives in Australia.


“An unusual and gripping coming-of-age story.… This well-constructed novel challenges readers to think about their own families, talents, and ‘where in the world’ they might be.” ―School Library JournalSTARRED REVIEW

“A quietly told story about relationships between a boy and his grandfather (Opa) and between music and memories.… A slow voice weaving between past and present characterizes this thoughtful piece about music, family, and memories.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“This is one of the few novels for the age group that handles the topic of music with a musician’s sensibility… The lyrical writing style suits the theme of musical improvisation in a story that’s poignant without being overly sentimental.” ―Booklist

“Australian author French’s…sensitively observed novel offers up quiet notes of joy while conveying the pain of a fatherless child… The understated prose sets off the thunderousness of the emotions, and French, who avoids tearjerking, wins readers fair and square with a tender approach-as well as a protagonist who grows immensely.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This is a gently winning literary encounter.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council, 2004

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts K-6 Novels) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2004

Patricia Wrightson Award (Australia) ―Premier’s Literary Awards, 2003

Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2003

Honor List ―IBBY, 2004

Children’s Book of the Year Awards (Nominee) ―Children’s Book Council (Australia), 2003

Children’s Fiction Prize (Nominee, United Kingdom) ―The Guardian, 2003

KSRA Young Adult Book Award (Nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association, 2003-2004

More Details

AR Level: 5.0
F&P: X, Gr 6, Genre RF
Lexile: 760L
Themes: Change, Family, Moving, Music, Travel

Books By Simon French