Book Review

Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

It was a hot and sticky day when Grandad Melvin called him to watch television. Though Oscar heard his granddad, his friends were waiting outside and he wanted to be with them. At the same time, Oscar did not want to disappoint his granddad who had recently come to live with Oscar and his family. Granddad Melvin was old and could not live alone anymore. Oscar decided to tell his friends that he would be unable to join them. This was the third time in two weeks he decided to stay at home with his grandfather. Oscar loved his friends but he felt a sense of devotion to his granddad. Grandad Melvin had named Oscar ‘Pal’ because they watched baseball games together; Oscar loved helping him around the home. They discussed various topics and laughed a lot-Oscar enjoyed the stories with life lessons his granddad told him. He was often warned about the racism, unfairness, and injustices of the world he was growing up in. At night Oscar thought about what his granddad and parents taught him and wondered how he would have reacted if he faced these injustices, problems, and unfairness.
Where I Live by Odell Staggers tackles the topic of equality and prejudice associated with color in a wonderful way through Oscar and his family. Vincent Cardones’ illustrations are colorful and vivid and they make the concept clear to readers. The story explains the themes of inequality and discrimination based on color. The topic has been seamlessly woven into the story, making it easy for children to understand it and the life lessons. The book can be used in school libraries and classrooms to teach the lessons granddad Melvin and Oscar’s parents taught him; that is to respect everyone and never let anyone make him act out of character. It is a good book to have on home bookshelves too for parents to teach their kids good life lessons.


“Odell Staggers Where I Live is an all-too real story for many of our children but his is a message of hope and courage. While this is a beautifully illustrated children’s book, Staggers pulls no punches and well he shouldn’t.


Oscar lives in an environment that saps children of opportunity and could easily drive him down a dangerous path of violence, drugs and despair. Instead, Oscar finds true value from a lesson taught in school.


Where I Live is a book for all ages. It’s message is powerful. Education and community are invaluable.”

-Alexandra Allred, Author, Speaker 


Oscar is a great kid, but the community in which he lives in is ravaged by violence, gangs, and poverty. He tries very hard to separate himself and escape the negative elements, but one day he is faced with bullies that want him to join their gang. Oscar is terrified-this is not who he is nor how he was raised. He is perplexed as he has to make the biggest decision of his life.


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