Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Who Will I Be, Lord?” as Want to Read:
Who Will I Be, Lord?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Who Will I Be, Lord?

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A lyrical story about how looking back is helpful when you start looking forward. . . .

A young girl thoughtfully considers her family tree and the vibrant ancestors who populate it. As each family member’s story is revealed, her quiet meditation—about what kind of person she’ll be when she grows up—transforms into a testament to the importance of sharing family stories.

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Who Will I Be, Lord?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Who Will I Be, Lord?

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  69 ratings  ·  21 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Who Will I Be, Lord?
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
The idea is great-- examining family members and their jobs/lives and asking "What will I be?". But a pool shark? A ditch digger? I can think of a few better examples to include in a picture book than those. The Lord reference will turn people away from it, which is too bad, as it is not a religious book. I also think this book, with the chosen occupations, as encouraging racism in children.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This has a nice balance. The main character looks at family over generations and wonders about her path. I say balance because she looks at jobs, but not only at their jobs, and looks at people who would be looked at as more or less successful, but looks their hearts too, clearly with parental guidance. Also, there isn't pressure for her to decide on one job now. She feels both the strong family ties and the freedom for self-determination. Good for kids.
About the Story:
With a lyrical and repetitive refrain, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson tells the story of her own personal history as a little girl, and that of several different generations in her family. She goes through each branch of her family tree recalling shared stories and memories of her family history. For instance, she tells of her great grandma who was white and disowned by her parents after marrying Nelson’s great grandpa who was black. After sharing the story of each family member, she re
Tyffani Mine
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This fictional narrative is about a young African-American girl who looks to her family members to figure out what she will be when she gets older. As she thinks about what members of her family do for a living, images come to life and there is a story connected to each person.As a teacher, I probably would not use this story because of the negative connotation it attaches to the African American culture. While it is a story of her life and may be realistic to the characters, I would not want my ...more
Black Carrie
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this and the message behind it
I hope my kids figure out what they want to be and whatever they choose to do I'll support them.
This little girl comes from a loving home so she'll grow up and be okay just like her mom said
Good loving parents , and motivation is what ALL CHILDREN NEED :)

Dastiny Jackson
Who will I be, Lord is about a young girl who wonders what she should be in life. In the book, the girl lists all her family celebrations and what they have done and became in life. As she thinkings about all the things, her family has done, she wonders what she will be and become. I can use this book inside my class when we talk about family history. We can also create a family tree after reading this book.
Marilyn Showalter
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Realistic Fiction
All grades reading level
I loved this book. It was super cute coming from the perspective of a little girl who was wondering what she would be when she was older. It gives a broad overview of all her family members and what jobs they had which I thought was great because it was very diverse jobs. I like that her question was almost like a prayer, but since it does mention Lord, it might restrict the use of this book in public schools.
Taylor Parker
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Genre: Realistic fiction
Grade: 2-6

Great book to discuss what children want to be when they are older. I like this book because It shows that anyone no matter what you look like or who you are can be whatever they want to be. I enjoyed how the author went through the family history and created a family tree.
Rita Salfetnikova
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Multicultural/ Picture Book
Copyright 2009
This was such a cute book about a girl who is asking who will she be when she grows up. I would say this book is for grades k-3. This is a fun book to read out loud.
Stephanie Starr
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book, as it realistically shows how each family is different, but through the lens of a child. Shows how even though one family member may be a preacher and one a pool shark, every one is unique in their own way.
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
i like the example of the uncle who was a pool shark
Kristine Hansen
I hesitated on shelving this with African American fiction, but given the talk of slavery and racism I think it fits. There's a hint of history in these pages that might bear some explanation if you're reading with a young child.

That said, I didn't like this book. I am guessing that the author is talking about her own family growing up? History is history and must be accepted as such. But the diversity in careers that people are celebrating in their reviews hardly bears celebration. Women are sh
Cassandra Gelvin
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Realistic yet enforces gender and class stereotypes.

A little girl is looking back at her family: her great-grandparents, her grandparents, and her parents, and also her uncle and her cousin, for some reason, trying to figure out what she's gonna be when she grows up. There's music involved. Kind of basic jobs. Somebody's a mailman. Somebody's a preacher. Somebody is described is a jazz man but he actually works in a diner. Somebody else is a pool shark, which is kind of an odd thing to be.

Hannah Grosse
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a really cool book with a lot of meaning in it, some obvious and some hidden. Politically speaking, this book covers the lives of a family of African descent, and mentions that the girl's great, great, great grandfather was a slave. The girl talks of her great grandmother as well, who was white and was disowned by her parents when she married a black man, and how none of that was important. Then she continues on about her family members, each of them making the best of their situations a ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm so sad to hear that Who Will I Be, Lord? by Vaunda Nelson is going out of print. This picture book is not only a sweet and inspiring read for children, but it makes a great introduction to a writing lesson for kids of any age - or even adults. I plan to use this book with middle school writers this fall when we spend time on memoir, exploring family connections, and big questions such as: who am i? where do I come from?

Personally, I buying multiple copies now to giveaway to the children in m
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A little girl talks to everyone in her family, dad, mom, grandma, great g-ma, grand-pa, uncle, cousin etc. about what they do and each time she wonders, "What will I be, Lord?" In the end she realizes it is like her mama said - it is up to me.
Themes: Social issues, family, multicultural, and multigenerational.
In class the teacher can start a discussion on what students want to be when they grow up, or create a family tree with occupations and it can start a discussion on social issues such as r
Katie Logonauts
This family-history story begins with the narrator's great-grandpap who was a mailman and played banjo and her great-grandma who was white and a housewife. The story continues with the refrain of the young narrator asking "And who will I be, Lord? What will I be?" as she describes different members of her family. It's an interesting book and concept, but I think the Lord references might make it a hard one to use in schools.
Jun 30, 2016 added it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: GR list "Black and African American Contemporary Picture Books"
Shelves: picturebooks
The idea of a girl wondering who she'll be and reflecting on the passions of various people in her family (ultimately concluding "I guess like Mama says, it's up to me") is a nice one, but it didn't particularly do much for me.
Wonderful book on diversity! Shows the many jobs any person can become when they grow up. The vibrant colors and illustrations lead to many imaginations and dreams running wild and motivates the child on the spot.
Hailey Dellinger
Great multicultural book that you can use in the classroom to teach about social/family issues. This ties in within family. Great to introduce what a child wants to be when they grow up
Caitlin Crum
rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2020
rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2011
Emily Myhren
rated it liked it
Sep 04, 2018
rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2016
Ingrid Froysok
rated it it was ok
Nov 07, 2011
Darnelle Clark
rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2020
rated it liked it
Dec 13, 2017
Christina Carter
rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2019
Kelly Lyons
rated it it was amazing
Apr 11, 2013
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blended
  • The Serious Goose
  • Ava and Taco Cat (Ava and Pip #2)
  • A Single Thread
  • Biddy Mason Speaks Up
  • Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Fighting for Justice)
  • In a Minute, Mama Bear
  • Shirley Chisholm is a Verb!
  • Bonnie and Ben Rhyme Again
  • Hey Black Child
  • Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience with Trust and Courage
  • The Things She's Seen
  • Finna: Poems
  • Cheerful Chick
  • Most of the Better Natural Things in the World
  • ᑭᓯᒥ ᑕᐃᒪᐃᑉᐸᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᖏᕐᕋᕆᔭᕋᓂ / Kisimi Taimaippaktut Angirrarijarani / Only in My Hometown
  • Albert's Quiet Quest
  • Jacob Riis's Camera Bringing Light to Tenement Children
See similar books…
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson loves bringing books and children together and feels lucky to have two careers that foster this. The children's librarian and author says, "It was destined from the day I was born. My mother found my name in a novel she was reading."

Vaunda's first book, Always Gramma, was selected by the Children's Book Council as a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studie

News & Interviews

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
27 likes · 46 comments