My Dream: Listen to the Children by John Bougen (Book Review)

My Dream Collage FY

Published by Penguin in 2003, My Dream (Listen to the Children) is a stunning photographic account of  travels to 191 countries in 167 days.  In August 2002 two travel-crazy Kiwis, John Bougen and his cousin James Irving,  left Aotearoa/ New Zealand to set a Guinness world record for ‘the most countries visited in six months’ They succeeded, travelling to 191 countries in 167 days.   As they travelled Bougen, a businessman and photographer, had another goal: to photograph a child in each of the visited countries and then record their answer to a very important question: “if one of your dreams could come true, which one would it be?”

Catalina PinThe photographs also have the precise location in which they were taken and some tell more about the child and his or her background.  With the one for Catalina (pictured above), Bougen says, “Lost and searching for our hotel in the back streets of Santiago, we asked two women for directions.  Their children were sitting on a ledge at the base of a wall behind them.  We understood they lived in a shack in the gully at the end of the street.”

I wondered, whilst reading the children’s hopes, how many of them have since achieved their dreams?  More than ten years have passed since Bougen’s amazing journey around the globe and the creation of My Dream.  The kids  photographed were a variety of ages, so will all be teens or adults now.

My children loved looking at this book too and hearing the stories of kids around the world.  This book is small, colourful and interesting both for adults and children, although probably better for younger children to have an adult there to explain some of the stories.

Working with Save the Children  Bougen used his 169 day tour to and profile to highlight inequalities for children and ‘Save The Children’s’ work worldwide.   Sometimes sad and moving and sometimes funny, this book certainly shares the dreams of children all around the world: and ignites ours for them.

JB Collage Dream

See Also:

AOA Book CoverAn Absolutely Outrageous Adventure is a more in depth and detailed account of Bougen and Irving’s amazing 167 day journey: the places they visited, and in particular the people they met.

Follow the link below to find out more about this book:


Kiwi kidsBougen has also created a similar book, this time focusing on the dreams of children in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, My Dream/ Listen to Kiwi Children.

Unfortunately this book is out of print, but if you type it into Google and search, there are copies available for purchase online.

See Related Links:


4 thoughts on “My Dream: Listen to the Children by John Bougen (Book Review)

    • That’s a pity, would have loved to have seen your longer comment. Thanks for stopping by anyway. Keep reading and we’ll keep providing the best Child Advocacy/ Parental Encouragement and support articles we can. 🙂

    • Glad you’re enjoying “The Forever Years”, we’ll continue to regularly post information relevant to Child Advocacy and to support for parents and caregivers of children around the world.

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