There is this saying among homeschool moms and teachers that you know you’re reading a quality children’s book, when you (the adult) enjoy it. That is exactly how I feel about Carole P. Roman’s historical series of books. We have been reading for review:
We also received:
- If you Were Me and Lived In … Ancient China
- If you Were Me and Lived In … the Ancient Mali Empire
- If you Were Me and Lived In … Viking Europe
Let me start by saying each one of these books is lovely! The covers are beautiful, the binding is high quality, and the pages are a nice weight. Four of the above books have won various awards. You can view all of the awards for Carole’s books HERE.
Carole P. Roman has done a brilliant job transporting her readers back in history, using real life situations and terms that are true to the era. I truly appreciate the work and details that were put into writing these!
Writing to a child from their own perspective seems to really draw them in. I have had more imaginative play in my home with knights and vikings and colonial heroes in the last few weeks, than the last year combined. haha My children have really enjoyed these! They are appropriate for a child as young as 4, and I would even say most 10 year olds would enjoy them.
Written clearly enough for a young child, but with enough detail and sustenance for an older child as well, I have sure enjoyed reading them!
What You Can Expect, What We Thought, and How We Used the Books
If you Were Me and Lived In … the Middle Ages is a fascinating 98 page book that will take children back to the era of which they all play pretend-that of Sleeping Beauty, castles, knights, and maidens. I *love* how this book (and the others we received) begins with an illustration of what the towns in that era looked like, compared to an illustration of a town or landscape today. It really puts into perspective how much our cultures and lives have been impacted by history, and thus changed.
Speaking of illustration, this book has my *favorite* illustrations! I think it must be the time period, but they are so lovely!
The kids liked learning the very specifics of how children in this time lived; what they ate, read, how they slept, that they prayed 5 times a day. The fact that young girls sewed every afternoon pleased my daughter immensely, and my 5 year old son thought the term garderobe was just hilarious. (I had no idea their restroom emptied directly into the moat? ew.) But they couldn’t imagine having to leave their home to live with someone else, and rarely see each other or their parents.
This book goes step by step, through the classes of society in the middle ages, so children can see what it was like to live in a castle, and also as a peasant. There is a section of famous people from the middle ages, and an extensive glossary of terms in the back, which is tremendously useful. (I am definitely thinking when we re-read these books as we go through world cultures this year, we will be using these terms for vocab development).
We began reading this series with, If you Were Me and Lived In … Colonial America, because when we received our books for review we had literally just come to the end of our colonial era studies for early American history. I liked that my kids were able to compare parts of these history books, to those in Sarah Noble and the biographies we read on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and other from the 16-1700s.
In the back of this 64 page book, Carole has provided a list of important American colonists, with illustrations, as well as a glossary of terms.
The only thing I would point out about this book (and only this book, of the ones we received) is the pages with text were black, and the text itself was white. While it did contribute to the era of which we were reading, it was hard for my eye to read the white lettering.
If you Were Me and Lived In … Viking Europe provides a fantastic explanation of living like a viking child. This past year, in our early American history studies, we began with vikings and Erik the Red (my children were enthralled with this time period), so this book has been loved by my children.
Made up of 76 pages, it describes in detail what every day life would be like for a viking child-from living like a Jarl to being a lowly Thrall. One of our favorite parts was learning how vikings boiled sea water to get their salt! I found it interesting that viking women were more respected and had more freedoms than most women in Europe, at the time. My son likes the idea of spending all day learning to hunt, fight, and ski, while my 7yo like that girls danced and enjoyed fiddles (she plays violin).
Again, in the back is a list of important viking figures, viking gods, and a glossary of vocabulary words (which is SO helpful- thank you for that!).
This book does explain some of their culture, which included many gods, and some magic.
If you Were Me and Lived In … Ancient China (76 pages) and If you Were Me and Lived In … the Ancient Mali Empire (78 pages) each offer the same format as the books above- a comparison of how the civilizations looked then and now, details on life as a child and their family, famous people of the era, and a glossary of terms.
These titles include elaborate clothing, parades, and festivals held in the cultures at this time. Again, these books would be wonderful for children as young as 4 all the way up to higher elementary. The illustrations are gentle but lively, and pull you into the narrative.
These are pictures books, as are the first three mentioned above. Carole also has a chapter book series, as well as a culture series. Check them out HERE.
I 100% understand why Carole’s books have won awards after award- they are worthy! I cannot wait to re read these as we go through world culture this year, and plan to add more of her books to our shelves!
Connect with Carole P. Roman
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