River (age 4) and I were recently given a chance to review a series called If You Were Me and Lived In ... By Carole P. Roman. We received four books:
- If You Were Me and Lived in France, A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World
- If You Were Me and Lived in Norway, An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures
- If You Were Me and Lived in Mexico, A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World
- If You Were Me and Lived in South Korea, An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures
Each soft-cover full-color book is about 24 pages long and measures about 8.5" square. The books use a nice big print with simple works, making them very easy to read. The illustrations combine solids with bits of print pattern for a very eye-catching, appealing, unique look.
River and I sat down and immediately read all four books.
The books are written from the viewpoint of a child in that country. Each book begins with a map of the country with the capital highlighted. At the end of each book is a pronunciation guide for the native words used throughout the book.
While each book is unique because it is discussing a very unique location, the books follow a common theme and each tells a bit about what life as a child in another country would be like, highlighting common first names, typical foods, tourist attractions, monetary systems, activities and holidays, and basic word definitions. Each book talks about differences of that particular country, while also casually pointing out the similarities between the children in these other countries and the child reading the book, for example the children in the other countries go to school and play with toys, all similar to children in the United States.
As we read each book we got out our big globe and found each place on it, comparing each place to where we live in Florida and then to each other. River found South Korea to be the most interesting on the globe, Mexico is close to home and he's been there, and France and Norway are near each other, but South Korea was really far away and, really, almost on the other side of the world.
After we finished the book on France I was able to get out pictures from my trip to France, about 10 or so years ago, and show River the photos I have of the Eiffel Tower, which is mentioned in the book, and other photos of Paris and France.
The Kirkenes Snowhotel, from the Norway book, had River and his brothers ready to pack and go. (Me, not so much ... I live in Florida for a reason!).
In the Mexico book we learned a bit about the Mayan temple, Chichen Itza.
Seoul is discussed in the South Korea book, providing an opportunity to talk about the Olympics, as they were held there in the summer of 1988.
River has had these books read to him over and over (and over and over) and really likes them. He talks a lot about going to Norway to see the Ice Hotel and the Northern Lights, both of which we googled and talked about after reading the books.
When we first read the series I wasn't sure if they were a little over River's head but he really understood the material and they were definitely age appropriate for him. Kaden (age 10) and Adam (12) thought the books were great and had fun reading them to River.
The If You Were Me and Lived in ... Mexico, France, South Korea, and Norway series is appropriate for kids in Pre-K through age 8, and are available from Away We Go Media for $8.99 each, or $.99 for a Kindle version.
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