Monday, November 4, 2013

Away We Go Media: If You Were Me and Lived in... (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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 Carole P. Roman has written an adorable international themed book series.  There are four titles:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico
If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea
If You Were Me and Lived in...France
If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway
Each paperback book is about 25 pages long.  While the books are easily standalone volumes, together they make a foundation for a multicultural unit study for a preschool or early elementary student.  PKer Damien and first grader Jude enjoyed these books, while 4th grader Celia felt they were a bit babyish.  If they were part of a planned unit study, rather than as a standalone reading book, she might have felt differently, but that would still be the very upper edge of the age range I would use these with.  I plan to go back and re-use these as with the little boys as the "reading" half of a read-and-cook program.  I think it would be great to read about the country, and then hop into the kitchen and make a food that the country is known for.  They also would make a great read-aloud for a Daisy or Brownie Troop celebrating Thinking Day.

If you were me Carole Roman review

Rather than spouting dry facts about each country, each books shares information that shows how children from from around the world really aren't all that different after all.  They each go to school, celebrate special holidays, and have favorite foods and sports.  Whether you call her Mamá, Omma, Maman, or Mama, your mother is still a special lady.

It was interesting to see the different popular names.  Some were fun to guess - Alejandro is the Spanish version of Alexander, one of our cousins, and Celia was right about Mathis being the French form of Matthew.  However, I can't say we know anyone named Minjae or Bjørn.

I liked how there was a pronunciation guide at the end.  When reading it aloud to the little boys, the Spanish words were easy to pronounce.  Luke read the books to them as well, and after so many years of Spanish, only faltered a little with French.  I have to say, though, we both stumbled through Norwegian (even after many trips to Epcot, we haven't mastered much beyond a not-yet-caffeinated  "God dag!" as we stumble into the Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus) and I'm certain that we butchered Korean, but we gave it our best shot.  Kimchee and taekwando were the only things that came naturally to us on that one.  The pronunciation guide was very helpful.  The books also explained things in reasonable detail so that the language never really was an issue.

These books are filled with simple but detailed illustrations that explain as much as the text.  Each theme has a two page spread with the text usually on one corner of the page and the rest of the area filled with a visual interpretation of the concept.  I liked the pagination detail - each book has a "signature" picture by the page number.  The book on Mexico has a red chile pepper, France features croissant while South Korea's food feature is a bowl of rice noodles.  Norway shows a dog sled team.

The title If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico is a Summer 2013 recipient of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.  This award was given by the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs in the category "Best Children's Interest Book."  Congratulations, Carole!

All of these books are available through the author's website; retail price ranges from $9.99 to $11.99.  We definitely enjoyed them. While they are available individually, I think they would make a great addition as a set to any young student's library.  Be sure to click the banner below to see what other crew members though about these books!


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