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If You Were Me and Lived in Egypt
This was my first request, for Emory, who wanted to learn more about Egypt! This book is a part of a geography and culture series. The books are interesting, because the format is such that you are given a tour of the country by another child, so you see everything through the lenses of a child. The narrator takes "you" all around Egypt, telling you what you might see, do, eat, and play if you were living there. I ended up reading the book aloud to both boys (10 and 8) during the first week of school during one of our history blocks. It's a short read, and easily read in one sitting if you're not interrupted by little siblings. I liked that even though it gave modern children's names and showed their school and shared current cuisine and pastimes, it also showed a glimpse into ancient history through books you might read, games you might play, or a trip to a museum. Afterwards, I had the boys narrate, which is a great way to see what they remembered and found the most interesting. They had a lot of commentary, but when Emory said pickled fish sounded gross, Elliott pointed out that if we grew up there and were served that food regularly, we would eventually get used to it. This led to another interesting discussion about food . . . obviously the book has them thinking, and that is always the goal, right?
If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China
I requested this book for Elliott, who was wanting to learn more about ancient China and The Great Wall of China. This book focuses on the Han Dynasty and the life of a child during that time period. The narrater is again speaking directly to the reader, telling them what their life would have been like as a child during this time period. In this book, you are a child of a doctor and so are considered well off and are higher up in the social hierarchy. You learn what your status affords you, but are also exposed to the lives of those "below" you as well. You are a theoretically a boy in the book, so you also learn how girls were treated and educated differently. My boys were again slightly grossed out by some of the cuisine, and they haven't forgotten that the color white is associated with death in China, or that the number 4 is unlucky. It always intrigues me to see what sticks out most to them.
The books in this series are geared for slightly older students, and because they cover so much historical content, they are quite a bit longer. I've found that reading it slowly over several days gives more time to absorb the information.
If You Were Me and Lived on . . . Mars
This book differs slightly from the Geography or History series, because it focuses on place we associated more with science than history or geography. In this book, it's the future and we are taken on a journey to colonize Mars. We are taught about the geographical features and the moons, as well as things like the length of the day, rotation, gravity of Mars and other facts. We're taught about the equipment and supplies that would be necessary for a mission to Mars. I read this aloud to the boys for science one day, and the boys found it really interesting! They did point out that the fact that you had to wear a special suit was mentioned multiple times, but they otherwise found it engaging. This is a fun book for any space loving kid, or to accompany a study on astronomy.
This book was so much different than the others, and is a different reading experience altogether. Rocket-Bye is a bedtime story written in a poetic form. We follow a child on their stroll through space, written in a rhythmic lullaby story form. It's definitely appropriate for my 2 and 4 year old, and is very fitting as a bedtime story.
Overall, I am pleased with these books. The books have different illustrators, so you get a different visual experience depending on the book, but they are all factual and interesting, and there is a lot of variety in topics from which to choose. Carole P. Roman has a variety of books for different ages, and the crew has reviewed so many of the titles, that I highly suggest you check out more reviews to see what other books she offers!
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