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If You Were Me and Lived In... (Ancient Greece, Colonial America, Elizabethan England, Renaissance Italy, Ancient China, and the Middle Ages) Review by Renee Knoblauch, Jen Altman, and Laura Delgado

If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient Greece
If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America
If You Were Me and Lived In...Elizabethan England
If You Were Me and Lived in... Renaissance Italy
If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China
If You Were Me and Lived in… the Middle Ages
Carole P. Roman
http://www.caroleproman.com/

My family loves reading books about history. We get pretty excited with just about any time period of history. Recently, we were introduced to books by Carole P. Roman.

If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient Greece is a delightful paperback book with 53 pages. I would say that the reading level is around 3rd to 6th grade. In my opinion, older children would enjoy reading this book. With younger kids, this could be a read out loud as the story is easy to follow along with.

The illustrations are created by Mateya Arkova who lives in Bulgaria. The illustrations are depicted in a cartoonish and whimsical manner. The pictures look like watercolors in bright pastel colors. They paint a wonderful picture of what life might have looked like in Ancient Greece and what it looks like now in modern day Greece.

The book starts out in Modern day Greece showing the ruins of an Ancient Greece city. Then you step back in time to around 350 B.C. You will learn about the country’s location, architecture, cities, food, customs, religion, military, occupations, education, clothing, Olympics, and about the famous historians born in Greece. You will learn about the many gods and goddesses as religion is part of everyday life. All of this is told from a child’s perspective.

There is an emphasis placed on the Greek gods and goddesses. Each page has a short blurb about how a certain Greek god or goddess played a role in that particular part of the Ancient Greek civilization. At the end of the story you also have a page listing the gods and goddess of Ancient Greece and how they affect every life in the Greek culture.

Five pages of glossary of the vocabulary are included in the back of the book. The glossary also includes pronunciation of the words. There are occasional questions throughout the book to encourage discussion of the topics. On Carole P. Roman’s blog, you will find two worksheets to print off to ask your students comprehensive questions about the book.

This is an excellent tool to introduce your students to Ancient Greece and the culture. This book could easily be used for a school research paper for kids just learning how to do a research paper. It would make a wonderful unit study, lapbook, or be used with notebook pages. The story packs a wealth of information in it without feeling overwhelming.

As a Christian, I don’t care about promoting gods and goddesses. At the same time, I also understand that the impact that the ancient Greek civilization has had throughout history; and that history includes their religious beliefs. The book is very to the point and gives you just the facts of the gods and goddesses.

I tend to not shy away from the topic of gods and goddesses, and even Greek Mythology.  I use them as teaching opportunities to talk about the topic. So much of our modern day culture is entwined with this sort of thing. It is also important because the names and concepts of these ancient Gods and Goddesses appear in much of our literature and art.

I would personally rather have my kids hear about the gods and goddesses from me and not the world. If you don’t like touching on the topic of god and goddess of ancient Greece than this book may not be for you.

We had fun reading this in our homeschool with my 10 year old son and 13 year old daughter. This has been a summer read out loud. We spent a bit more time with this book due to the fact we had a lot of discussion about the religious aspect of the civilization. I appreciated the worksheets provided on the blog that adding some great discussions topics.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any library and are ideal to use in the classroom or homeschooling situation. I have been impressed with the wealth of information Carole P. Roman has put in this story. I look forward to adding more of her book to my library.

 

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

 

 

If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America

Carole P. Roman

 

My family has come to appreciate Carole P. Roman’s books and her way of drawing your imagination back into history. After recently being introduced to her books, my kids get excited when we sit down with one.

The most recent book If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America is a paperback book with 61 pages. The reading level is around 3rd to 6th grade. I feel that older children would enjoy reading this book. With younger kids, this could be a read out loud as the story is easy to follow along with.

The illustrator for this story is Sarah Wright who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She uses cartoon illustrations throughout the story. The background for the majority of the pages is black with the letters in white print. The scenes on the pages depict the simple life of early Colonial America.

The story starts out with a picture of London and how the city looks in present day and on the opposite page of how London looked in 1620.

Carole P. Roman’s layouts of her books are all the same. It starts out with a family scene talking about the common names of that era. For this particular story for a boy you might be named Comfort or Abraham. For girls it could be Patience or Mercy. The names tell you that this is a society were religion was important. The story portrays a Puritan family and their pursuit to practice their religious beliefs freely.

You are introduced to a time when Reformers and Protestants are considered a new religion. The Puritans are known as Separatists. It was illegal to be part of any other religion except what the ruler practiced. You are introduced to Queen Elizabeth and King James and how the religion of the day was changing with each new ruler. 

Would you be scared as a child sailing across the ocean in the Mayflower and The Speedwell to an unknown land so you could worship freely? The story will tell you about historical information surrounding Colonial America with making new laws, the Mayflower Compact. What did you live in when you came to the shores of a new land? You will learn what you would eat, wear, plantations, natives, education, games, and chores. It even talks about how and when the Thanksgiving was first celebrated. The story is told from a child’s perspective.

I appreciate how Carole P. Roman doesn’t shy away from the hardships of the era. She portrays how difficult that first winter was, sickness, lack of food, death, and the reality of life then. She conveys the story in a way that isn’t going to scare children.

In the back of the book is short paragraph of information of six individuals who influenced the colonies. There is also six pages of glossary of the vocabulary are included in the back of the book. The glossary also includes pronunciation of the words.

Pros:

This is a great introduction book for teaching your students about Colonial America and the events that led up to the Puritans coming over in the Mayflower and The Speedwell. There is enough of information for elementary kids to do a school research paper. Everything you need is in here without it being intimidating or getting overwhelmed with information.

This would make a good unit study. You could easily adapt the book into notebooking pages or even a lapbook. It could be added to just about any curriculum about this era in American history.

There are occasional questions throughout the book to encourage discussion of the topics. On Carole P. Roman’s blog, you will find two worksheets to print off to ask your students comprehensive questions about the book.

Cons:

The only thing that I found hard was the black background with the white print. I have a daughter who has severe vision issues and this wasn’t something she could read herself as it was difficult for her to track the words. On the other side, my son didn’t have any problems with the books background or print. This was my only concern that I had with the book.

An issue that some may have is an issue about is their use of beer. It states that, “The one thing your family missed most was beer.” It goes on to say that, “You were reduced to drinking dangerous water and somehow survived.” This is the only part in the story that may be controversial to some.

We did this as a read out loud in my family. I had my 10 and 13 year old kids go back and forth reading to one another.

We have been working on Venn diagrams and writing research papers in language arts with my 10 year old son. I had him do a compare and contrast of life as a child now and back in Colonial America. He had to write a short story using the information he gathered from Venn diagram. Having all the information in one book made it easy for him. He wasn’t frustrated locating what he needed to do a report.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any library and is ideal to use in the classroom or homeschooling situation. I have been impressed with the wealth of information Carole P.
Roman has put in this story. I look forward to adding more of her book to my library.

 

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

 

 

If You Were Me and Lived In...Elizabethan England

Carole P. Roman

 

Carole P. Roman has created an amazing series of historical books that are children-friendly. History is a subject that my family loves exploring. I love finding books that teach children about the history of certain eras.

If You Were Me and Lived In...Elizabethan England is a paperback book with 50 pages. I would say that the reading level is around 3rd to 6th grade. In my opinion, older children would enjoy reading this book. With younger kids this could be a read out loud as the story is easy to follow along with.

The illustrations by Paula Tabor are quite impressive in this book. The pages are colorful and have a lot of realistic details. We found ourselves spending a lot of time exploring all those details on each page.

This book will give you some insight into the Elizabethan era in England starting out around 1578. I like that it puts the time period in perspective with the closing of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Renaissance era. It was the time of William Shakespeare and when England became a superpower of the world.

As all the books we have read from Carole P. Roman, they start out showing a modern day picture of the topic and contrast it with what it would have looked like in 1578. This particular book has a young lady with modern clothes of today, and on the other page, another young lady wearing the clothes of 1600s. Both young ladies are standing by a wall with the furnishings of their era.

I appreciate how Carole P. Roman’s shares the hardships of the era, and that she portrays it was, but in a way that isn’t grisly for children. Nothing dramatic to scare kids but, she paints a vivid picture. You see difference in the day to day lifestyle of the wealthy and poor. Have you ever wondered what their living condition, food, clothing, education, and the entertainment of the era was like. The story is told through the eyes of a child.

Children are always fascinated with kings and queens and all the glamour of it. The story sets up the reality that having a monarchy would dictate what religion you followed was who was, “on the throne.” It wasn’t always pleasant if you worshiped differently.

My kids found it odd that chocolate was added to beverages to use as medicine and that it was bitter and they hated it. I decided to have them sampled some chocolate in the raw form to see why it was not liked. They quickly agreed that it wasn’t very pleasant.

The back of the book has a short paragraph of information on eight important individuals you will want to know from the Elizabethan era. There are also seven pages of glossary of the vocabulary that is included in the book. The glossary also includes pronunciation of the words. There are occasional questions throughout the book to encourage discussion of the topics.

This would make a good unit study. You could easily adapt the book into notebooking pages or even a lapbook. It could be added to just about any curriculum about this era. The possibilities are easy to adapt to your school style and activities like doing some of the entertainment or games of the time. You could make recipes of the era. There is so much you could add to enhance the learning experience.

We did this as a read out loud in my family. I read it to my 10 and 13 year old kids over a weeks’ time. I didn’t do any other activities with the book at this time. We truly learned a lot and the best part is that we enjoyed it.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any library and is ideal to use in the classroom or homeschooling situation. I have been impressed with the wealth of information Carole P. Roman has put in this story. I look forward to adding more of her book to my library.

 

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

 

 

If You Were Me and Lived in... Renaissance Italy

Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in Renaissance Italy, by Carole P. Roman, is a delightful book that takes you back in time to Tuscany Italy in the late 1400s/early 1500s. It has illustrations that are set in that time period, and shares what life was like during the Early Renaissance. Using the phrase ‘if you were me’ the author transports the reader, and it is as if you were there. 

The main character of this book is a young girl. Common names of the era are discussed, as well as what life was like, historical events that were taking place, the types of clothing people wore, the food they ate, what they did for fun, where they lived, and what it looked like. You also learn about the education they received and how money was made.  Unfamiliar words are followed by pronunciations. There is an index of famous Renaissance people and a glossary of terms at the end.  The role that artist and inventors played in the Renaissance era is also discussed in the story.

My children really enjoyed this book (though they are boys and wished for a boy main character), regardless the life of a boy is addressed as well in the story (as a brother to the girl in the story). You are able to see what life would have been like for girls and boys, both young and older. This is a great story to introduce history to younger children, though older children may likewise enjoy it. It teaches them in terms they understand and allows for compare and contrast of life then to their lives today.

 

-Product review by Jen Altman, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

 

 


If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient China

Carole P. Roman


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Ancient China? My family is always curious about different cultures and ancient times. After reading several books by Carole P. Roman, we were pretty excited to learn about Ancient China.

If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient China is a paperback book with 76 pages. Reading level looks to be around 3rd to 6th grade. I think older kids would enjoy the information in this book. Younger kids could have this read to them. It’s intriguing and a fun way to introduce children to history and the culture of the time period.

The illustrations are created by Mateya Arkova who lives in Bulgaria. The illustrations are depicted in a cartoonish and whimsical manner. The pictures look like watercolors. They paint a wonderful picture of what life might have looked like in Ancient China and what it looks like now in modern day China. The illustrations captured the intent of the text beautifully.

The story starts out with a child looking at a map of the world on the wall. Ancient China is highlighted on the map. The story then shows you a modern day city in China. Then you are transported back to Ancient China. 

This book is centered on the “Han Dynasty” which ruled from 206 BC to 220 AD. The author defines the word dynasty near the beginning of the book. The story takes place in the capital city of Chang’an in central China

The year is 150 AD during the Golden Age of Ancient China. Some believe this was Chinese history’s greatest era.  In the Golden Age of Ancient China you were encouraged to write poetry and literature. Paper was invented during the Golden Age. Fine China or better known as porcelain was created and exported around the known world.

What your name might’ve been, where you might have lived, ate, wore, what the colors you wore meant, what men and women do as a professions, what toys you would have played with, and what holidays were celebrated.

My kids were intrigued about the information about the Emperor of China and how he always ate alone. They thought it was strange and boring to eat alone every day.

I loved the information about the process of making silk and the silk worm. That is always such an intriguing process to me.

There is occasional questions throughout the book encourage discussion of the topics. On Carole P. Roman’s blog, you will find two worksheets to print off to ask your students comprehensive questions about the book. There is section about 10 important people in Ancient China with a short paragraph about them and how they helped China. Seven pages of glossary of the vocabulary are included in the back of the book. The glossary also includes pronunciation of the words.

If you are not ready to introduce your kids to certain religions or topics then you need to know that the book does talk about three of the major religious philosophies like Taoism (Lao-Tzu), Confucius and Buddhism. There is some information about the yin and yang.  Also, the importance of paying respect to their ancestors in Ancient China with making a shrine and putting food before it. Then certain numbers are considered either lucky or unlucky. 

This is a wonderful book to read and to learn about Ancient China and the culture. You could use this story for a school research paper for kids just learning how to do a research paper. It would make a wonderful unit study, lapbook, or can be used with notebook pages. The story packs a wealth of information in it without feeling overwhelming.

We had fun reading this in our homeschool with my 10 year old son and 13 year old daughter.  I did this as a read out loud with them. We did spent more time with this book due to the fact we had a lot of discussion about the religious aspect and some other topics I wanted to talk about with my kids.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any library and are ideal to use in the classroom or homeschooling situation. I have been impressed with the wealth of information Carole P. Roman has put in this story. I look forward to adding more of her book to my library.

 

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

 

 

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages

Carole P. Roman



If there is one thing that homeschoolers can’t ever seem to get enough of it is history books! When those history books have multi-age appeal, they are even more enticing. If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages, by Carole P. Roman, definitely fits that bill! Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of more than 35 children’s books in the well-known series Captain No Beard, If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Country series, If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Ancient Times series, and more.

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages is a 97-page softcover book (including an extensive 13-page glossary of medieval names and terms at the end of the book). It covers numerous aspects of medieval life from the feudal system, to religious life, to medicine, and even to the clothing of the day. There are charming pictures on every page. The content of the book is appropriate for all ages, so it can be used as a read aloud for the youngest children, but makes a great independent read for older elementary children and up. If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages costs $19.99.

There is much to appreciate about this book. The author manages to pack a lot of information into what is essentially a very long picture book. The number of pictures makes the book less threatening to students who may not like history or who may be intimidated by having to learn a lot of information about one subject. The inclusion of a comprehensive glossary means that the author can use historically correct terms and not “dumb down” the time period.

Unfortunately, I also have some issues with this book. There are numerous grammar errors. I know that that is not atypical for self-published books, but it is a harder pill to swallow in books that are billed as educational (especially when they are targeted to homeschoolers). Some errors, like simple spelling errors (“dias” instead of “dais”) and misplaced commas, are easier to understand, but sentence fragments make the text awkward, and some errors make the reading unintentionally comical: “A boy called a turnbrocie constantly turned the slab of meat so that it roasted evenly. Smaller spits cooked ducks, chickens, geese, swans, and doves. The fireplace was big, so he could stand up in it and cook was known to cook oxen at the same time.” My kids burst out laughing when I read this sentence. They must have gone through a lot of turnbrocies in the Middle Ages! These errors are relatively minor and would probably go unnoticed by most people, but the factual historical errors are of a little more concern.

First, let me preface this section of my review with a disclaimer. One of my undergraduate degrees is in history, with a strong concentration of study in this time period. That degree comes from a Catholic university, which is not a coincidence, as I am Catholic. I mention these things to explain why certain things in this book leapt out at me (and my children) as I read the book. The most egregious error in the book is the definition of a holy relic as something a saint had owned or touched (in the context of its being the object of a pilgrimage). Pilgrims undertook the arduous journeys described in this book not to venerate something owned or touched by a saint, but to venerate the saint him/herself! For example, the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are on their way to Thomas Becket’s shrine where Becket himself is buried. While something a saint touched is technically a relic, it is not the class of relic that would be the object of a religious pilgrimage (either in the Middle Ages or today).

Another sentence that causes me trouble says, “The king had to adhere to the rules or he could be excommunicated, and that was heresy.” No. Heresy is defined as a false teaching. Excommunication is formally excluding someone from the sacramental life of the Church. If anything, the author has the relationship backward. To persist in heresy is to risk excommunication, but being excommunicated is not a heresy.

There are more errors like this is in sections dealing with religion. I realize, of course, that this is not a religion text, but it does purport to teach about the religious life of the Middle Ages; thus, what it says about that subject should be correct. Given the facts that the author herself makes the point that religion was a large part of a person’s life in the Middle Ages, it bears getting it right.

Overall, this book will likely appeal to many homeschoolers. It presents a nice, gentle introduction to the Middle Ages. If, in a future edition, it underwent stringent copyediting, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

 

—Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

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