We recently had an opportunity to use and review 4 books by Carole P. Roman with Away We Go Media that teaches children about different cultures around the world. We received :
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
The If You Were Me series was written for ages PreK-8 years old. These books were designed to teach children about different cultures, allowing them to appreciate different cultures while at the same time showing them that people around the world are basically the same. Each of the books follow a similar format. The first page shows a picture of the country and the capital. The second page shows where on the globe the country is located. The next page discusses the capital city. Then the book talks about common names of the country, what you call your parents, what type of money is used, and where you purchase food. Then there is a page on where you would take family that visits, and where you would take them to eat, the most popular sport, national holiday, and where children go to school. Each book finishes with the words, " So now you see, if you were me, how life in France will really be" and an illustration of children holding hands around the globe. Each of the pages are beautifully illustrated with two children from the country you are reading about taking you on a tour of the country through the book. At the end of the book there is a pronunciation guide for the words that are used in the book. Three of the books (France, Mexico, South Korea) are available in paperback format for $8.99. Norway is the newest book and is available for $10.79. The books are also available for Kindle and Nook. Click here for more information on ordering.
I used the If You Were Me... books as read alouds for my 4,6, and 8 year olds. We used a little globe to find the country we were talking about and took at look at where that country was in relation to where we lived. We also talked about how we would get there if we were going to travel to that country. We read one book each day starting with Mexico, then France, Norway, and South Korea. We have read the books several times over the last couple of weeks.
I think the books are a great introduction to different countries and cultures for this age group. It includes many topics that the children can relate to. The text is short making the book a quick and easy read for those with short attention spans. The illustrations are very colorful and interesting. Since the books all follow a similar format, it is easy for children to see the similarities of different people around the world. I like that the books not only covered countries were are somewhat familiar with like France and Mexico but also countries we didn't know very much about like Norway and South Korea. Adding the pronunciation guide in the back was very helpful as well. Our favorite book was If You Were Me and Lived In...Norway. The children really liked the Kirkenes Snowhotel, skiing, and the dogsleds.
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