Company Information: Carole P. Roman, award winning author, was challenged by her son to begin writing...and so she did! Her first book, Captain No Beard, was inspired by an imaginary game that she played with her grandson. Today's review are the first four books of her newest series, If You Were Me and Lived in..., a non-fiction series for children that travels the globe.
Product Reviewed: If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway (newest release, link not available yet), If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea, If You Were Me and Lived in...France, If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico, all in Kindle form.
Each of these books in this series, with a couple more to come, explores one country of the world. I received my copies in Kindle form, which I read from my Kindle iPad app, and are best read in panoramic view. Each book includes maps and other basic information about the country, interesting facts, popular names for boys and girls, Mommy and Daddy, the type of money used, a popular vacation spot, favorite foods, activities, holidays, and what school looks like. Each book is brief and easily read in one sitting, with full-color, hand-drawn illustrations.
Price: $0.99 each for the Kindle copy, except Norway book, which was $1.99. If you are interested in purchase information, you can find this information on her purchase page).
Age Range: Children under the age of 10 would probably enjoy this series the most. I read it to my 5-year-old, and he was able to understand easily.
Parental Preparation: Aside from syncing it to my Kindle iPad app, there was no preparation! If you'd like to do additional activities, that's up to you!
How We Used It:
I read these to my youngest during our afternoon read-aloud time, and he thoroughly enjoyed them. "Where do you want to go next?" I would ask. He would pick a country, and we'd take out our globe and try to find it. We'd read the story and then pick out an aspect to look into more in-depth. For example, when we read the book on Norway, we Googled the Kirkenes Snowhotel and took a tour. We learned that it was rebuilt every year out of snow and ice. When we read about France, Jonathan was interested in crepes, so we watched a video and tried our hand at making our own.
- The information in the books were written in a conversational tone, which made it sound like the kids were talking to us.
- The topics were of interest to children and were not complex. They followed pretty much the same pattern in each book so we could compare and contrast different countries as we read them.
- Though it took us only about five minutes to read each book, it gave us some ideas to explore afterwards that made it a lot of fun. It is very easy to use these books as a springboard to create a unit study or supplement one you are already doing.
- Having it available on the Kindle allows Jonathan to "read" it on a portable device and saves space on my shelves!
- The illustrations were appropriate for children, as if children drew them themselves. I liked the realistic aurora borealis sky in the Norway book, which gave Jonathan a picture of what it really looked like.
What We Didn't Like:
They do follow a "pattern" in each book, so there is not much variety in that way. My little one did not have a problem with it, and probably didn't even notice it. However, older children may find it too repetitive.
Sometimes the formatting in the Kindle made the text and pictures appear on different pages. It would be nice to have it read more like a real book, with text and pictures on the same page. But then again, maybe that's me not knowing how to use my Kindle app! I found that it worked best when I had it in landscape mode with a 2-page layout, but even then, sometimes the text of one page would match the picture on the next page. It just felt a little "off," if you know what I mean. (If anyone knows how to address this issue, feel free to do so in the comments. I'm not super tech savvy!)
Overall, I would say these are probably more interesting for the younger end of the "under 10" spectrum and provide a simple way to introduce different cultures and people to your kids in a friendly format. For older children, I would definitely spice it up with some extra activities, lap book or notebook pages, and activities. If I could figure out how to make it format correctly on my Kindle app, then I would enjoy it, but there were times when I wish I had the print book instead.
But at less than a dollar per Kindle book, this is an inexpensive way to take your kids to another country and learn about a different culture! Bon voyage!