Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Carole P. Roman Writes Fabulous History Books for Children! {A Review}

A couple of years ago, my family was happily introduced to children's author Carole P. Roman when we reviewed several titles from her If You Were Me and Lived In... collection.  Since then, we've revisited those titles quite a number of times when working on self-directed projects, sharing at co-op classes, and studying different cultures and historical periods; thus we were delighted to add to our children's history book collection by reviewing three more titles from Carole P. Roman books and collections this past month:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 9)
If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 3)

If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 4)

A Well-Written Collection of Children's History Books

Like all of the books in the
If You Were Me and Lived In... historical collection, the three books we reviewed this time were written for children ages 8-15, but can appeal to younger and older folks, too

Written in story-like form with full-color illustrations, each book packs a lot of information into an engaging format and encourages readers to place themselves in the shoes of someone living in a different era in history

For younger children, the books make a great introduction to different time periods and cultures.  For older children (and adults!) the books offer an opportunity to review prior knowledge while discussing interesting facts, concepts, and historical figures
.  The illustrations and style of writing invite all ages to learn and enjoy with the books!

Each of the books in this series also has extra features: a glossary, factual information about historical figures, lists of gods, etc. This works to bridge the books from being interesting reading about historical time periods to working as more classic children's research books. 

We find our
books from the If You Were Me and Lived In... historical collection work equally well for enjoyment and for targeted learning.  When we snuggle up to enjoy them as read alouds, wonderful discussions and connections ensue.  When we are diving into historical studies and independent projects, we revisit the books as resources. For us, Carole P. Roma's children's collection makes history engaging and easy to access. 

The Children's Thoughts

When I sat down to write this review, I asked each of my children which their favorite title was.  Since they each chose a different title, I thought I would have them write specific title reviews for you.

My daughter, at ten, had this to say about her favorite title:
If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America is basically about the pilgrims.  It is about a boy, and takes you through what the pilgrims were, why they left England, why they left Holland, and what life was like when they reached the New World.  It said how boy and girl pilgrims dressed and talked about how they spent time.  It gives a good, quick summary of what it would be like to be a pilgrim.
If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America is my favorite of the books we got for this review, because I like American history better than other history, and I like this book's design.  The illustrations are simple, but help you see the main points.  I also like how the the text in most of this book is white printed on a dark background.  It makes the text pop out more.
The story itself is simple and fun.  I listened to part of it read aloud without looking at the illustrations and was able to get pictures in my mind.  I have a lot of background about pilgrims.  However, I learned something new: The pilgrims used corn in a lot of things.  Many other books don't talk about food so much, unless they are books about food.  This book, like all the books in this series, helps you see what a normal person's everyday life is like.

Most books about history are about famous people.  I like this one, because it tells what it would be like for an average person in daily life  I would recommend this book to people who want an easy overview of colonial America with fun illustrations and the point of view of an average person's life.

My twelve-year-old son liked If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe best.

I like the Middle Age time period a lot, so the Viking book was my favorite of the ones we got to review this time.  I actually even prefer this Viking one to the the middle ages book that we reviewed before, because I prefer Norman, Danish and English history to books about the general middle ages, so reading about the Vikings was interesting.

I learned some new things in this book.  For example guests drank from horns so they could not put down their drinks until they were done or passed their drinks along. (It's disgusting that they passed drinks along.)  There are 24 characters in the Viking alphabet.  And, you measured your age by how many winters you lived through. 

Most people just know Vikings pillaged and conquered.  In this book, you learn that not all Vikings did that and can also learn what Vikings did when they weren't fighting.  In fact, they did not even have a standing army.  Instead, men fought for the king when they were needed, but, at other times, they lived regular lives.

This book talks about food, clothing, customs, famous Vikings, and more.  It was informative, and I would recommend it to people who like history. It's a story that helps learn as is you were there in Viking times.

My seven-year-old son could not decide between liking If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan Empire best because of its illustrations or liking If You Were Me and Lived in...Viking Europe because of its story, so he decided to tell you about both books.

I liked all the books we got!  My two favorite were the Mayan and the Viking book.

I liked the Mayan book, because it has well-done illustrations.  They have a darker palette and are cartoonish, but still realistic.  (The plants on page 12 are so real, and so are the corn, vegetables, and forest in the book!) The illustrations compliment the text.

For example, on page 14, it talks about how shells were crushed to make paint and the picture is of someone painting the walls.  I can imagine what life was like.

I didn't like the illustrations in the Viking book as much, because they look more blurry to me and have white splotches and dots on the, like on the clothing, the ground, ...  What I liked about the book was the information.  I didn't know a lot about Vikings before, but now I know more.

I learned that their houses were shaped a little like boats, their mothers were called
moder, and women wore broaches with richer women wearing necklaces that attached to the broaches.  The book was filled with facts about the Viking's clothing, home life, gods, and more. I learned some stuff!

I would recommend this series to people who want to learn facts about history or review history.  The books in this series are like stories with facts about history which make them fun to read!

Who Is Carole P. Roman?

Carol P. Roman is a mom who took a dare from one of her sons to write a book and has since gone on to author over dozens of children's books and to win over 100 awards for both her fiction and non-fiction books.

Among her books are the collection I have been talking about and also:

  • If You Were Me and Lived in… Cultural (for ages 4-9+), which takes readers into geography and culture.

  • Captain No Beard (for ages 3-8), which offer male and female characters (modeled after Carole's grandchildren) who get up to fun and adventure as they use their imaginations and teach tender lessons about sharing, stranger dangers, asking for help, bullying, and more.

  • Bedtime Series, One to Ten (for ages 4-8), which teaches readers to evaluate a problem by giving it a number and to put it into the right perspective.
  • Rocket-Bye (for ages 2-8), which was Carole's love letter to my grandsons in the form of a trip to the stars.
  • Can a Princess be a Firefighter? (for ages 2- forever), which was Carole's love letter to her granddaughters, encouraging you to reach for your dreams.

  • Oh Susannah (for ages 7-12), which is Carole's newest series which presents life lessons in short chapter books. 
We've reviewed several of these before and find the history ones are our hands-down favorite!  Carole P. Roman just has a way of integrating plenty of history into one readable picture book.

Bonus:  Carole offers free worksheets to go along with some of her books on her blog for those that benefit from those sorts of things.

Learn More

If you'd like to hear what others think about Carole P. Roman books, click through to find links to reviews from 100 Homeschool Review Crew families!

You can also visit Carole P. Roman on social media at:

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