I am a big fan of Carole P. Roman and her “If You were Me and Lived In…” series.
I love how Mrs. Roman takes facts about a specific era in history and spins the threads of information into an engaging tale. Rather than a fictional story, she provides us with first person narratives, related by child characters, who bring us into their very real world. In any given era, we learn about the child’s way of life, her or his family, what clothing is typical, what foods are common. We learn how men and women spend their lives, whether their focus is supporting their families or having a larger role in the community. We learn what a typical child’s education focused on, and how this education could and often did differ for boys and girls. While the stories, told from a child’s perspective, generally initiate from the perspective of their own families, the narrator’s also include information about other types of families and adults – those who pursue different vocations, or live in a different class or economic situation.
These narrators are, for me, what make the books. They really bring the experiences of the time to life. It’s all so real feeling and so relatable, that you could be reading about a child who lives around the corner, rather than from centuries past. Mrs. Roman has a wonderful gift for replicating the conversational tone unique to children.
Like her other titles that I’ve reviewed, in If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England Mrs. Roman shares all of these, as well as her standard glossary and list of famous people to know about from the era. That’s an important note: These are not tallies of dates and names, but living books sharing about the real, common lives of people that tend to be overlooked. However, in each volume in the series, she includes a list of names and illustrations of famous people of the era. Next to each person, there’s a short blurb regarding the origin of the person’s notability. Some of these will be passed over by the reader, while others will spark curiosity. They’re all great starting points for further investigation by the curious reader.
I also was really exited to see the images Mrs. Roman selected for the pictures of the famous people in this particular book. They are period portraits, and a wonderful way not only to provide a real feel for the art of the period, but also, if you and your child are so inclined, an excellent touch point for art study.
I received a copy of this book at no cost for review purposes.
My opinions are my own.
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