Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 If You Were Me and Lived in... (A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World)


Egypt is an exciting country to study. It has a history stretching back ten thousand years. This book in the series (A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World), tells about what life is like for children who live in Egypt. They might live in the capital city of Cairo, near the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. You could travel on the Nile River in a felucca and listen to your grandparents tell stories of famous pharaohs from long ago. Or you could shop in the market and buy a snack like falafel or kushari. Imagine visiting the local museum and seeing toys that belonged to King Tut! Visitors from around the world visit to see the largest city in the middle-East and the second-oldest university in the world. Can you imagine living in the middle of all that history?

Italy is the home of Rome, Vatican City, and famous for its influence on Western Civilization as the center of the Roman Empire long ago. Carole P. Roman's book introduces young readers to all these facts and many more. A map shows Italy's location, and the illustrations show sites such as the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, and Olimpico Stadio. Children are shown that life in Italy is very similar to their own; kids visit their grandparents for dinner, cheer for their favorite team, and enjoy a trip to the ice cream parlor with their parents. Some things will seem very familiar like going to school or mother making ham and cheese sandwiches. Others will seem a little different, such as giving mimosa blossoms to women on International Women's Day.


The author's most award-winning title so far in her series, the book on Russia shares many of the foods and customs children living there enjoy. Meals with borscht, blini, or piroshki would be served by your parents. You might wear a fur hat called a shapka ushanka to keep you warm during the winter months. Perhaps your grandparents would come over to see what presents Grandfather Frost left under your New Year tree. It could be a new chess set, a soccer ball, or a set of nesting dolls. If you lived in Moscow, you would take visitors to Red Square to see the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral. Just imagine living in the most populated city in Europe! 

This series is great for a first taste of other countries and cultures. The length is short enough not to overwhelm young students. The pronunciation of foreign words is shown in parentheses within the text as well as in a guide at the back of the book (which also gives a definition or explanation). The balance of things that are similar and different between the two cultures keeps the information interesting without feeling too strange. A good set to have in an elementary school library or classroom.

I received a copy from the author for review purposes. For more information about the author and her many books, please visit http://caroleproman.com/.

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