My boys love history, and we use a literature rich approach to teaching it, so the “If You Were Me and Lived in….” series Brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com. We received copies of four books:
I was super excited about this book for my 10 year old because he’s studying the Eastern Hemisphere in History this year, which I never studied much in school, and so I’ve been learning a lot along with him. His curriculum started with China, so this book fit right in. The book is focused on the Han Dynasty, which was a sort of renaissance period in China. Paper, porcelain, and organized government all started during the Han Dynasty. We ended up reading this book after my 10 year old had finished the study in his textbook about it, which was really great because he was able to reinforce some of the historical study he did with a cultural understanding of how that would translate into a life in a home during the Han period. He wasn’t a fan of the pixelated drawings (you’ll notice this is a theme for us) but the story is well told and easy to read. We did do some extra internet research to look at things like images of the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year so we could see the dragon dancers and lion dance. We’d never talked a lot about numerology before, and the book talks about how certain numbers and colors are considered lucky or unlucky, so we had a good conversation about how that’s true in a lot of cultures (in Judaism, for example, giving money in increments of 18 because the word “life” has a value of 10 and 8, so it’s considered good life or good luck.)
My 8 year old does not like history. Her brothers live for it, but she does not. So, the real test was how she’d do with these books! She’s studying ancient history this year (which I happen to think is the best!! Egypt! Greece! All the places I want to go!) and If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece fit in perfectly with her unit of study. This book took us about a week to finish, reading a few pages a day depending on the content. My 8 year old reads just at grade level, and doesn’t really like reading, but she did like the content, and was happy to read a few pages if I read the same number afterwards (a trick we use often). She appreciated that the unfamiliar words were written in parenthesis so that she could say them easily (words like Artemis (Ar-tim-es) or lyre (ly-er).
This was our last book and we read it just for fun in the car on our way to an away game. The kids preferred this style of illustration- it reminded them of a cartoon they like to watch. Strangely, my younger two didn’t like that most of the pages were white type on black- they said it was “confusing their eyes” but I didn’t have an issue. This book focuses on a family that has immigrated to Colonial America and must survive the harsh winter, build a home, and start a life in a very different place than England. The first Thanksgiving makes an appearance, so it might be a fun book to read over the upcoming holiday either in your school, class, coop, or home.
These were fun to read books, and reminded me of another series based on if you lived through a particular experience- but with less focus on the gross aspects and more focus on actual lifestyle. We enjoyed them, and think you would, too.