Title: If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal: A child’s introduction to cultures around the world | Author: Carole P. Roman | Publication Date: June 4, 2014 | Publisher: Red Feather Publishing | Pages: 28 | Recommended Age: 3 to 8
Summary: Award winning and best selling author Carole P. Roman travels to beautiful Portugal. This pro active book invites children to think about Portugal’s many wonders from the sunny Azores to the wide variety of food.
Roman’s “If You Were Me” books have a simple, winning formula: portray children from other countries and explain how familiar items and customs are the same, and how they differ, in the country being discussed… The appeal of Roman’s “If You Were Me” series is that this information is not offered in the bland style of an encyclopedia entry, but rather as part of a tour of real life in India…It’s this organic conversational tone that keeps the book interesting and inspires kids’ own curiosity for other cultures.” Peter Dabbene The Foreword Review
Join Carole P. Roman as she takes you to explore the friendly country of Portugal!
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My Thoughts: If You Were Me and Lived in… Portugal is one of the latest books in the If You Were Me and Lived In… educational picture book series by Carole P. Roman. We received this book during the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament; so, it was very timely in terms of educating my children about various countries from around the world that they may not have encountered before but which figured prominently in the tournament. We were amused to see that a tiny Portuguese flag came with the book, so the kids enjoyed waving it in support of the Portuguese soccer team. Interestingly, Ronaldo even makes a cameo appearance in the book!
Similar to the other books in the series, If You Were Me and Lived in… Portugalintroduces the reader to the foods (e.g., arroz do arisco, francesinha), currency (euros), geography (e.g., Iberian peninsula, Azores), history, and other cultural aspects of Portugal (e.g., Carnevale, barcelos). As with Carole Roman’s other books in the series (e.g., South Korea, Mexico, etc.), I must admit that there were tidbits of information even I did not know. While there is quite a bit of information, it is well-presented and is not overly-complicated.
Sprinkled throughout the text are phrases in Portuguese which are then translated in the back of the book in a “Pronunciation” section. It was very helpful to have a pronunciation guide as even I could not decipher some of the words. My only issue with the Portuguese phrases is that I would have liked to have seen the English translations on the page itself rather than having to check the back. But, on the other hand, children may also enjoy trying to guess what is being said.
The illustrations are detailed and kid-friendly and I really loved how photographs were used in conjunction with caricatures. For example, the beauty of the Azores can only be captured through photography and they would not be nearly as impressive if the landscapes had been drawn. Interestingly, the author choose to have white text over a black/dark background. I did feel that this darkened the book slightly and would have preferred a variation of the reverse (black text on white background or at least the use of brighter colors). Overall though, the physical book is eye-catching and I’m sure children will enjoy flipping through the pages.
My Bottom Line: If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal is another educational book centred around the exploration of various aspects of the Portuguese culture from the perspective of a child. The book is full of interesting tidbits about Portuguese food, language, geography, celebrations, and much more. I highly recommend this non-fiction series to parents, grandparents, librarians, and teachers who wish to introduce cultural diversity to children aged 3 years and older.
About The Author: Carole P. Roman
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born. It has followed with four more books to the series. Motivated by her love of yoga, Roman has also written a book that not only teaches four poses, but shows how easy and accessible yoga can be.
She has just finished the first of six books in a groundbreaking new nonfiction series about culture around the world. “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.
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