If you were me and lived in… (Crew Book Review)
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About this history series
Carole P. Roman has written dozens of books, including a series about cultures around the world that first used the title phrase “If You Were Me and Lived in…” Now she has a new series out with a similar idea, but this time looking at civilizations throughout history.
There are currently eight softcover books in this series for elementary aged children), each exploring a different historical setting: If You Were Me and Lived in…
- Ancient Greece
- Renaissance Italy
- Elizabethan England
- Colonial America
- Ancient China: The Han Dynasty
- the Middle Ages
- the American West
- Viking Europe
Each book introduces important events and people from that era, as well as information about homes, clothes, meals, education, games children played, and common names. Pronunciation guides help children learn new vocabulary words, and colorful illustrations on every page help them visualize the text.
Since we’re sort of covering two periods of history right now (one with our family history cycle and one with our homeschool community that meets once a week), I chose to review If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 4) and If You Were Me and Lived in…the Middle Ages (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 6). Although varying lengths, both books were packed full of interesting information and were a great contribution to our studies.
When I chose If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America, I was expecting to read about life in the colonies before the American Revolution, but actually this book is limited to the experience of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation about a hundred years earlier. It begins with a discussion of the religious situation in England from the early 1500’s on, explaining why the the Separatists chose to leave the country and eventually headed for the New World. While mentioning the hardships that took the lives of many, the book doesn’t focus on how many people died, but rather talks about the accomplishments of the settlers who did make it through the first winter before moving on to details about the types of food you would have eaten, clothes you would have worn, and how you would have spent your time as a child living at Plymouth Plantation.
Although I find the title a bit misleading as far as the breadth of what is covered, I appreciated the information presented about these early settlers. Even if you’re not studying this period of history, this book would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving unit studying the Pilgrims.
The other book that fit in with our studies right now was If You Were Me and Lived in…the Middle Ages. Not only is the book almost twice as long as the one on “Colonial America” (97 pages), each page contains much more text and is more appropriate for upper elementary readers.
This is a fascinating look at life in the middle ages, covering a wide range of topics, from the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of feudalism, and William the Conqueror to the process of becoming a knight, religious life (including the building of cathedrals), and various vocations.
There’s so much here, we haven’t even gotten all the way through the book yet.
The publisher also generously sent us two additional titles to review.
Although I haven’t read any of this book with the kids yet, If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China: The Han Dynasty will be a great resource to pull out the next time we cover ancient history. The Hans ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, one of the longest dynasties in Chinese history. This period is often called the Golden Age of Ancient China, so the book provides an intriguing look at a unique civilization that in many ways was so different than that of the Ancient Romans living at the same time.
It is similar to the book on the Middle Ages as far as the reading level, with multiple paragraphs on each pages, though this one is only 76 pages long (including the pages on Important People in Ancient China and the glossary). I’m looking forward to going through it with the kids in the future.
If You Were Me and Lived in…Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 2)
Our homeschool group will be moving onto the Renaissance this week, so we’re almost ready to pull out If You Were Me and Lived in…Renaissance Italy. With a special focus on Florence, this book looks at many of the exciting subjects that were being explored during the Renaissance, such as architecture, art, and music. It covers what life would be like as a child in the family of a wealthy merchant.
At 53 pages, this book is similar to the one we read on Colonial America as far as length, font size, and the amount of text on each page.
Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew received different titles in this series, so if you want to find out more about those, click on the banner below to get to their reviews!