How many of us have wondered what it would have been like to live in a different era? Perhaps even in a different country. This month we’ve been reviewing some books from children’s author Carole P. Roman that help our imaginations along in this direction.Carole P. Roman books and collections are a fun way to explore history and culture and encourage kids to practice their reading as well.
For our review, we chose three children’s books from Carole’s Historical Collection. This series of books provides an introduction to civilizations throughout time for kids aged 8 – 15 and was a terrific fit for our 11-year-old who enjoyed reading them to family members.
It was tough to decide on only three but we settled on Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England, and Viking Europe. This collection was an easy read for EJ plus it had him asking questions and wanting to find out more about the different eras.
There were a couple of features I especially liked from all three books; the listing and illustrations of important people to know from the era as well as a glossary of words (including phonetic pronunciations) at the end of each story. (Note: Each volume also includes the phonetic spelling of unusual words right in the text to help with readability.)
We also found some fun worksheets and resources on Carole’s blog to go along with a selection of her titles.
EJ had several comments on each of the books. For this title, he was happy to learn what people would have eaten during that time and why (we eat fish on Friday because we are Catholic but they did it to support the fisheries.)
He was also eager to hear about the games, activities, and some of the toys from the era (he says the cup and ball sound much like the hand-carved one he has.)
The illustrations fit with the title quite well but EJ would have liked to know what age boys were old enough to wear pants rather than guessing from the pictures (this initiated our first trip to Google to do some research.)
I was quite pleased with the amount of information included in this little book. The large font and abundance of illustrations made it fun and easy to read (as were the other titles we selected.)
The only issue EJ had was that the book started out as though it was written from a male perspective (the great-grandfather) but then switched to be about a girl and her family. I understand that about half of the historic collection is written from a girl’s perspective and a half from a boy’s and throughout it did talk about the girl’s brothers.
Opening the Viking Europe book we saw right away that the illustrations were different but they also suited the topic. And again, throughout the book, phonetic spelling was provided for unusual words to help a child (or adult) read it through without having to look things up in the glossary.
EJ thought it was ingenious that the animals shared a structure with the family (he thought this would make life much easier on cold mornings when he has to feed the chickens at the farm!) He loved imagining what life would have been like for a boy Viking.
As with the other titles, there is good coverage of the differences between classes even within the same time period. This is written in a way that connects with the young reader by explaining how their family would have lived in the different classes.
Being a fan of Renaissance art, EJ was happy to find a selection of illustrations depicting important art from the era in this book (his favorite is the Mona Lisa.)
Again, this title is clearly written and EJ said it made it so he could really understand what they were saying. Although this title was written from a girl’s perspective, he was ok with it since it started out that way from the beginning.
He was fascinated by the descriptions of the clothing and that children wore the same things as their parents, only smaller. he had to laugh as he imagined his baby brother wearing clothing stitched with gold and silver!
These historical readers are well written and help bring each era alive for young readers. Carole clearly understands how to reach them with her writing.
We really enjoyed reading these titles from Carole P. Roman and are trying to decide which other titles we might order next. Perhaps If You Were Me and Lived in…The American West or maybe one for MJ (he’s turning one) from the Captain No Beard collection (he’s a little young but loves having his big brother read to him!)
They are a great fit for our family and I’m sure would be for many of yours as well. I encourage you to visit the link below where you will find reviews of many more of Carole’s books and collections.