Tuesday, November 29, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America by Carole P. Roman Book Review

This is a review I did earlier for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. 

My family has come to appreciate Carole P. Roman’s books and her way of drawing your imagination back into history. After recently being introduced to her books, my kids get excited when we sit down with one.

The most recent book If You Were Me and Lived In…Colonial America is a paperback book with 61 pages. The reading level is around 3rd to 6th grade. I feel that older children would enjoy reading this book. With younger kids, this could be a read out loud as the story is easy to follow along with.

The illustrator for this story is Sarah Wright who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She uses cartoon illustrations throughout the story. The background for the majority of the pages is black with the letters in white print. The scenes on the pages depict the simple life of early Colonial America.
The story starts out with a picture of London and how the city looks in present day and on the opposite page of how London looked in 1620.

Carole P. Roman’s layouts of her books are all the same. It starts out with a family scene talking about the common names of that era. For this particular story for a boy you might be named Comfort or Abraham. For girls it could be Patience or Mercy. The names tell you that this is a society were religion was important. The story portrays a Puritan family and their pursuit to practice their religious beliefs freely.

You are introduced to a time when Reformers and Protestants are considered a new religion. The Puritans are known as Separatists. It was illegal to be part of any other religion except what the ruler practiced. You are introduced to Queen Elizabeth and King James and how the religion of the day was changing with each new ruler.

Would you be scared as a child sailing across the ocean in the Mayflower and The Speedwell to an unknown land so you could worship freely? The story will tell you about historical information surrounding Colonial America with making new laws, the Mayflower Compact. What did you live in when you came to the shores of a new land? You will learn what you would eat, wear, plantations, natives, education, games, and chores. It even talks about how and when the Thanksgiving was first celebrated. The story is told from a child’s perspective.

I appreciate how Carole P. Roman doesn’t shy away from the hardships of the era. She portrays how difficult that first winter was, sickness, lack of food, death, and the reality of life then. She conveys the story in a way that isn’t going to scare children.

In the back of the book is short paragraph of information of six individuals who influenced the colonies. There is also six pages of glossary of the vocabulary are included in the back of the book. The glossary also includes pronunciation of the words.

This is a great introduction book for teaching your students about Colonial America and the events that led up to the Puritans coming over in the Mayflower and The Speedwell. There is enough of information for elementary kids to do a school research paper. Everything you need is in here without it being intimidating or getting overwhelmed with information.

This would make a good unit study. You could easily adapt the book into notebooking pages or even a lapbook. It could be added to just about any curriculum about this era in American history.
There are occasional questions throughout the book to encourage discussion of the topics. On Carole P. Roman’s blog, you will find two worksheets to print off to ask your students comprehensive questions about the book.

The only thing that I found hard was the black background with the white print. I have a daughter who has severe vision issues and this wasn’t something she could read herself as it was difficult for her to track the words. On the other side, my son didn’t have any problems with the books background or print. This was my only concern that I had with the book.

An issue that some may have is an issue about is their use of beer. It states that, “The one thing your family missed most was beer.” It goes on to say that, “You were reduced to drinking dangerous water and somehow survived.” This is the only part in the story that may be controversial to some.

We did this as a read out loud in my family. I had my 10 and 13 year old kids go back and forth reading to one another.

We have been working on Venn diagrams and writing research papers in language arts with my 10 year old son. I had him do a compare and contrast of life as a child now and back in Colonial America. He had to write a short story using the information he gathered from Venn diagram. Having all the information in one book made it easy for him. He wasn’t frustrated locating what he needed to do a report.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any library and is ideal to use in the classroom or homeschooling situation. I have been impressed with the wealth of information Carole P. 

Roman has put in this story. I look forward to adding more of her book to my library.

-Product review by Renee K., The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September, 2016

I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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