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Book Reviews

If You Were Me and Lived in...Portugal

A Child's Introduction to Cultures around the World

Reviewed by

Roman has embedded her latest cultural education book with precise yet lighthearted fun.

Veteran social studies teacher and award-winning author Carole P. Roman has added another installment to her series of picture books that entices children to explore other cultures. If You Were Me and Lived In…Portugal introduces young people to a section of the Iberian Peninsula through the eyes of local children who answer questions such as: What kind of food would you eat if you lived here? What games would you play? Where would you go on vacation?

Although this pleasing book is written specifically for preschoolers and early readers, caregivers will also enjoy teaching their burgeoning cultural liaisons about the specifics of Portugal. This book could be read at home, but it could also be used as a helpful tool in the classroom. The index of Portuguese words (including phonetic spellings), located in the back of the book, aids in a beginning understanding of Portuguese language and pronunciation.

The book itself is expertly packaged and the perfect size for small hands to explore on their own. The full-page illustrations of cartoon faces and colorful backdrops beautifully interlace photographs of the actual landscape with original drawings. The illustrations of Lisbon and the celebration of the Portugal Carnevale are joyful and intriguing.

Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in… series is formulaic but provides steady quality. Within their similarities, each book does not lack in individual details. When describing the food of Carnevale, Roman writes with a childlike voice, “You would have to find some extra room to eat pudim abade de priscos (poo-deem a-bade- de- pre-cos). This meaty cake is served with bacon-flavored caramel and honey-baked figs. Yum!”

If You Were Me and Lived in…Portugal will capture the attention of young minds seeking to learn about the world and its diverse populations. Books like this play an important role in increasing cultural understanding and curiosity in the youngest learners, and Roman has embedded her latest book with precise yet lighthearted fun.

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