If You Were Me and Lived in Poland…Brazil…Israel: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman and Illustrator Kelsea Wieranga

Reviewed by Teri Davis

How do you prepare yourself to travel abroad? Do you research your destinations to be certain to visit those places that interest you or do you just wander aimlessly to embrace the culture of the country?

It seems logical to know a little about a foreign country you plan to visit and to have a little introduction to the culture and to learn a little of the language.

Even those Carole Roman’s books appear to have an audience of children; these are an excellent introduction to the basic knowledge needed to enjoy traveling to any country.

ach book perfectly parallels the text with the pictures giving the reader an expectation of the sites of each country.

Beginning each book is a geography lesson explaining the shape of each country and its placement regarding its continent and other countries surrounding it. Also, a little history is included as well as what the people are called while the illustrations allow any tourist to see how the people are dressed and what is acceptable in their public areas.

For each country, their capital city is the focus including a unique tourist attraction nearby. Depending on each, discussion about a nearby river and the common religion is included.

Each book also has pages about the common proper names used in each country and the terms for brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, and father.
For everyone’s benefit, shopping along with the money system and the everyday terms is a focus along with the illustration of their money. Also are the typical foods of the country with the pictures showing how they are usually eaten.

While visiting each country, the favorite tourist sites and celebrations are included along with the usual hobbies, toys, events, and sports.

Most important are the last pages which are the vocabulary for the book along with the definitions and most importantly, the pronunciations.

If You Were Me and Lived in Poland, I find it surprising that as you walk around Warsaw and sit on a black stone bench to rest, you can press a button on it and listen to the beautiful music of their native son, Frederick Chopin. I would love to visit the Wieclicza Salt Mine near Krakow. This salt mine has been used since the thirteenth century. Supposedly in the chapel, yes there is a chapel inside the salt mine, the acoustics are the best in Europe.

If You Were Me and Lived in Brazil, visiting the Amazon Rain Forest is almost a requirement for visiting the country. Imagine this place that has the most diversity of life with thousands of plants, insects, fishes, and birds as well as monkeys, parrots, toucans, and turtles. The Annual Carnival of Brazil is a delight to see and experience with colorful costumes and parades filled with dancing and singing.

If You Were Me and Lived in Israel, I loved the section about the history of the walled city of Jerusalem and how Suleiman split the city into four section with each having its unique identity. The idea of floating in the Dead Sea is exciting. I can’t imagine being at the lowest place on Earth, or perhaps inside the planet since it is 1371 feet below sea level. Being salty, supposedly it is very easy to float even in a sitting position.

Carole Roman’s books are for those who enjoy traveling whether they visit through these excellent books or for those who get to see these
special places of Poland, Brazil and Israel.