Our world is home to over 7.8 billion people, distributed across the seven continents and hundreds of countries. Officially there are 195 recognised counties, or sovereign states, in the world (193 are member states of the United Nations and 2 are non-member observer states), although the United Nations Membership List doesn’t account for all countries and states so there could be as many as 251 or more. Of the 195 recognised countries how much do you know about them, their culture and their traditions and wouldn’t it be good if your children could learn more about them, even if just a few, places like Cuba for example?
In a world that is becoming increasingly smaller, the award-winning children’s author, Carole P. Roman has written a fun series of educational picture books that takes a look at different world cultures, giving a child’s introduction to different countries and cultures around the world. The If You We Me and Lived In … series makes learning about world cultures much more interesting and accessible for kids.
For this review, we are going to heading off into the hot and sunny climates of the northern Caribbean to visit the long and narrow island of the Republic of Cuba in If You Were Me and Lived in… Cuba.
If You Were Me and Lived in… Cuba is a children’s picture book, aimed at children aged 4-8 years old. Cuba is the biggest island in the Caribbean, but only the second most populated with 11.3 million inhabitants (Haiti just edges it with 11.4 million).
In this picture book, children can learn about how Havana, the capital city, was founded by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, the official language of the country is Spanish and that their currency is the Peso. You can also find out what different types of food are eaten by the Cubans, their love of exercise, sport and their festivals.
The snippets of facts are told from the point of view of a child (features boy and girl characters), making it very easy to read and for children to relate to.
As you travel around Cuba, from the comfort of your own home, you will obviously come across Spanish words. As young readers might find these difficult to read or pronounce, Carole P. Roman has addressed this and next to each unfamiliar word she has put in brackets the word broken down into child-friendly pronunciations.
Also as you work your way through the book, young readers will be asked if they can work out what certain Spanish words mean in the context of the story (tip: the beautiful illustrations will help and there is a glossary at the back of the book should you need it).
At the end of the book is a very handy glossary of the Spanish words, names and terms used within the book that brief descriptions of their meanings, with pronunciations.
Overall, If You Were Me and Lived in… Cuba is a very informative book that delivers some brief but interesting facts about the country, language and culture. It is a springboard to learning more about another country, what they do there and what they eat. Maybe you have relative there and want to know more, or maybe you just like learning about how other cultures live and go about their daily lives.
If You Were Me and Lived in… Cuba is an excellent book to ignite a child’s interest in another country, their culture and traditions, showing how they might be different people but how they are also the same. The information is delivered in a very child-friendly way and the beautiful illustrations by Kelsea Wierenga are well-drawn in a unique way and deliver just as much information as the text.
A factual, fun and enjoyable educational picture book. It is never too early to get children interested in other cultures, countries, the diversity of their inhabitants and Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in series gives an excellent starting point to instil the basic understandings of different places around the world.