In the latest installment of Roman’s successful If You Were Me and Lived In… series, young readers can travel to Peru to learn about their peers’ lives and culture.
Having previously whisked elementary age readers to France, Mexico and India, among other countries, Roman’s series sets out for Peru with the aim of helping kids learn about the similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of Peruvians. First, the book situates Peru in South America and describes the capital city, Lima, which Roman notes “comes from an old Indian word, limaq (li-mack), which means ‘talker.’ ” As usual, Roman writes in a straightforward, engaging manner, exploring everyday life in Peru from the perspective of a child. For example, readers learn details such as what kids call their parents—“You would call your mommy, Mami (Mam-mee). When you see your daddy, you would call him Papi (Pap-pee)”—and what games they play: “You would love to play the game sapito (sa-peet-o) with your friends. You would place a palm-size toy frog in the center of many boxes and try to throw a coin into its mouth. Whoever got the most coins in the frog would win.” Roman describes other aspects of Peruvian culture, like the cuisine (ceviche, fried guinea pig, potatoes) and Carnival (a February festival in which “everybody has squirt guns, water balloons, and buckets of water,”) as well as tourist attractions like Machu Picchu. The story features colorful images and photographs of Peru that depict scenes from the text and help kids further understand what they’re reading. For instance, when Roman asks if readers can figure out what a “muñeca” is, the next page has a drawing of dolls, and a book-ending pronunciation key includes its definition. With such a focus on kid-friendly topics, it’s easy to see how young Americans and Peruvians aren’t that different from each other after all.
Roman successfully puts another pin on the map in this educational, engaging story about diversity and understanding other cultures.