Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag by Carole P. Roman


Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (34 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 5+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

From award-winning author Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day.

It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn’t want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away?

Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.

I’ve read many of the If You Were Me books by this author so it was fun to see that Ms. Roman has written her first chapter book.

It’s a cute read and one I know that children will love reading or having read to them.

The main character Susannah hasn’t finished her homework, has parents who always seem to be in a hurry, she hates oatmeal, isn’t fond of bananas yet one is in her school bag. And unlike the other kids at school, she can’t decide what book she wants to read. This all somehow causes her bag to get fuller and fuller until the zipper breaks and the bag gets stuck under the bed.

It’s a funny tale but with a message that sometimes what we perceive to be true isn’t always the case. Susannah’s parents might seem busy but they have time for her and that we all face the same dilemmas in life and it’s always parents who come to the rescue…if you let them.

A fun read that I think would be great to read during the summer break with your children or grandchildren as they get ready to head back to school.

If You Were Me and Lived in Cuba by Carole P. Roman


If You Were Me and Lived in Cuba by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short (26 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Age Recommendation: 6+
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the exciting island of Cuba in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the Caribbean to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the country through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place.

Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.

This time we’re off to Cuba in Ms. Roman’s continuing series of If You Were Me… books.

I’ve lost count how many I’ve read but each one is just as enjoyable as the last. I read this book not knowing a lot about Cuba and by the time I’d finished it, I knew about its capital city Havana, it’s history and Spanish roots.

What I like most about these books is the way they’re told from a child’s point of view and what day to day life would be like if you lived anywhere besides your home town.

These are books that can be read with an adult or without and a fun collection to have on hand for homeschoolers.

I loved that this one focused on places you’d go and things you’d eat. As always, the author provides a detailed glossary at the back to further explain words and expand your know of both the culture and history of the area.

If You Were Me and Lived in Germany by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in Germany by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Children’s Reader
Length: Short (30 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the beautiful land of Germany in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the central Europe to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.

I always enjoy the If You Were Me books by Carole Roman and this is the first one about a country I’ve actually visited.

All the books in this series are very entertaining (yes, even for adults). I learn something new from each one I read, so I think they’re an ideal resource for teaching children about different cultures and countries.

This one focused on where Germany is located, its capital, what your name would be, and then described what you would eat, places to see, and even Oktoberfest. A couple of interesting facts I learned after reading this book were that the oldest sun observatory was built 7,000 years ago in Germany. And that Germany is, in fact, home to the oldest savings bank.

Once again another fun read and I recommend them to you especially if you have a child working on a school project or even if you homeschool your children.

If You Were Me and Lived in The Ancient Mali Empire by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in The Ancient Mali Empire by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Children’s Reader
Length: Short (68 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman as she travels back in time to visit the exciting Ancient Empire of Mali in Africa during the 1300s. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the past to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land and its rich history through the eyes of a youngster like you. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair time traveler.

The blurb on the back of this title says that you should check out this series so you can be an armchair traveler, and that’s exactly how I feel each time I read books in this series.  In this case, not just a geographic traveler but a time traveler too. This one focused on the Mali Empire. I hadn’t read anything about it prior to reading this title so let’s just say I learned a lot. Ms. Roman manages to pack a ton of information into these short reads and they’re always nicely illustrated too (this time by Mateya Arkova).

This book not only described what life would have been like but also tells you about how the empire shaped modern day Sudan.

The area was an important part of the trading route for both China and Europe and one thing I learned was it was rich in salt and gold…both of which were important commodities. Both government and religion played vital roles in society and shaped the future of this region.

Once again a fascinating read for both adults and children. If you homeschool children I think these books would make a good resource for your at home library.

If You Were Me and Lived in The Mayan Empire by Carole P. Roman


If You Were Me and Lived in The Mayan Empire by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade Reader
Length: Short (54 Pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Viking Europe, and what children who lived during the Han Dynasty did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

I think this might be one of my favorite of the If You Were Me books by Carole Roman. I’ve enjoyed all of them but I thought this was full of facts that I never knew and I think children will find it a fascinating read that will encourage them to find out more about the civilization.

This book not only described what life would be like if you’d lived as a Mayan but the author touched upon Mayan practices that I’d never read before like parents binding their baby’s heads in order to get the sloped forehead that the Mayans found attractive.

I especially liked the last section that grouped together all the Mayan achievements and contributions to society including them preparing the most accurate calendar, and also performing brain surgery.

Two other interesting facts I found out from reading this book were that the most important contribution they made to mathematics was the concept of zero and that they mapped the night skies without using a telescope.

This is a book I highly recommend for not only your only enjoyment but I think it would make an ideal gift for your children or grandchildren too.

If You Were Me and Lived On Mars by Carole P. Roman


If You Were Me and Lived On Mars by Carole P. Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Sci-Fi
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman when she blasts off to colonize the planet Mars, in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about how life would be living on the Red Planet. Travel to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Look into the sky and watch Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ two moons. Discover what you would wear, and how the seasons change. See Mars through the eyes of an adventurous youngster like you and understand what life is like in a trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair traveler.

I’ve lost count how many of the If You Were Me And Lived… books I’ve read and reviewed and I’ve yet to find one that I didn’t find entertaining.

This is the first one that didn’t focus on a country and instead the author chose an outer space theme.

It’s fun to read and nicely illustrated by Marteya Arkova. I learned a lot from just these few pages. Things like how long it would take to get to Mars and that you’d have to stay there at least two years until Earth and Mars are once again at their shortest distance from each other.

As with the other books, the authors uses the scenario that you live with you parents and describes what live would be like. In this book, you go to Mars with your parents where your father is a scientist who is helping farm the red planet, and your mother is a doctor.

This is another fun and educational book that is ideal to read with your children or grandchildren.

One to Ten, Squirrel’s Bad Day by Carole P Roman


One to Ten, Squirrel’s Bad Day by Carole P Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Length: Short (37 Pgs)
Rating: 5 Stars
Age Recommendation: 3+
Review by: Stephanotis

Squirrel is rushing along a tree limb when she trips, losing all her acorns into the rushing water of the river below. Angry and frustrated, she doesn’t know what to do. Her good friend, Rabbit, lends both a sympathetic ear as well as a solution.

Rather than get angry, Rabbit tells her, rate the problem on a scale of one-to-ten. By identifying and realizing the true importance of the issue, the issue may not seem so overwhelming.

Adorable forest creatures help the sad squirrel put everything into perspective so he does not to get stuck in a rut over something that may not be a big deal after all.

What a fun book! It has a wonderful message and is beautifully illustrated by Mateya Arkova.

The story is about a squirrel that slips and drops all the acorns he’s gathered. He watches them slowly float down the river and becomes sad. Along comes his friend, a rabbit, who tries to cheer him up and offers him a way to compare this disaster to others in his life. He has to rate certain things on a scale of one to ten with ten being very bad.

What I loved most about this book is the author chose situations that most children can relate to like getting bad grades at school, grandparents moving away, parents divorcing, and even bad weather ruining your outdoor games.

While reading it I thought that its theme isn’t just for children but actually for all of us. When you’re having a bad day or something terrible happens if you put it on a scale of one to ten it doesn’t seem so bad.

I’d recommend this book to parents to read with their children and maybe use it as a tool to open up a discussion about feeling down or how to get over something bad happening in your life.

The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen


The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical (1950s), Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full (294 pgs)
Age recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.

A rich and charming tour de force, The Mutual Admiration Society showcases Lesley Kagen’s marvelous storytelling talents. Laced with heartwarming humor and heartbreaking grief, this novel is nothing short of magical.

How can I categorize this novel? I don’t think I can because it’s part Nancy Drew-like mystery, part family drama, and yes, it’s lots of fun to read.

The first thing I liked about this book was its main character and narrator Tessie Finley. She’s a likeable young girl who’s lost her father, doesn’t have the best relationship with her mother but along with her sister, Birdie, she’s making the most of it. She’s quirky, funny, sometimes adorable and when she thinks she’s seen a murder, she turns amateur detective. Along with her sister they set out to solve the crime, form the Mutual Admiration Society, and that’s when the fun really begins.

The book is set in 1959 which I think was perfect for the story and setting. I loved Tessie’s use of lists and the fact and proof entries as she tries to solve the crime. Her voice comes across strong in this story and some of the dialogue has you laughing out loud.

I’d say that not only will young adults enjoy this story but adults too. I haven’t read anything else written by this author but this first introduction to her work has made me want to check out some other titles. If you’re looking for a quirky mystery with some family drama thrown in, this is probably one you’d enjoy.

If You Were Me and Lived In Poland by Carole P Roman


If You Were Me and Lived In Poland by Carole P Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade
Length: Short (30 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits Poland in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to Eastern Europe to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.

I’ve not read too many books about Poland so I was anxious to dive into this one to find out more and as always with this author’s books, there are some fascinating facts such as the Polish Constitution was written in 1791 making it the first in Europe and second in the world.

There are stories about mermaids and dwarves that can be found around Warsaw. And like the other titles, Ms. Roman includes what it’s like to be a child growing up in Poland and offers information such as foods, currency, sports and schooling.

There’s even a section on the Wiellcza Salt Mine which is believed to have the best acoustics than any other structure in Europe.

This is another fun filled book with illustrations by Kelsea Wierenga that I recommend for you to read with your children or grandchildren.

If You Were Me and Lived In Viking Europe by Carole P Roman


If You Were Me and Lived In Viking Europe by Carole P Roman
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade
Length: Short (70 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Hop in our time travel machine and join Carole P. Roman as she visits a Viking settlement in the year 890 AD.

Learn what your name could be and the kind of food you might eat. Read about the different levels of society, how they affect where you would live, and the type of clothing you might wear.

Mateya Arkova’s beautiful illustrations illustrate what Vikings ate and their children did for fun.

If You Were Me and Lived in.. Viking Europe is an exciting trip that shows a colorful culture through the eyes of a child.

I’m a fan of this author’s books and also of history titles so I’m glad I got to review this one. Before I read it I only knew a handful of things about the Vikings but after reading it i discovered so many new things. It has in fact, inspired me to find out more on each of the topics the author uncovered.

While we think of Vikings as the men who pillaged and plundered, there was actually more to their journeys than that. Through reading this book I found out that the Vikings were actually great tradesman and often negotiated deals without the whole pillage and plunder element.

The book covered in much detail about what it was like to live in a Viking settlement and what classes there were and what life would be like for you. Boys and girls were treated very differently and grandmothers played a vital role in society. There is even information about romance and alliances that were drawn to keep them safe and strong.

The illustrations by Mateya Arkova are perfect for the text and once again I enjoyed reading this book and encourage you to check it out.