Saturday, March 25, 2017

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 is the newest of the Romans' picture book  series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations from various time periods.

The Ancient Mayan culture is mysterious to many readers.  Most people have some popular knowledge of the ancient Mayans but this book dispels myth from reality. Roman's picture history book sheds light on this mysterious ancient, yet taboo culture through the eyes of a young child growing up in a typical Ancient Mayan home.   The ancient culture is presented in its raw, uncensored entirety  As an educator and historian, Roman reports the culture as she sees it, without omitting even the distasteful elements of the culture.

The  various books in this series depict the art of different illustrators.  This particular volume features the art of the talented illustrator Paula  Tabor.  I especially enjoy her artwork.  Her bold illustrations in the foreground, with textured, photographs of various scenes are vivid as well as unique.  The textures of the grassy huts, and other textures of the building materials, foods and natural environment transport the reader to a new culture. The reader  will feels transported back into time- with the detailed authentic elements incorporated into the art.

Although this is formatted as  a picture book, it is much more than a simple picture book in its content and detail.  This new hybrid book concept blends the best of a picture book and a history book.  What is created is  a full sized  history book.  Though the pictures make it seem like a picture book for kids, the content is more appropriate for older students who are able to grasp the darker nuances of ancient cultural practices no longer deemed morally acceptable or legal today. This book may stir up some controversy and by other's it will receive a warm reception.  Either way this book is a springboard for lively dialog debates.  Either way this is a book that will illicit a reaction from many parents and educators.

 Additional books in this series include Elizabethan England, Ancient Greece, and Colonial America and are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

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