In a constantly changing world where technology beckons to us nearly every minute of everyday, both picture books What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? and All About the Philippines ask us to sit down with a physical object and engage in learning about where we came from.

All About the Philippines is part of a Tuttle series that highlights stories, songs, crafts, and games for kids to learn about other parts of the world. Author Gidget Roceles Jimenez and illustrator Corazon Dandan-Albano both live with their families in the Philippines, so it’s hard to dispute their cultural and social understanding of the area.

We meet three cousins: Mary, Jaime, and Ari whose mothers are sisters, yet, they represent a few of the communities that can be found on the islands. They even call it out, “Together, we are a perfect blend, just like the Filipino people.” In a post-2016 election world, it’s refreshing to see a basic culture and education book like All About the Philippines acknowledge and celebrate the different customs, languages, and everyday worlds of each character.

This book would be great for a family to read together—as it has both engaging, but short bursts of content and fun, inviting pictures. All About the Philippines touches on food, holidays, games, and even includes a few recipes.

While All About the Philippines focuses on different aspects of the present-day life of children, What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? aims to make the past relevant and accessible to today’s youth. Part of the series We All Live in the Forbidden City that were previously released in China, What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? highlights many different aspects of Chinese royal history, such as an overview of emperor duties, distinguishing characteristics of the major emperors, and glimpses of everyday life at court.

This book is fun to look at and is filled with lots of interesting, digestible tidbits. What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? is most suitable for a family with an intention of sharing their history with their kids or for upper elementary students with a passion for history.

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