When Anna picks a new country for our “reading around the world” activity, I always try to tell her a few age-appropriate facts about that country right away to keep her interest going. I actually visited Romania twice, but the first things that came to my mind were gypsies and vampires. Oops, I forgot Olympic champions in gymnastics. Age-appropriate books were hard to find too, so I decided to introduce Anna to Carole Marsh mysteries and got The Mystery at Dracula’s Castle from Amazon. I looked through the book first to make sure there is nothing supernatural going on – my daughter is not at all a fan of supernatural suspense, but the book is a good “real” mystery with a lot of twists and turns. My only regret was that it doesn’t tell the reader much about modern Romania even though it’s set there. Every character “magically” speaks perfect English, and all my daughter got out of the book was that “Romania has castles, vampires, bats and treasures”. Not exactly an in-depth geography or history lesson, but good enough for kindergarten. I am sure she will have a big kick out of her mini-books a few years down the road. We also made this Romanian dish that, sadly, didn’t turn out as well as I expected despite an insane amount of garlic I plunked into it. No vampires in our house after that much garlic!
Anna wanted to do another book on Russia next, but I managed to negotiate with her and convince her to “visit” my own country of birth – Belarus. Here is a little trivia question – who do you think was the most famous person from Belarus’ in 20th century? Make your guesses, and I will reveal my pick in my next Read Around the World post.