Our World Neighbors is an educational book used to immerse your student in cultural studies around Epcot’s World Showcase! Jason Grooms, creator of The Brainy Tourist, is the author of Our World Neighbors. (To learn more about Jason’s educational materials and goals, check out our recent interview with him!)
The book is divided into 3 sections – Before You Go, At the Park (Epcot) and Take It Home. Before a student goes to Epcot, they are asked to research the 11 different countries represented around World Showcase. Students must research each country’s industries, its Capital, population, language(s) spoken and color each country’s flag.
While at Epcot, the student can then speak to a cast member from each Country and find out their hometown location, favorite hobbies, foods & music, and take a picture of that cast member.
Finally, when the student returns home, they can analyze their information gathered from the cast members and figure out what similarities and differences they all have. Author, Jason Grooms, describes this section best when he says:
Other cultures can seem so odd or different to kids. By getting to know them, not only do they get firsthand info about that country, kids get to see that they’re all real people and a lot like them. I put a lot of effort into the analysis piece so they could see both the differences and the similarities. That’s why I titled it Our World Neighbors. We just live in really big neighborhood, but we all have hopes and dreams, and we want to have fun and fall in love, and hang out with friends.
My daughter, Jane, is 7 years old and a homeschooled 2nd grader. Her favorite section of this book was the “Before You Go” section – the research! She enjoyed learning about the different countries – particularly their capitals and language spoken. This section also helped her gain an understanding for how to use an encyclopedia.
The success of the “At the Park” section depends on the child’s personality and how helpful the cast member is at answering your child’s questions. My daughter is pretty shy, so she didn’t want to speak for too long to any cast member. I could see a more out-going student having great success with this section. Needless to say, quiet students can still gain a wealth of information about each country even if they don’t complete all the questions needed. They can certainly observe their surroundings – the food, the smells, the music & the cultural items being sold – and come up with a detailed analysis comparing the Countries and cultures.
I certainly recommend this cultural study guide to any student wanting to explore the Countries around World Showcase and interact with the cast members! There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained – and this book will certainly aid in each student’s learning. I often hear the complaint from families that there’s not much for kids to do around World Showcase – Our World Neighbors can help solve that! If you’ve got a child eager to learn, this book is a must-have!
Our World Neighbors can be purchased online from The Brainy Tourist’s web store. You can purchase it as a digital copy (and print the pages you need), as a book, or purchase both formats!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Our World Neighbors in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.