I’m planning a trip to one of my favorite places on earth – EPCOT Center!!! Whoo!
Since leaving Orlando over six years ago I haven’t made it to EPCOT and I’m ready to introduce my kids to it. This involves finding the Leave A Legacy photo my husband and I did the day after we got married, visiting all the fun rides within Future World, and then over to my favorite part – the World Showcase.
I can go on and on and on about how much I love World Showcase. The restaurants. The shopping (hello Japan!). Hello any cultural experience available outside of Metropolitan Orlando.
And for me, introducing my kids to the World Showcase means a fine selection of books set in each of the countries represented at EPCOT. And here we go.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion
Gracias, Thanks Written by Pat Mora, Illustrated by John Parra
This is not a specifically set in Mexico, but is a bilingual book starring a Mexican-American boy who is thankful for everything. My kids, who are so interested in the Spanish, will love this book. Add that to the wonderful storytelling (this time, poetry) and illustrations by John Parra – and we have a winner.
Mexico: Unpacked by Susie Brooks
Another option to learn more about the country is the Unpacked series. Their Mexico edition came out in October of 2016. This talks about the sights, history, culture, food, and people that make Mexico the destination it is today.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Norway Pavilion
Or any Frozen book will do. I haven’t been to EPCOT since they replaced my favorite ride with the Frozen-inspired version, but I’ve heard good things. In case you, or your kids, aren’t familiar with the story – time to brush up before your trip to Norway!
D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths Written by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Sure the Norway Pavilion is Frozen-inspired, but, there should still be some references to the Norse Myths as you visit the Stave church and shops? Right? Well, it doesn’t hurt to know some of the famous mythology anyway.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s China Pavilion
Bella and Harry: Let’s Visit Beijing written by Lisa Manzione, Illustrated by Kristine Lucco
Since there’s a replica of the Temple of Heaven at the China Pavilion, it only makes sense to read a book that mentions it. Bella and Harry visit all of the popular Beijing hotspots, many of which will be included in the 360-degree film.
The exhibits and shows at the China Pavilion are more than just Beijing, so to help make up for the differences of what to expect when visiting – try out this book of activities that kids will surely enjoy.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Germany Pavilion
This is Munich by M. Sasek
The biergarten at the Germany Pavilion is one of my favorite places to eat. It’s just fun. The buffet choices are delicious. I love it. It has a very Bavarian feel to it, so reading more about Munich just makes sense.
Look What Came From Germany by Kevin Davis
I’ll be honest. My German-born children are constantly inundated with books about all things German. They’re well-versed. However, I think this series of things that came from their birth country would be interesting for all of us, and help us to prepare for the shopping opportunities at EPCOT’s German pavilion.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion
The Treasures of Venice by Dario Cestaro and Paola Zaffoli
The Italian Pavilion at EPCOT is heavily inspired by the city of Venice. If your travels have never taken you there, this is a good compromise. And before heading to Orlando, this pop-up book is a fun way to get to know the sites of you’ll soon see.
From previous visits to EPCOT it seems that the Italy Pavilion is focused on the atmosphere, food, and shopping to give you an Italian feel. There are opportunities to meet the most famous Italian Disney character, Pinocchio, so prepare by reading the book.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s America Pavilion
The Dreadful, Smelly Colonies by Elizabeth Raum
The American Pavilion at EPCOT has a very colonial feel to it. A very clean, disneyfied (of course), version of the colonies. So, why not have some fun with American history and look at some of the yuckier parts of that era?
The opposite of the book above, this book focuses on the history, culture, and people of America. I like this pick because the American Adventure show at the pavilion concentrates on the people.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Japan Pavilion
The first thing a visitor walking into the Japan Pavilion notices is the awesome architecture. Most of the “look” of EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion was inspired by Ancient Japan. So we’ll spend sometime checking out the cool buildings before heading inside to my one of the best places ever…
Manga, Hello Kitty, and Origami
… the inside of the palace is a huge department store. They sell real Japanese goods. Kimonos, kitchen items, toys, food, etc. It reminds me of my younger years in Okinawa. It is my favorite shopping destination in Orlando and I can’t wait to take my kids. However, knowing them, they will not have the patience to help me pick out kitchen dishes (why, yes, I do go to Epcot to get dishes). So, for me, this means making sure they’re in the know about some of the other things this shop has to offer. That means Manga, Hello Kitty, and Origami. Let their dad take them to that part of the store, while I get my serving for 8.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion
The Street Cats of Marrakech by Dee Toth-Jones, Illustrated by Seline Stevenson
Fortunately, it’s easy enough for me to leave Japan because of the promise of fun shopping in Morocco, too. And I always love how different the feels are between the Japanese and Moroccan pavilions. I can stare at the tiles for hours. My favorite part of this pavilion (other than the sit-down restaurant) is how the shops have an outdoor feel, even if so much of it is indoor. My kids will love this book talking about the street cats of Marrakesh.
The Storyteller by Evan Turk
I’m taking my kids to EPCOT because I love the quick glimpse into other cultures. I’m showing them some books before we go because I like them to have more knowledge about a place. I love stories. And this story, The Storyteller, talks about the importance of storytelling using Morocco as the background. The perfect setting, if you ask me.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s France Pavilion
Beauty and the Beast (coming January 2017)
I’m a bit excited for Emma Watson’s live action Beauty and the Beast coming out soon. There are many books of Disney’s cartoon classic available, but this one looks fun. My kids are already familiar with Belle. I hope we get a chance to run into her and the Beast while we’re in France… Pavilion.
Gustave Eiffel’s Spectacular Idea: The Eiffel Tower by Sharon Katz Cooper, illustrated by Janna Bock
Is it just me, or is the Eiffel Tower the ultimate icon when talking about travel? I love the real one, the copies I’ve seen around the world, and the one at EPCOT. My kids have seen the real one and I think they’ll feel the same as I do about them all. But, even though this is just a fraction of the size of the original, why not bump up our knowledge about the building while we’re at it?
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion
I’ll admit that I haven’t spent too much time in the UK Pavilion on previous EPCOT trips. I lived near a really good pub and the lack of attractions had me just breeze on through. But, I’ve read that there’s a building based off of William Shakespeare’s wife’s childhood home. So now, a brief intro to Shakespeare may be worth it.
There’s a rumor that these are the two character sightings possible in the UK Pavillion. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never stuck around long enough. If there is, I know what I want. Pooh-bear.
Children’s books perfect for a visit to Epcot’s Canada Pavilion
The Kids Books of Canada by Barbara Greenwood, illustrated by Jock MacRae
I took a course called “Canadian history” when I was in college. Within the first few days of class, I discovered that I knew nothing about Canada. It’s important to me that my kids know about our current neighbor to the north (which is where their grandfather is from), and this book is a nice introduction to the many sites and sounds of one of my favorite places to visit in real life and in EPCOT life.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Whenever I ask anyone about books about Canada, they mention this series. People love it. I haven’t read it and there’s no way that I will before we go to EPCOT. But, this is still on the list. If you’re looking to stock up on the books, I hear the shop at the Canadian Pavilion may be the place to get them all.
Yes, I know this is a lot to get through. But, we’ll start with the ones my kids are most interested about, then move on from there. This doesn’t have to happen before our trip, either. It could happen when we get back, or read some books before we go and some when we get back. It’s just another way to help my kids have a more global view of the world through their personal experiences and books.
Planning a trip to Epcot or planning a read through the books listed anyway? Pin this for later: