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The Newsstand - What's Hot!


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The Newsstand -What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"In golf, as in life, it is the follow through that makes the difference."


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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
November 3, 2004 Issue #12
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

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Little String of Pears






The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Because we believe that media profoundly affect children, our mission is to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs.

1. Letter from the Editor
Letter from the President
Notes From Our Readers
2. Highlighted Store Titles
3. New Endorsements
4. Festival Titles
5. Member News
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Media News
8. Family and Parenting News
9. Annual Meeting 2004 by Christine L. Pollock
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with
complete attribution

Welcome to KIDS FIRST!® NEWS. All articles are by Coalition for
Quality Children's Media unless otherwise noted.

Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making -- John Milton

Dear Friends,

This has been a wonderful month, full of exciting changes. We are getting more feedback from readers on articles and more product promotions from producer members. Thank you all for making this newsletter a team effort.

What do you think of the new e-zine format? Our incomparable webmeister Netman has been working hard to put together a more accessible and readable format. Personally I think it looks great. What would you like to add to the newsletter? Do you have any comments on the titles we have endorsed? Do you have notices of awards, publications, and products? Suggestions for articles? Drop me a line to let us know

At the Coalition's 2004 Annual Meeting, we learned about several exciting programs coming up: Kids For Peace Film and Video Festival; Just for Libraries Film Club; the expansion of the number of titles available in our web store; and KIDS FIRST!® DVD of The Month Club. More details are in my article.

With the holidays around the corner, don't forget to check out our web store which sells only our endorsed titles. Search by age or topic. The store address is

Have a wonderful month!
Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,
As I write this, the day before the election, my thoughts center on the outcome of this election. I hope there is an overwhelming turnout at the polls tomorrow and encourage everyone of you to vote if you haven't already.

Chris's annual meeting report summarized my last month's activities. The majority time spent by our office staff has been creating reports for the meeting so that our national board members and trustees have a clear understanding of where we've been and how they can participate in planning our next year. We celebrated our 13th anniversary as a great turning point.

As we reviewed the changes in this organization over the last several years, it became clearer all the time that our board's directives from our last meeting truly shaped where we are today. We honed our focus on programs that served our mission, our members and generated money to be self-sustaining. We concentrated on programs that are successful in meeting these three guidelines which resulted in focusing on our Film Festivals, Film Clubs, KIDS FIRST! web store and KIDS FIRST! Junior Film Critics Clubs. As I review their impact and peer into the crystal ball, I see these programs have expanded our reach incrementally and will continue to do so. We expect an audience of more than 200,000 in our 2005 festivals and film clubs as they travel to more than 50 different cities. Participants will be able to purchase the festival titles at local retailers, festival venues and online at the KIDS FIRST! web store.

The Coalition's mission is two-fold, to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs. Our festivals, combined with our Junior Film Critics Clubs are our best two programs for fulfilling our mission.

If you haven't already done so, we invite you to join with us to bring the festival or film club to your community. If you already have the festival in your city, work with to expand its outreach to more kids through screenings at local schools or community centers, and to involve more kids in the Junior Film Critics Club program.

A coalition is only as strong as its members. Please feel invited to participate fully with KIDS FIRST!

Ranny Levy
President, KIDS FIRST!

Here's a sampling of letters we received in response to "Blue's Clues" (October ‘04).
Remember that old episodes will continue to run on Nickelodeon, and "Blue's Clues" titles will still be shown in our Film and Video Festivals. – CP

"Any sane parent/TV lover is saddened by the loss of this delightful, truly interactive, and age-appropriate (yet entertaining for all ages) series." -Donovan Jacobs

"Both of my children were raised on ‘Blue's Clues.' We had to have a ‘Blue's Clues' nursery for my daughter because of my son and his love for the show. Now my children are 6 and 3 and if we take a trip we still have to pack Joe's episode ‘Shapes and Colors' and Steve's episode ‘Telling Time.' To think that there would be no new ‘Blue's Clues' is upsetting. For my household, they didn't know Pooh or other Disney characters because we were such fans of ‘Blue's Clues.'" -Amy Eger Rhyme and Reason Magazine

"I'm saddened to hear that ‘Blue's Clues' will not continue. It was a favorite in our home when my daughter was younger. While she was having a good time, I was too, because I knew she was developing important thinking and analyzing skills. She loves solving mysteries to this day. Isn't that what we want to inspire children to do? Solve the many wonderful mysteries of this precious world?" -Jean Sheff Editor, Westchester Family

"My son (Boris, 5) loves ‘Blue's Clues,' and I think it's a great show for kids when they start thinking logically. They have to use their imagination in the show and ‘connect the dots,' i.e. the clues, to find the answer. It's a simple show - as simple as 1,2,3 - and I think that's what makes it so good." -Chris

***OSMOSIS "HOUSE-CASA"-DVD and Video. Offers a bilingual learning experience in a playful, interactive, and multi-sensory journey using objects found in a child's natural environment to maximize on his or her language development. read more

**DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FLY?-Audio. A good production with lyrics that work well. Fun songs that lend themselves to creative movement. Integrates themes such as brushing teeth, fear of darkness and the sounds of nature. Some Christian content. read more

***THE WILD SWANS - Video. This well-told, imaginatively animated classic makes a great addition to any child's video collection. It is narrated by Sigourney Weaver from a tale by Hans Christian Andersen. read more

Video/DVD-Ages 0-2
** CLASSICAL FUN SING-A-LONGS. Symphonic CD with child centered lyrics makes twenty-five masterpieces come alive. Each track associates great music with a fun activity. Educators and parents alike can use this CD to create fun and memorable experiences for children. Adult Juror Comments: High quality music and vocals. Great introduction to classical music and a good way to determine which composers your child will respond to most. Sing-along words, while age-appropriate, will either make you laugh or make you think it's irreverent. Kid Juror Comments: Most kids really liked it. Little ones danced, going to the CD player for more whenever the music stopped. Older kids were drawn into the room to listen and stayed. "I love this music and the songs." A few were not into the classical music at all. Audio. 55 min.; $14.95; Age: 0-5. CLASSICAL FUN MUSIC, INC.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
** BAKING A CAKE! (THE DOODLEBUGS). Floating on a magical island, high up in the sky, live the Doodlebugs. Their houses nestled in the branches of Grandfather Oak, the Doodlebugs spend their days having fun and learning lessons. Then it's off to bed, to rest up for another busy day. Adult Juror Comments: Cute. Solid, interactive show. Colorful graphics and simple story line. Muted music. Lots to do, like an activity book, with a wide age range for activities. All the bugs get along – no troublemakers. "Have pencil and paper handy for drawing tips." Kid Juror Comments: Especially enjoyed the dancing and looking for shapes in the clouds. "The pictures were good. The colors were cool." "They sometimes forget to say thank you and you're welcome." "I would watch it forty-a-hundred-gazillion times." "We like bugs." DVD. 33 min.; $9.99; Age: 2-5. SOCK PUPPET STUDIO.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8
** STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: BEST PETS YET. Unique Strawberry scented packaging. Featuring two stories, two jammin' songs, an exclusive music video, a special friends game, and a special places tour. Adult Juror Comments: Sweet, sweet video. Delicious colors, charming animation. Stories develop evenly, resolving kid issues through the animals' interactions. Pets steal the show and our hearts by being themselves. Reinforces the assumption that girls should be sweet. Kid Juror Comments: Thought girls would like it more. "Custard was jealous of Cupcake. But Strawberry said she would always love Custard." "They all wanted their pet to win. But they found out everyone's pet is special." "My mom loves me AND my brothers and sisters." DVD. 45 min.; $14.98; Age: 3-7. TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT.
Audio-Ages 8-12

*** ROUND THE CAMPFIRE. Favorite Girl Scout campfire songs compiled by Kathy Byers. Adult Juror Comments: Superior recording of a lovely voice with a lot of range. Folk songs have lots of heritage, texture, and history. Imminently listenable and sing-along-able. Perfect for music programs in Scouts, schools, or churches – or family singing in the car. Kid Juror Comments: Loved the cannibal song and wanted to play it over and over, dancing and laughing. Liked songs with kids' voices. "Good variety." Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" was a big hit. "It's very patriotic." "I like the African beat of Kumbaya." Audio. 30 min.; $15.99; Age: 6-18. KT MUSIC PRODUCTIONS INC.

Cyberchase: Starlight Night - 80 Minutes. Animation.
This title features two episodes. In "Starlight Night," the gang celebrates the annual holiday, refreshed with new circuitry. Can they stop Hacker from turning off the light in Cyberspace forever? In "Snowy Day to Be Exact,"can the gang recover the glowing orb stolen by Hacker before the deep freeze stops them? Special features include the bonus episode titled "A Time to Cook." Closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired. Ages 6-11. From PBS and Paramount Home Entertainment. read more

Happy to be Nappy and Other Stories of Me - 30 min.
Did you know that nobody else in the world is just like you? No matter who or what we are - big, little, black, white, a boy or a girl - we're all special and unique. This HBO Family special reminds us that it's important to be accepting of all people...especially yourself. From HBO Family Channel. read more

Peace by Peace: Women on the Frontlines - 56 min.
Is peace possible on a global scale? Today ninety percent of all war casualties are civilians, the majority of whom are women and children. Yet in the midst of this ongoing horror, women around the world are standing up for peace, advocating restorative justice and educating future generations that violence is not the answer. Filmed in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Argentina and the US, this film celebrates the unheralded work of these courageous women. Ages 13-18. From Peace by Peace. read more

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon - 54 min.
Based on the book by Mike Thaler. Illustrated by Jared Lee. On the first day of school, a young boy expects the worst when he discovers that his new teacher is the "monstrous" Mrs. Green. Also includes other stories. read more

Babes in Toyland © 1997 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation Inc. All Rights Reserved. - 74 min. Everyone's favorite nursery rhyme characters come magically and musically to life in this delightful animated adventure based on the classic holiday tale. Ages 5-12. From MGM Home Entertainment. read more

They Made America
Mark your calendars for November. This four-part series executive produced by CQCM National Board Member, is based on Harold Evans new book, They Made America. The book's pub date is October 12th and the series goes on PBS Nov 8th. The series follows American innovators from industry to globalization. From steam engines to Barbies. Teacher plans are available for grades nine through twelve. read more

Shana Banana Has a New Release
How can kids wind down after doing their homework? Maybe with some yoga. The "BananaYoga" DVD is now available. read more

The Comical Sense Company
The Comical Sense Company is producing a series of videos based on the best-selling books from Trevor Romain. "Laugh and Learn" with Trevor Romain are videos that can change children's lives. We feel we're creating "Entertainment that Matters". Our mission is to create exciting and humourous kids' motivational videos designed to enhance the moral and spiritual fabric of our society. It is our goal to make a difference in children's lives.

Kids Musical Yoga
Kids Musical Yoga teaches young children yoga through music and imagination. It has produced two videos and does live shows.

My Baby Heart, LLC
Dr. Rhonda Jessum, a clinical psychologist and parent, designed an educational series (DVDs, audio CDs, books) to inspire the development of emotional intelligence for infants and toddlers.

Providential Pictures Inc.
Providential Pictures is a Christian entertainment company with a heart and vision for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that providing entertainment that contains material that is smart, edifying, and educational along with the use of cutting-edge technology will be a great way to capture the hearts and minds of young people alike.

"The Polar Express" Changes Film Making
Digital animation starring actual actors–not just their voices. Discover how this movie, which comes out November 10, has changed the history of film-making. read more

"Sponge Bob" is Back
With twenty new episodes and a feature film coming out November 19, this aquatic comedian is ready to entertain your family. read more

"Boohbah" Broadcasts in China
In early October, Ragdoll sold seasons one and two to Gangzhou Beauty Culture Communication. read more

Everyone Has a Voice
Even the shyest of students might find the world easier to face through a video lens. Find out what some students did to get their voices heard. read more

Kids and Commercials
You know we are inundated with commercials, but do you know specific stats? Check out the data in "Mothering" Magazine. read more

Scholastic and the Cartoon Network
Are you ready to find some more stories from favorite shows on your bookshelves? Scholastic has expanded their partnership with the Cartoon Network. read more
The Coalition for Quality Children's Media Annual Meeting 2004
by Christine L. Pollock

As the jet's wheels lifted off the ground in Rochester, New York, and the plane sent me on my journey to New Mexico, I pulled out my paperwork and focused on the agenda of the KIDS FIRST!® annual meeting. Rain (rather than our usual October snow) streaking across the window reminded me that I would be in sunnier skies by the end of the day since "The sun always shines in Santa Fe." With much anticipation, I looked forward to meeting CQCM board members, staff, and producers with whom I have been communicating over the past year.

I entered the meeting room on Thursday morning, October 21st, and after sampling the offered fresh fruit medley and grabbing a cup of java I took stock of my surroundings. Three colorful displays provided a visual synopsis of CQCM's volunteer programs, film festivals, and KIDS FIRST!® history and projected future. Pamphlets, t-shirts, and books written by our organization surrounded the displays, documenting our various outreaches.

The 2004 Annual Meeting celebrated the 13th birthday of CQCM. The Coalition has covered a lot of ground since its inception in 1991 and, according to founder and KIDS FIRST!® president Ranny Levy, there are new territories on the horizon. Leading us through the history and future of our organization via a Power Point presentation, Ranny unveiled up-and-coming programs that got the whole group excited.

Even though I have worked for KIDS FIRST!® as a juror and a staff member, I realized, as I listened to Ranny's compelling presentation, I had never attempted to identify all the outreach programs of our organization. This annual meeting challenged me to name them all. I was surprised and inspired with the answer. This is what we do:

The KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival: Collaborations with children's museums, non-profit film centers, established film festivals, and other noteworthy hosts have brought us to more than 50 cities nationwide. In only three years we have become the largest children's film festival in the world! By 2005, we will have a cumulative audience of more than 200,000 children and adults, and will generate more than 100 million marketing impressions though print, broadcast, and on-site publicity. The Festival continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our audiences, showcasing more than 250 titles annually from our producer members.

Kids for Peace Film Festival: To facilitate discussions about peace, tolerance, and diversity, KIDS FIRST!® has assembled a collection of relevant films and videos to be shown in conjunction with special media literacy workshops and seminars. The workshops and seminars will focus on topics representing a broad definition of peace and tolerance including nonviolent conflict resolution; demonstrating tolerance; mutual understanding and respect for other cultures; peace activism and the role of media; and outstanding examples of peace activism.

Junior Film Critics Club Program: Our educational team created a 10-part media literacy curriculum to be used in schools, by Girl and Boy Scout groups, by our Festival partners and others. Over 200 Junior Film Critics Club leaders have been trained in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, New York City, Fort Wayne, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. We partnered with the Girl Scouts in several cities and created a Junior Film Critics patch for their girls. We also made arrangements with the Explora Science and Children's Museum in Albuquerque to host our workshops and make it easy for out-of-state people to fly in, train, and fly out. We have asked every KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival partner to start a Junior Film Critics Club program and many are, or are planning to. Congratulations to the Fort Wayne Cinema where more than 75 kids signed up this fall!

Just for Libraries: In 2005, KIDS FIRST!® will launch an affordable subscription service for libraries designed to provide quality programming on a subscription rental basis. Like the KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival and KIDS FIRST!® Film Club, the programming will be provided on a regular basis. The program will launch in November of 2004 with the Austin Public Library System. As children learn about media literacy, KIDS FIRST!® will encourage adults to also become involved in the juror process.

Online Juror Training: With all the new titles coming in, we are inviting potential adult jurors to learn how to evaluate and critique a video/DVD, TV show, film, or interactive software using the KIDS FIRST!® criteria. The one-on-one training provides guidance for working with a children's jury and is conducted entirely online, enabling potential jurors to participate at a convenient time and pace. Sign-ups are on our web site. [Can we get a link to this page?]

Web Site: is the hub of our activity. Juror trainings, film festival schedules, and product evaluations and reviews are all online. We have redesigned the web site for easier navigation and readability and will relaunch it soon. Last year alone, the site had over 4.2 million hits! And that was before we opened the web store.

Web Store: This past August, we launched our web store at Now our independent producers can sell their titles on a site dedicated to quality children's media. Consumers can read reviews of the products from both adult and child jurors. Only KIDS FIRST! - endorsed titles are sold.

KIDS FIRST!® DVD of the Month Club: Coming in 2005. Have some of our endorsed titles shipped to your doorstep monthly. In what better way can you keep a fresh supply of quality, parent-endorsed, child-endorsed, and professional-endorsed titles? Each club member will receive two feature-length DVDs or a number of shorts of equal length. Watch the newsletter and web site for details.

Newsletter: With over 4,000 subscribers, the KIDS FIRST!® Newsletter is getting new readers on a regular basis. The newsletter is a vital connection between producers, parents, educators, and other child advocates. Beginning with this issue, our newsletter will be online and accessible through email links, improving readability and decreasing email size.

As the meeting concluded at the festive Annual Meeting dinner Friday evening, I looked around the room in awe. People who are top of their fields in various backgrounds surrounded me: Dr. Vivian Horner, media pioneer, Nickelodeon originator and a key CQCM player from its beginning; Barney Cohen, former Chairperson of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Valley Media; Mardi Clemens, founder of Meg's Gifts, a program that donates videos to children in hospitals; Gay Dillingham, Co-Founder and Director of Earthstone International and owner of CNS Communications; Irving Lazar, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, child development specialist renown in this country and abroad...the indefatigable President Ranny Levy, whose vision and relentless energy is the very breath of the organization...local people and people from out of state; long-time members and newcomers; generous donors; producers; staff and volunteers...regrettably, space doesn't allow me to individually acknowledge each of these concerned, active and knowledgeable professionals who give their time, their ideas and their experience to effect positive change in a world increasingly shaped by media.

Every person in the room brings a unique perspective to achieve a common goal: advocating children in media literacy. They are what make a strong Coalition. With your support and their capable guidance, KIDS FIRST!® will continue to be a dynamic force in the future.

KIDS FIRST!®! Film and Video Festival Schedule:
Join us as we travel around the country with film festivals. Find out when we will be in a town near you. For details read here
Alamogordo NM, Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts. Weekly.
Alamogordo NM, Otero County Film Commission, Annual Festival, February 2005 (tent).
Albuquerque NM Explora Science Center and Children's Museum. Monthly.
Boston MA, Children's Museum, Every Thursday.
Brookline MA, Coolidge Corner Theater, Every Saturday.
Dallas TX, USA Film Festival, Annual Film Festival.
Denver CO, Denver Film Society, Every Saturday.
Denver Film Festival, October 14-24.
Fargo ND, Fargo Film Festival, Weekly. Annual Festival.
Forest Grove, OR, Forest Theater, Daily.
Fort Wayne IN, Fort Wayne Cinema Center, Weekly.
Houston TX, Houston Children's Museum, Daily.
Indianapolis IN, Association of Children's Museums, Annual Conference.
LaCrosse WI, Children's Museum of La Crosse, Every Friday & Saturday. Annual Festival.
Los Angeles CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Weekly, starting in 2005.
Mariposa CA, rural Media Arts & Education Project, Weekly.
Nashville TN, Belcourt Theater, Weekly. Annual Festival, February 2005.
New Orleans LA, Louisiana Children's Museum, Weekly. Annual Festival.
Newport Beach CA, Newport Beach Film Festival, Annual Festival.
Oklahoma City OK, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Quarterly.
Orlando FL, Downtown Media Arts Center. Weekly. Annual Festival.
Portland ME, Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, Fundraiser for Barbara Bush Child.
Salt Lake City UT, Salt Lake City Children's Film Festival, Annual Event.
Santa Barbara CA, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Annual Festival.
Santa Fe NM, KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival, Annual Event.
Tampa FL, Kid Flix, Annual.
Vancouver, WA, Kiggins Theater, Daily.

November 19-21: National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, Democracy and Diversity: Social Studies in Action. If you plan to attend the conference, don't miss the media literacy sessions including the pre-conference workshop on "Integrating Media Literacy and Critical Thinking into K-12 Social Studies" by Cyndy Scheibe and Chris Sperry of Project Look Sharp and sessions on "Presidential Elections through Media Documents in American History" and "Media and the Middle East."

December 7-8, 2004. International Film Festival Summit, The Hudson Hotel, New York City. Dedicated to providing resources, information and avenues of communication for industry professionals, vendors and anyone committed to the Film Festival Industry. It is committed to the idea that Film Festivals are an important cultural celebration, a powerful voice in our society, and increasingly play a vital role in connecting not only the local communities they serve, but the world globally. To register go to

June 25-28: 2005 National Media Education Conference, San Francisco's Renaissance Parc 55 hotel. "Giving Voice to a Diverse Nation" in San Francisco. The Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA) is committed to promoting media literacy education that is focused on critical inquiry, learning, and skill-building. This national, grassroots membership organization will be a key force in bringing media literacy education to all 60 million students in the United States, their parents, their teachers, and others who care about youth. Information is available at


Become a Coalition for Quality Children's Media Member *** If you've found our e-zine and web site helpful, please consider becoming a member of KIDS FIRST!®!® Members help underwrite the various projects of this organization. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media's relies on the generous support of its members and donors to support its programs. An individual/family membership is only $25/year. An organizational membership is $100/year. An independent producer membership is $200. To join, go to: or contact our office at 505.989.8076.

VISIT OUR MEMBERS' SITES ******************
Please visit our website for an up-to-date list of Coalition members by clicking here:


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This newsletter may be reprinted with permission. Write to: [email protected]
Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

**************ABOUT CQCM AND KIDS FIRST!®!®***************

KIDS FIRST!®!® is the not-for-profit Coalition for Quality Children's Media's initiative that evaluates and rates children's media - videotapes, CD-ROMs, and television - using a highly acclaimed method that has been praised by parents and educators alike. It utilizes professionally designed criteria and evaluation tools and engages a volunteer jury comprising child development professionals, teachers and parents nationwide and children of diverse geographic, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. KIDS FIRST!® endorsed titles appeal to people around the world and include many programs on topics important to children's development. KIDS FIRST!®-endorsed titles are available on CQCM's award-winning Internet site, in the KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival, and in reviews we provide to more than 75 publications.

CQCM evaluates feature films, television programs, videos, CD-ROM, DVDs, and audio recordings. For an application form and application deadlines, visit our website at, call our office (505.989.8076)
Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St., Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

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