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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come."
—Sandra Day O'Connor

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
October 17, 2006 Issue #10b
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

1. Letters from the Editor and President
2. Web Store Features
4. New Endorsements
5. Festival Titles
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. The Secret of Success - An Inside Scoop from Successful Actors by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: Season Changes by Dr. Toy and Craft a Pumpkin Piggy from author Linda Stanek
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Special Offers
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

KIDS FIRST!® Best Awards Nominees - Student Producers

The Female Role in Film - Geena Davis, See Jane, Reel Grrls and Heroic Girlz

Cool Classroom Clips and Give Me a Little Sign - Interview with Maya & Miguel creator, Deborah Forte




thousands of great travel deals at KIDS FIRST! Travel

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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.

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2006 Jan 3 / Jan 18 / Feb 7 / Feb 21 / Mar 14/ Mar 28 / Apr 4 / Apr 25 / May 2/ May 16/ June 6 /June 27
July 4 / July 18 / Aug 1 / Aug 15 / Sept 5 / Sept 19 / Oct 3

Links to newsletters from 2005 or earlier
may be found at the bottom of this page

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

Dear Friends,

Last week I read an article talking about the impact of time shifting, whether through our digital devices or over the internet, and how it affects what our children watch. It really made me think. What exactly does my thirteen-year-old have access to while he is online? Then I thought again. I am reassured by the fact that we monitor him. I am also reassured by the fact that as a KIDS FIRST! Kid Juror, he knows how to dissect media and think for himself. I believe others are realizing the importance of media literacy, also, as more and more people sign up for the KIDS FIRST! juror training. I am also encouraged by the increase of quality film I see coming to the public realm and as I interview celebrities with a passion for clean, positive entertainment. In my article below, Mary Maitlyn Mouser and Alison Lohman share their ideas of positive programming.

As always, I welcome your input. If you have comments on titles we have endorsed; notices of media awards, publications, and products; or suggestions for articles, please drop me a line.

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,

We just returned from a wonderful weekend in LA celebrating KIDS FIRST! Best Day this past Saturday. A great time was had by all. Audience members were treated to character appearances by Maya & Miguel, Tiny from Little Robots, and Strawberry Shortcake as well as live appearances by Mary Matilyn Mouser, the voice of Eloise in the new Me, Eloise DVD, Keke Palmer, star of Akeelah and the Bee, and Golden Globe winner, Oliva Huseey, star of the biographical film, Mother Teresa, all of which are currently playing in KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals.

Our many thanks go out to our collaborators, the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a great event. Click through here for a complete list of 20 KIDS FIRST! Best 2006 Award Winners. The five Best of Fest Awards are: Peep & the Big Wide World from Discovery Kids & WGBH;
Little Manhattan from 20th Century Fox; Akeelah & The Bee - Lionsgate Home Entertainment; Binta Y La Gran Idea from Peliculas Pendelton; and Going to School in India from GTS Fund. Our congratulations go to the filmmakers who created all of these wonderful films for their commitment to making outstanding films for young people.

Getting to see first-hand the joy of the kids who attend is always the best part of my job. For example, I received this letter today from one of our attendees: "I never thought our godsons would enjoy sitting still in the middle of the day. For Reid and Oliver, who just celebrated their second birthdays, the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival marked their first visit to a movie theater. They were enraptured by the Saturday morning program, especially "(A Long Day of) Mr. Calpaccio," the animation from Japan. Who knew! Thank you for the smart programming from KIDS FIRST! and the opportunity to share with our godsons the communal magic of cinema.

Filmmakers, please keep sending us your wonderful films. Parents, keep bringing your kids. And, here's a new way that you can help make a contribution to KIDS FIRST! without having to reach into your own pocketbook. We have just become a travel agent, as an affiliate of the fast-growing YTB Travel Netowrk. When you login to, you can book discounted travel similar to when you use travelocity or another online travel service AND, at the same time, make a donation to KIDS FIRST! It's cool and, like I said, doesn't cost you anything.

Thanks for your ongoing support.

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!®



Concerned about what kids watch? Want to do something about it? Become a KIDS FIRST!® juror. It's easy. Take our online training. It will take you about four hours to complete and we will provide you with your own personal trainer. The $40 fee is 100% reimbursable once you evaluate six titles for KIDS FIRST!® . You may keep any movie you approve. What a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents, and daycare providers to build their own quality media library while helping evaluate movies for others. To register or get more information, please visit our KIDS FIRST!® juror's page.



Sign Language for PK. Includes: Signing Time! Volumes 4, 5, & 6. DVD. 90 min.; $39.99; Age: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.



Signing Time! Vol. 4: Feelings, Family and Fun. Teaches ASL signs for family members, feelings, and things you find outside. Divided into family songs, outside songs, and feelings. DVD. 30 min.; $17.59; Age: 2-5. Two Little Hands Productions.




Baby Pro: Let's Play Ball. Features real-life sports imagery, inspiring classical music and supportive voice-overs to create an engaging introduction to active play. DVD. 35 min.; $11.96; Age: 1-4. Babypro, LLC.


AdventurePatrol: Totally Rocks. A wild, weekend-long adventure in the red rock mountains of Utah. Zeke, the host, invites kids to accompany him as he learns how to mountain bike, rock climb, and watches pros at these extreme sports while exploring Native American art and dance. DVD. 35 min.; $11.98; Ages: 5-12; Big Bright World, Inc.

The Wheels on the Bus Video: Mango Helps the Moon Mouse. Through the use of live action, animation, puppetry and animatronics, characters undertake a musical adventure to a reptile show, a bird show, a grocery store, and even the moon. Along the way, they learn some early socialization skills. DVD. 38 min.; $10.39; Ages: 2-5; Armstrong Moving Pictures.




Bumblz Tunes: Songs in the Key of Bee. This lively music compilation features original songs from the children's animated series, Bumblz. High production values and a variety of musical styles and themes result in a rare music CD that both children and parents can enjoy together! Audio; $7.99; Age: 2-5. Bumblz Media.



Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, The Journey Begins. A whole new generation can experience the magical stories that teach values like courage, friendship, positive attitude and determination. Featuring five original episodes from the hit children's television series. DVD. 120 min.; $11.98; Age: 5-8. First National Pictures.



More New Endorsements can be found at

*** = Titles receiving the highest scores are given a three-star rating.
** = Titles that meet or exceed the criteria receive a two-star rating.
* = Titles that meet the baseline criteria but require some extra consideration on the part of the viewer receive a one-star rating.

Video/DVD-Ages 3-6

* Little Genius: Let's Learn about Colors and Shapes. Introduces children to basic colors and shapes of objects around us. Hosted by Polly the parrot using colorful 3D visuals, original music, interactive extras. KIDS FIRST!® Adult Juror Comments: Interesting concept, clearly presented. Very specific: One section is about colors, one about shapes. The two songs are very enjoyable. But, this program is not geared to capture the attention of its intended audience. The concepts are more suitable for early elementary but the presentation more suitable for preschool. KIDS FIRST!® KID Juror Comments: Pretty fidgety response. Kids enjoyed the narrator's voice and the animated bird character but when asked if they'd watch it again, said, "no." When the adult juror urged them to participate, they did get up and do the hokey pokey. They tried to guess colors along with the question on the screen but, unfortunately, the DVD answered before they had a chance. Ages: 3-6. Serenity Media.

Video/DVD-Ages 4-8

*** Eric Goes to School, Pt. 1 (Spanish). Teaches children Spanish by watching, listening & singing along. Developed by the Language Workshop for Children (LWFC) in New York City. The LWFC was founded in 1973 by Francois Thibaut, a pioneer in early language acquisition. CNN has called Mr. Thibaut "one of the very few experts in teaching languages to children." KIDS FIRST!® Adult Juror Comments: Makes learning another language fun and interesting. Good visuals and music. Good animation - colorful and clear. Comes with a parent's guide explaining how to use it. Vocabulary was very impressive. It takes a child through an entire day covering elements such as numbers, colors, animals, and types of food. Positive role modeling throughout. KIDS FIRST!® KID Juror Comments: For those interested in learning another language, a big hit. "I like learning other languages but not all of my friends would." Most said they'd watch it again. Kids found it interesting to jump between the English version and the Spanish, though their attention waived when asked to view it entirely in Spanish. Ages:4-8. The Language Workshop for Children.

Video/DVD-Ages 7-12

** A Cat's Tale. A coming-of-age story about a cat who leaves the house for the first time, gets catnapped, escapes and then realizes he's lost. Along the way he meets new friends and learns the value of being nice and helping others. KIDS FIRST!® Adult Juror Comments: Creative, fun, good storyline. Enjoyable. Good values and character. There is enough tension to keep you engaged without traumatizing you. Simple storyline. One of the strongest parts is when the cat gives up his chance to go home in order to help his friend. Well produced. Clear images and audio. Good music. KIDS FIRST!® KID Juror Comments: Very positive response. Cat lovers especially enjoyed it. "It was so cool. You could actually hear what the cat was thinking." "It's really good, and I think lots of people will like it." "It's funny." "This could be a long film if you weren't a cat lover." DVD. 65 min.; Age:7-12. Melee Entertainment.



For a complete list of all Festival titles currently being shown, visit our website.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, 40th Anniversary. L. 50 min.
It sure is fun when Charlie Brown and his Peanuts pals get together for the big Halloween celebration. In fact, it's downright spooktacular in a feature whose bag of treats overflows with "charm, wit and wisdom" (Hollywood Reporter). This Halloween is very special for good ol' Charlie Brown. He's finally been invited to a party! Snoopy gets to join the fun, so look out, Red Baron! Linus will find out once and for all if the Great Pumpkin will rise up out of his pumpkin patch, "with his bag of toys for all the good children." Nominated for an Emmy award, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is digitally mastered for excellent sound and picture quality. Ages 5-12. Paramount Home Entertainment.

Over the Hedge
. L. 83 min.
A scheming raccoon fools a mismatched family of forest creatures into helping him repay a debt of food by invading the new suburban sprawl that popped up while they were hibernating. . .and learns a lesson about family himself. Ages 5-12. Paramount Home Entertainment.


Alvin and the Chipmunks: Trick or Treason. L. 66 min.
Join Alvin and his brothers Simon and Theodore for this hilarious Halloween adventure. Alvin wants to be accepted into the Monster Club, but the Monster members seem to think its cool to be cruel. It takes Theodore's friendship to Michael, a misunderstood outcast the other kids call Pumpkinhead, to show Alvin that being a true friend is really a lot more cool than trying to be a popular Monster! There are plenty of laughs and surprises and music, including the Chipmunk's rendition of the hit song "Monster Mash" to make this a monstrously fun video any time of the year! Ages 5-8. Paramount Home Entertainment.

Speed Racer Volume 5
. L. 184 min.
Includes the most exciting final 8 episodes from the original TV series never before on DVD! Follow Speed and his turbocharged Mach-5 as he and his gang (Trixie, Sparky, Spritle, and Chim Chim) go on to the Grand Prix, the key race for the World Racing Championship, defeating colorful villains, including Mr. Free Load, the international spies, and the infamous Racer X! English and Spanish. Ages 5-8. Lionsgate Family Entertainment.



Little Robots: Big Adventures. L. 40 min.
The little robots are pioneers and builders. Using their combined skills, vision and imagination they've created their own warm metal world in the middle of a junk heap. The little robots are spontaneous and imaginative, mirroring popular play patterns of children in the way that they make their world around them. Includes: Robot Race Day; The Hiccalots; The Sound of Music; Ages 3-7. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.


Please welcome these new or renewing members and visit their web sites.

The Baby Prodigy Company is proud to be an award winning supplier of children's educational and entertainment products. They are dedicated to helping parents, grandparents and caregivers all over the world raise smarter, happier young children in new and fun ways.

Brandon Hill Productions

Power to Create. Founded in 1992 by Ken Urman, Power to Create (PTC) is a best-selling, award-winning production company that has developed programming for the home entertainment market, the syndicated television market, Cable outlets, VOD, and Public Television. PTC was born when Ken Urman realized his children found real-life action more fascinating than fantasy characters.

The Safe Side manufactures and sells safety videos for children.

Stay at Home and Learn Productions. Formed in 2004 by two divorce professionals, the company produces written and video products designed to help families with difficult life transitions and changes. The goal of Stay at Home and Learn Productions is to provide high quality products that are affordable, accessible, and effective.


Alpha Home Entertainment Acquires DVD Distribution Rights to Animusic 2.
This remarkable KIDS FIRST! Film Festival title is an audio-video experience as it fuses cutting edge computer animation with digitally created music to produce an entirely new genre of musical entertainment in which virtual bands and imaginary instruments put on a spectacular show. The production team spent 3 solid years creating the DVD, and all the hard work has paid off.

Going to School Movies premiere on National Geographic Channel, India.
Saturday Mornings at 10 am. After the premier, the movies will continue to play in the Nat Geo Junior (kids) block. The movies will be repeated in the same slot for three more weeks from 4th November - 18th November.


Kids are Watching What?
According to a Common Sense Media article, last week, NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ranked No. 1 among 2-11 year olds, according to Nielsen ratings. Huh? It airs at 10 p.m. and certainly isn't aimed at kids. But the younger set seems to really love TV dramas, and they're increasingly forming a core audience for shows like Lost, Vanished, Heroes, and Smith. This trend presents two big challenges for parents: 1) How can we monitor age-inappropriate programming when our kids can see shows previewed, rerun, and time-shifted? and 2) If we do let our kids watch, how do we help them make sense of what they're seeing?


Nicktoons Network Premiers Edgar & Ellen.
Edgar & Ellen is an animated series about of mischievous 12-yr-old twins. The Halloween-themed Trick or Twins, debuts October 28, 2006 at 8:30p, as part of the network's Scare-A-Thon, and Cold Medalists will bow winter 2006. Three remaining specials will roll out in 2007.

Sesame Street Special
For the first time ever, Sesame Street "graduates" can own the first five seasons of the award-winning children's series when Sesame Street: Old School, hits shelves October 24, 2006.

Halloween Is a Little Less Spooky and Much More Kooky
On October 31, 2006, preschoolers can help solve mysteries with the Berenstain Bears and Piggley Winks from Jakers! as they discover that some of the things they thought were scary, actually aren’t so scary after all.
For more treats, kids can go online to and for e-cards, printable coloring pages, make-your-own Halloween masks and much more.


The Secret of Success - An Inside Scoop from Successful Actors by Christine L. Pollock

How can an actor steal the hearts of viewers at a film festival? At the KIDS FIRST! Best awards ceremony, we met some characters we fell in love with. Film stars Mary Matilyn Mouser (Me, Eloise) and Alison Lohman (Flicka) speak out and tell us the secret of their success as actors.… they truly love their jobs.

Ten-year-old Mouser's voice vibrates with excitement as she discusses her fictional animated counterpart, Eloise. In fact, when asked what her dream role would be in a film, Mouser replied, "Eloise." Perhaps she can play the character so well because both Mouser and Eloise have big imaginations. Eloise lives in New York City's Plaza Hotel. Mouser, too, lived in New York. She enjoyed going to the Plaza, crawling under the tables and running around -- just like Eloise.

Bryan Leder, Mouser's manager, adds that even though she is only 10 years old, Mouser knows how to have fun and how to work hard. Leder and Mouser joke about the fact that she loves to make people happy. Although Mouser is busy with her career as a model, voice, and film and commercial actor, in addition to her homeschooling, Mouser takes the time to make others happy. She bakes cupcakes, using icing to make the witches hair, and brings them to the set for Halloween.

While Eloise is a great role model for young girls, according to Mouser, the characters are so fun, they are sure to appeal to young boys also. Boys might especially relate to Eloise's friends who are twin brothers. Mouser's goal is for everyone who watches Eloise to have a good time.

Fun seems to be a common factor for Mouser and for Alison Lohman, the versatile actor who stars in the Flicka. Lohman wants people leaving the theater to feel good, to laugh, and have a good time. She hopes her films will help them experience something and enjoy the results. When recommending films to families with children in her life, Lohman looks for a spirit of goodness and a sense of community. Personally, Lohman enjoys documentaries. A recent title she enjoyed was An Inconvenient Truth based on the book by Al Gore.

Katy, Lohman 's character in Flicka, brings to the screen these qualities Lohman looks for in a film. Katy is a free spirit wanting to preserve nature and protect the environment. The film embraces beauty and roots for the underdog -- the small family farm. In the original book, Katy's character was a male. Lohman feels that a female protagonist breaks stereotypes about girls and working on a ranch. It shows strength and substance in Katy's character. Strength and substance appear in Lohman 's own dedication to acting. Not naturally athletic, she found it physically challenging to go through training for working on a family farm. She learned to ride horses and rope as well as doing content weight training to gain this strength necessary for the horseback riding.

Yet Lohman perseveres because she loves her job. She encourages viewers to be conscious of the films they watch. Make sure they give accurate information and promote a good message. When asked how organizations such as KIDS FIRST! can do more to help bring quality children's media to the public, Lohman replied, "It is important to make people aware in the world and need to have a consciousness of how it affects them. Information is powerful and media is a conduit."


Dr. Toy's Tips on Use of Video by Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. /Dr.Toy Smart Play /Smart Toys (

Season Changes- Weather change forces more indoor activity. The time with videos is time well-spent if you select winning videos that provide enrichment to the child’s world. See suggested videos now available. Match videos with child’s interests and age. Ask-will the video help my child understand more about their community, the world or expand their imagination and information? Be sure to balance time with physical exercise, reading, board games and other play activities. A great title for stimulating imagination, acting and crafts activities is Red Riding Hood, and More James Marshall Fairy Tale Favorites.



Fall Fun- Craft a Pumpkin Piggy!

Idea from children's book author, Linda Stanek, who invites librarians, teachers, parents, and students, to participate in the Becoming a Book project. More details.

Materials: Small pumpkin; thin, permanent marker; glue; black and pink felt; pink pipe cleaner.

For instructions, go to craft page.

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.

Other Events

Oct. 26 - 29: Austin, Texas. The Flow Conference is a series of roundtable discussions with topics created by Flow columnists, organized around the future of television and media culture and scholarship. "The goal of the Flow Conference is conversation. There are no plenary sessions. We want to promote discussion amongst scholars, members of the media industries, media activists, fans, and policy-makers over crucial issues related to television and media. "

October 27-28 Boston, MA. 5th Annual Summit of the Coalition for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond. The summit will "bring together distinguished scholars, activists, parents, and educators to discuss how marketing undermines children’s health and well-being and what we can do about it. The 2006 summit features a special focus on marketing in schools. "

November 4. Seneca Falls, NY. Heroic Girlz is playing at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Women's Rights Convention National Park.

November 5, 2006. Lake Lily Park, 701 Lake Lily Drive Maitland, FL. . Take a Day to Play and enjoy carnival rides and games, Nickelodeon character visits, and live children’s music. Hot Peas ‘n Butter and Justin Roberts, both of whom are featured on the NOGGIN’s Jack’s Big Music Show, will join local favorites on stage for a six-hour concert. Admission to the concert is FREE, and tickets for the carnival can be purchased at the event. For more information, call the Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando at 407-645-0923 or visit

November 19-24 Canada's National Media Education Week. The first of its kind in Canada, this week will highlight the importance of media literacy and Web literacy as key learning areas in the information age. Read More.

January 12-14: Memphis, Tennessee. Activists, media makers, educators, journalists, policymakers and concerned citizens will gather in Memphis this January to mobilize for better media. The National Conference for Media Reform, sponsored by Free Press, is for "anyone who is concerned about the state of our media and committed to working for change. " This is an outstanding conference with top speakers, including Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, Ben Bagdikian and others. Expect thousands of people committed to democracy and the need for a media system that supports rather than restricts free speech.

January 19: Hempstead, NY [Long Island]. Reclaim the First Amendment: A Conference on Constitutional Theories of Media Reform, co-sponsored by the Free Expression Policy Project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and by conference host Hofstra University. Free and open to the public, reservations requested.


Through the combined efforts of Corporations for Character, KIDS FIRST!® , and your generous donation, we can fulfill our mission to provide positive, encouraging movies into each of more than one million children's hospital beds. This effort will provide entertainment for children while they are confined in a hospital. To support KIDS FIRST!® Cares, click here. All credit card transactions are secure.

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 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 or KIDS FIRST!®.

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


This newsletter may be reprinted with permission.
Copyright 2002 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media,

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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