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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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Cyberchase, from PBS and Paramount Home Entertainment
Turning your TV Time into Quality Time

CQCM Newsletter Archive:

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Issue #10

Boohbah from PBS and Paramount Home Entertainment



Kids from our Virgin Islands Film Festival, sponsored by Banco Popular










Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
September 8, 2004 Issue #10
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

1. Letter from the Editor / Letter from the President
2. Featured Titles from the KIDS FIRST! Web Store
3. New Endorsements
4. Member News
5. Media News
6. Family and Parenting News
7. Mixed Messages in Modern Media by Christine L. Pollock
9. What Children Watch Matters
10. Events
11. Visit Our Members Sites
* 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.

“Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.”

Dear Friends,

This month I had the great privilege of interviewing Shalom (Sholly) Fisch, the author of “Children’s Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond.” After reading both this book and one of his previous books, my views of media have changed dramatically. I highly recommend his book to everyone.

In addition to doing the interview, I had another great thing happen to me this month. “Mothering” magazine has accepted one of my articles for use on their website. The article shows how children’s behaviors can be a result of the food they eat.

At KIDS FIRST!® we are gearing up for the fall. New titles are coming in for endorsements and we have several new members.

Don’t forget, we are now offering juror training online. Do you know anyone who is interested in becoming a KIDS FIRST!® juror? Anyone who remains a juror after six months will get their training fee reimbursed. It is a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents and others involved with children to review great media and build a quality media library free of charge. More information can be found at: htttp://

Members and partners, also don’t forget our Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, October 21 and 22. I plan to attend and look forward to meeting many of you there.

I’d like to invite you, our reader, to send your comments, questions and feedback . I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great month!

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,

Happy September. Boy did summer just disappear in a heartbeat in Santa Fe. All of a sudden it’s 45 degrees in the mornings. But, of course, the mountains being what they are, it’s 80 degrees by the afternoon and the flowers look like they’re about to explode before the frost hits. I’m thrilled to be back to work though and to share with you all that’s going on at KIDS FIRST!

To begin with, our Film Festival has just jumped off the page. Thanks to our partners who are now offering monthly, weekly and daily screenings in addition to their annual festivals, we’ll reach a national audience of over 100,000 this year! WOW. For an updated list of locations, venues and schedules, visit our festival web page at

We are also really pleased with the activity that we’re seeing at our KIDS FIRST! web store ( We started with about 60 titles and will have about 150 by the end of this month. So, check back on a regular basis.

I’d like to remind our producers that our next deadline for submission for the KIDS FIRST! evaluation and for consideration for the Film Festival is October 15. An online form is available at Remember that this is a chance to not only have your title evaluated and rated by our KIDS FIRST! jurors, but to be listed on our website, to be included in our Film Festival, and to be sold at the KIDS FIRST! web store. All that for one application fee!

Members, remember that our Annual Meeting is coming up October 21 and 22 in Santa Fe. If you haven’t made your travel arrangements yet or sent us your registration do it today while its fresh in your mind. Contact our office for information

I wish you a wonderful month. Remember to send us your news that you want to share with our readers.


Ranny Levy

*** My Grandbaby and Me - A learn-and-play program encouraging grandparents and grandbabies to play together. It combines exercise, music, and learning. There are rhymes, circle-time activities, lullabies and tips on how to best physically interact with your grandbaby.

Video/DVD–Ages 0-2
*** We Sign: Babies and Toddlers - Offers instruction for using sign language with pre-verbal infants and toddlers. Includes basic instruction and teaches more than 200 words.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
*** Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type - Country superstar, Randy Travis, narrates the title tale about a barnyard mutiny on Farmer Brown's farm.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8
*** The Big Aquarium - Visit the largest freshwater aquarium in the world in Chattanooga, TN. Shows hundreds of fish and animals from various habitats, divers feeding fish and looks behind the scenes at the control center, the veterinarian and the research lab.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12
*** Pegasus - Follows the mythological Pegasus from birth to his battle with the multi-headed Chimaera; his appointment by Zeus as thunder-bearer and his transformation into the constellation bearing his name. Narrated by Mia Farrow. Adapted by Doris Orgel.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
* LITTLE ALVIN AND THE MINI MUNKS. Little Alvin and the mini-Munks spend a magical weekend at La Lu's cottage. They explore feelings of jealousy, sibling rivalry, lying, cooperation, fair play, and sharing. This is a blend of imaginative entertainment and valuable life lessons. Adult Juror Comments: Good production quality, cute puppets, good lessons about separation, consequences of lying, making friends, and being angry. The delivery is heavy-handed and one character is rude and brusque. Negative behaviors are not corrected. Kid Juror Comments: Mixed response. Kids liked the songs. Found the "feeling center" portion confusing. When a character felt a certain emotion, two squirrels pop up and say, "let's visit the emotion center." Sometimes these visits were filled with frightening images. DVD. 80 min.; $19.95; Age: 2-5. BADASARIAN PRODUCTIONS

** WE SIGN: PLAY TIME. Combines music and American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary. Join our "We Sign moms and kids" as they sing, sign, laugh, move, and play along to songs like: Wheels on the Bus, If You're Happy and You Know It, This is the Way, etc. Adult Juror Comments: Good program. Songs are fun, the language learning is super. It's challenging for adults. Good structure, close-ups work for seeing the movements. Songs are easy with some familiar and some new. Music makes learning faster. Great diverse group of kids. Kid Juror Comments: Captured their interest. Kids tried the hand actions and sang along to Wheels on the Bus. "I liked singing the songs." Signing was easier for the older ones to pick up than the youngest. But, they loved dancing, clapping hands, and jumping around. Video/DVD. 30 min.; $14.95; Age: 2-5. PRODUCTION ASSOCIATES.

*** WHEELS ON THE BUS VIDEO: MANGO AND PAPAYA'S ANIMAL ADVENTURE. Roger Daltrey of “The Who” sings the voice of Argon the Dragon, the driver of the bus, in this colorful musical journey based on the classic children's song. Includes three new songs. Adult Juror Comments: Oh, my gosh - really cute! Great music, adorable characters. Mango and Papaya take the bus and visit a zoo, aquarium, farm, etc. and learn lessons about friendship, safety, habitat, and nutrition. Friendly characters; storyline addresses kids' interests. Kid Juror Comments: Loved this! Watched it three times right away. Loved the characters and the dragon bus driver. Kids all sang and danced along to the Wheel on the Bus song. "I want to go to the zoo to see the zebras." "Can we go to the aquarium and see Nemo?" DVD. 33 min.; $16.99; Age: 2-5. ARMSTRONG MOVING PICTURES.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8
** RED RIDING HOOD*AND MORE JAMES MARSHALL FAIRY TALE FAVORITES. Zanily adapted fairy tales (Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel and Chicken Little) by humorist James Marshall, brought to vivid life. Music by Ernest V. Troost. Adult Juror Comments: Classic, familiar tales, in original version. More violent than contemporary stories but the violence is well handled. Granny emerges from the wolf's stomach after being eaten in Little Red Riding Hood, and comments that it's too dark to read in there. Kid Juror Comments: Held kids' attention until the end. Each child seemed to relate to a different story best. Chicken Little was a favorite, perhaps because it was the least familiar. Three Little Pigs was also a big hit. DVD. 59 min.; $14.95; Age: 3-8. SCHOLASTIC ENTERTAINMENT.

*** WAI LANA'S LITTLE YOGIS, VOL. 2. Introduces the whole family to yoga. Kids stretch and strengthen their growing bodies, sharpen their minds and improve their balance and coordination - healthy habits that will benefit them forever. Adult Juror Comments: Loved it. "I can't wait to share it with the kids." Humorous, appealing music, animals and cartoons. Smooth transitions from animation to live action. Lovely Hawaiian set with Asian host. Nothing is too difficult to recreate. Promotes healthy lifestyle. Kid Juror Comments: Yes! They liked the cartoons and doing the postures. "It gave me muscles. I like the camel." "It's pretty cool." "We sang, did the elephant, the bear, and the warrior." One girl was simply entranced, while the boys -at least one - were expecting karate. Video. 30 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-8. WAI LANA PRODUCTIONS.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12

Dr. Stevanne Auerbach’s new book, “Dr. Toy’s Smart Play Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High PQ* (Play Quotient)” is an ideal gift for a new parent or one with older kids who’s interested in expanding their child’s interests and play opportunities. What Dr. Toy has created is a simple, easy-to-follow guide for selecting age-appropriate toys or play opportunities for your child or grandchild that addresses specific needs of children at different stages of their development. Dr. Toy is not some “ivory tower” sort of child psychologist whose experience is learned from books. She is practical, down-to-earth, and a seasoned mother and grandmother. She explains, in lay terms, the role of play in developing a well rounded, resilient child. She helps parents understand a child’s developmental stages and what’s needed at each one: how to direct a child’s play into new areas; how to use toys wisely; how to purchase smartly; and why playing together helps strengthen relationships between parent and child. I loved this book and recommend it for all parents, especially new ones. The book is available at bookstores or online at (Reviewed by CQCM President, Ranny Levy)

DOTTIE, the little girl with a big voice, was picked up for world TV sales by Premium Films of Paris. The Library Video Co. is the new distributor for this award winning animated film which will be in catalogues all over the US and Canada starting in November.

Congratulations Shana Banana on the birth of your daughter, Grace Ohana Smith!

Classical Fun Music Inc
The mission of Classical Fun Music is to "preserve and enjoy classical music with our children" by combining highlights of timeless masterpieces with child centered images, lyrics and activities to create fun and memorable experiences.

Know A Baby LLC
Know a Baby® LLC is an educational video company exclusively devoted to children and their world. Through years of research and study, we have developed outstanding, effective ways to communicate with young children, even while they are unable to tell us what they want. We are winner of the 2004 Videographer Video of Distinction Award and have two new titles coming out soon: Know A Baby® Goes to the Zoo and Counting with Know A Baby®.

Kids Are Calling In
The Kaiser Family Foundation /MTV Public Education Campaign on Sexual Health is a success. Close to a million calls have come in to the hotline as young people ask for more information. Details at

Report and Fact Sheets
Read the most current studies on children and media at

WalMart Turns to Media to Improve Its Image
Now a supporter of the National Public Radio, WalMart is offering scholarships to minority groups for education in journalism.

Media Reform and Politics
Where do media rate in the election process? From limited coverage of conventions to expensive commercials in campaigning, find out what questions you should be asking political candidates about media.

Help Stop Commercial Exploitation of Our Children
Senator Tom Harkin has introduced the HeLP (Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention) America Act which has important provisions to bring back the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to govern all advertising to children and to curtail junk food marketing to children under 18. For more information and to support this legislation, visit

A New Twist on Stereotypes
Many video games are coming out with a “Browning” effect, bringing hip-hop culture to the gaming screen. Instead of evening the playing field culturally, the games perpetuate the stereotype that blacks and Hispanics thrive on street violence and crime.

Elections and Your Child
This PBS site not only teaches the election process, but demonstrates how it affects you. This is a site for children in grades 3-6, but anyone can learn from it.

Project-based Learning With Technology
Students in this innovative classroom merge English, science, and media as they learn about watersheds.

Shalom (Sholly) Fisch’s latest academic book on educational television is hot off the press from social science publisher Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. “Children’s Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond” pulls together over 30 years of research documenting kids’ learning from numerous TV series. Information on the book can be found at:

Mixed Messages in Modern Media
by Christine L. Pollock

Where is television going? What does it take to be a good parent in the midst of media wars? Several years ago an email appeared in my inbox with a dire warning: “TV is an evil stranger you invite into your home.”

The message continued with some good points about the harm media can wield on our individual and family lives. Recent news reports blame rising violence and loss of creativity in children on the entertainment industry. Is television good or bad? I went to a KIDS FIRST!® resource to find out. In our recent newsletters, we have been advertising the new book written by Shalom Fisch, former Vice President for Program Research at Sesame Workshop, and a KIDS FIRST!® consultant who helped design the rating criteria for our title endorsements.

As Founder and President of MediaKidz Research & Consulting, Dr. Fisch is well acquainted with television and child development, and his latest book is a conglomeration of studies about media and its effects on children. According to him, television is neither inherently good nor bad. “It’s about balance, and it depends on what you watch.” In a relaxed interview by phone and email, he explains that it is what viewers do with the messages they receive from media that makes it harmful or good. As TV and the internet evolve, new challenges and new triumphs arise.

As media become increasingly prevalent, the “watch-dog” responsibility of parenting becomes more difficult. Internet and television are in almost every home. With the increase of media, there has been an increase in the types of programming offered, some good and some bad.
In the 1970's, the lively and sunny Sesame Street revolutionized children’s programming in the TV industry. Prior to the show, educational shows specifically for children were basically non-existent. Now, we have shows like KIDS FIRST!® All-Stars Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, Caillou, Cyberchase...encouragingly, the list continues to grow.

Approximately ten to fifteen years ago, producers realized that they could make money with quality programming for children. In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a policy wherein each station had to provide a minimum of three hours of “positive” programming each week. “More educational and pro-social shows began to appear—and children watched them,” comments Dr. Fisch.

This was a wonderful step for parents concerned with program content. However, although there is more programming available for children, cable companies and private owners still control most of the industry and limit creative and educational content. As Dr. Fisch states, “It’s a paradoxical widening and narrowing.” There is more educational programming out there, but with all the mergers and deals, there are fewer producers providing it.

Now that television has been around for several decades, the results from longitudinal studies on the effects of media on children are coming in—and showing that TV can have good effects as well as bad. Recent reports cite that educational programming has helped children who watched it. For example, children who watched Sesame Street regularly when they were young were found to be academically advanced when they entered school, and measurable differences continued to appear even in high school. From my own experience, I have personally seen the benefits of educational television in my home and daycare. Just this week my four-year old told me how to identify a bird using a handbook—a lesson he learned from Blues Clues (see my article next month for more on Blues Clues). Even older kids in my daycare get excited about math after watching Cyberchase.

On the other hand, some reports state that television viewing can be harmful. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not letting children under the age of two watch TV at all. “Is that realistic in today’s world?” Dr. Fisch asks. According to Dr. Fisch, “an occasional hour of television will probably not hurt a baby or young child. But the important thing is to be aware of the content of the program: is it positive or negative?" Not all children’s programs are appropriate for young children. Moreover, a parent will sometimes have a child playing in the room while the parent is watching an adult program, such as the news. The images shown can be very harmful to young children.

Parents need to be aware of the pros and cons of each piece of media presented to the household. Organizations like KIDS FIRST!® are designed help parents with this daunting task by screening media. Some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and England, have developed strong media literacy programs in their schools. These programs are specifically designed to teach children to be aware of media and its effects. But comparable programs are missing from U.S. school curricula.

Will that absence put American children at a disadvantage? Dr. Fisch suggests that part of the reason why similar programs haven’t been adopted more widely in U.S. schools is that educators worry that they will take away time from core subjects, like literacy or math. “What we need to do,” he proposes, “is weave media literacy into other subjects and also in our day-to-day lives at home.”

Instead of having a specific class showing the power of media, Dr. Fisch says, “We should integrate the lessons into other areas of schooling.” For example, teachers can instruct students on doing internet research for their papers. During the process, they can teach students ways to judge the credibility of source material that they find.

Dr. Fisch also recommends that on the home front, parents should carefully monitor the media presented, making it a family event if possible. As everyone watches a show, talk about real vs. fake and what the commercials are really telling the viewer. Dr. Fisch further suggests taking a trip to the grocery store with the kids to see if the brand advertised is really so much better than all the others.

In summary, Dr. Fisch wants us to remember that TV and other media are only one part of a child’s life; we need to keep that context in mind. He reminds us that it is up to us to make the effects of media positive. “Steer KIDS toward good programming and make sure that the TV gets shut off sometimes. Above all, remember that balance is the key.”

Dr. Fisch has already made in impact on my life. We have had no television in our household for a while now and have only been watching videos and DVDs. After talking to Dr. Fisch and reading his books, I have come to realize that there is a lot of programming that can really benefit my children when presented responsibly. Using the guidelines set up by KIDS FIRST! ® at and resources like Dr. Fisch’s books, I have the tools to be that responsible viewer.

A recent study shows that children watching a high content of violence in media at the beginning of a school year become increasingly hostile over the school year. They are also more likely to be shunned by peers.

KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival Schedule:
For details go to
Alamogordo, NM, Otero County Film Commission, Annual Festival, February 2005 (tent).
Albuquerque, NM Explora Science Center and Children's Museum, Monthly.
Boston, Boston, Children's Museum, Every Thursday.
Brookline MA, Coolidge Corner Theater, Every Saturday.
Dallas, Angelika Film Center, Weekly.
Denver CO, Denver Film Society, Every Saturday.
Denver Film Festival, October 14-24.
Forest Grove, OR, Forest Theater, Daily.
Fort Wayne, IN, Fort Wayne Cinema Center, Weekly.
Houston, TX, Houston Children's Museum, Daily.
LaCrosse, WI, Children's Museum of La Crosse, Every Friday & Saturday.
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Weekly, starting in 2005.
Nashville, TN, Belcourt Theater, Weekly. Annual Festival, Feb. 2005.
New Orleans, LA, Louisiana Children's Museum, Weekly.
New York, NY, United Nations and UN School, Dec. 10 (tent) Peace Film Festival.
Oklahoma City, OK, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Quarterly.
Orlando, FL, Downtown Media Arts Center, Weekly.
Plano, TX, Angelika Film Center, Weekly.
Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Annual Festival.
Salt Lake City, UT, Salt Lake City Children's Film Festival, Annual Event.
Santa Fe, NM, KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, Annual Event.
Vancouver, WA, Kiggins Theater, Daily.

Other Events:
September 15: The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival is calling filmmakers to submit their entries for the Jubilee Awards. More details can be found at

October 14-16: Ryerson University, Toronto. The Fourth Interdisciplinary Conference on The Evolution of World Order addresses high-priority global issues. More details at

October 21-22: KIDS FIRST!® Fall Meeting
We're inviting the CQCM Board, Trustees, Members and Sponsors to attend this meeting. We’d like to invite you to share your expertise with this high-level audience. We're seeking session proposals that describe industry trends and issues in depth; present up-to-date research in children’s media; and conceive successful strategies for fulfilling the mission of the CQCM.

To add your event to this list, please send a notice to [email protected]

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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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)


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