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The Newsstand - What's Hot!


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The Newsstand - What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. -George Bernard Shaw


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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
April 5, 2005 Issue #4
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

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

Center for Media Literacy Founder, Liz Thoman is interviewed in the January 2005 issue,
click here.

Making Rainbows for Readers - An Interview
with Dr. Twila Liggett



Welcome new Jurors: Ms.Diana, Nicholas & Savannah


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
Jan. 2005 / Feb. 2005 / Mar. 2005
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
1997a 1997 b

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

"Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; great minds rise above them." - Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Dear Friends,

I love my job. How fortunate I am to be able to say that, eh? It occurred to me as I was compiling the Member News section of this newsletter that I actually love many aspects of my job. I love working with wonderful, inspiring people such as Ranny, Deb, Michelle, Ann, Netman and the board members. I love watching the growth of the exceptional programming KIDS FIRST!® endorses. Our congratulations go out to Reading Rainbow, Discovery Kids, TLC and Dawn Westlake on their awards and nominations this month (more details in the Member News section).

I also love the fact that my husband and children love what I do. Earlier this month Veggie Tales: Duke and the Great Pie War premiered at Houghton College and my children and I had the opportunity to attend! My youngest son was a bit dismayed when we didn't win one of the DVDs they had as a give-away prize in a game, and I leaned over to whisper the old "We don't always get to win in life" schpeal. Besides, I added, it was good to see other kids getting free movies since we get so many all the time at home thorough the KIDS FIRST!® juror program. Who knew? Maybe we would even get Duke and the Great Pie War to review. My son agreed.

Judging by the enthusiasm of a hundred or so kids surrounding me, the event was a huge success. My boys returned home with giant posters for their walls and huge grins on their faces. About two weeks after the premiere, I opened our mailbox to discover that we had received Duke and the Great Pie War to review.

As spring has its own debut, we are starting to see changes everywhere. My kids are finding signs of flowers in the "forest adventure" behind our fence and the Canada geese have come back. Next month you might notice a change in our newsletter. I am going to be adding an activity section. If you have an anecdote or favorite activity you have done with your children based on one of our endorsed titles, please send it. Pictures of the activity are also welcome. Please email for guidelines.

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

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,

Little did I know last month when I sent you wishes for a March that came in like a lion and out like a lamb that March in Santa Fe was going to end with three major snowstorms in a row the last week. We're finally getting a spring day once every four or five days but spring has been slow to appear in the mountains here. Regardless of that, our spring KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival are blossoming all over the country. We just heard back from the Denver Film Society who screened our new feature sneak peek, "Mad Hot Ballroom" last weekend to a most enthusiastic crowd. Eric Beteille from the Denver Film Society commented: "One couple came to ask me to make sure Mad Hot Ballroom would return to Denver soon; they were big fans of the documentary Spellbound and, it so happens, the movie Strictly Ballroom. They described this new documentary as a perfect blend of the two. The Mad Hot Ballroom screening was a part of our Starz Film Center third anniversary party Saturday, but the crowd coming out of the screening was so wrapped up in the movie they had to be reminded about the free cake.

Another festival that is featuring selections from the KIDS FIRST! Film and Video Festival this month is the Newport Beach Film Festival. Leslie Feibleman, Director of Community Outreach and Family programs notes, "The Newport Beach Film Festival is thrilled to work with KIDS FIRST! to bring to our community the strongest family films available today. KIDS FIRST!, from its bottomless vault of titles, has introduced our Festival to a number of unique family-friendly cinematic works from both studio and independent filmmakers." For details on their festival, go to

We're thrilled to have added more than 100 new titles to our KIDS FIRST! web store this month, thanks to our many independent producers members who have donated copies of their endorsed titles to jump start the store and to an affiliate relationship with for studio product. Remember that when you link to amazon from the KIDS FIRST! site to purchase, 5% of your purchase is donated back to KIDS FIRST!

In addition to the web store, our DVD of the Month program is rapidly developing. Our new affiliate agreement is available to you on our website. If your group is interested in becoming an affiliate, download at and fax or mail to us.

Please join me in welcoming Stevanne Auerback, Ph.D. aka Dr. Toy to our Advisory Board. Dr. Auerback has been a long-time supporter of the Coalition and we're delighted to have her join our team. For more information about her, please visit

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!
If you always agreed, it would mean that only one of you was thinking!


Correction: Dr. Ed Greene did not attend the University of Michigan. Rather, he was in the University of Michigan's All-State Band program during high school at Interlochen, and was in the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra which, at that time (1966-1967), was hosted at the Music School on North Campus. U of M was a "second home" when he was in high school.


***Merlin and the Dragons. Young Arthur doesn't understand why pulling a sword from a stone qualifies him for kingship. Merlin, the magician, guides him with inspiring stories and prophetic dreams that prepare him to become a magnificent king. Narrated by Kevin Kline. A wonderful slant on the classic story of King Arthur and his mentor, the incredible magician Merlin. Excellent role models for self-esteem, courage and trustworthiness.

***Veggie Tales: Jonah-A Veggie Tales Movie. Get ready as Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and the rest of the gang set sail on a whale of an adventure. Filled with music, laughs and some of the silliest adventures ever to be swallowed whole. The story of Jonah and the whale as you've never seen. Awesome, delightful and entertaining. Fabulous music strategically interspersed through clever adaptations of bible stories. Playful characters skillfully drawn and memorable. Great jokes for adults too. "What a great way to teach mercy and compassion."

***The Big Space Shuttle. Explores the behind-the-scenes action at the space shuttle program, including the astronaut training, the crew roles, shuttle maintenance and orbital gravity experiments. Captured kids' interest and motivated further inquiry into the subject. Kids liked it because it was real. They particularly enjoyed the launch. "Everything in it is great." "I liked seeing the girl scientists."


Video/DVD - Ages 2-5

** LANDSCAPE ADVENTURES. In "Landscape Adventures" kids get to express their own style as they move and groove along with the "E-Motion Kids." Fun backgrounds - aquarium, desert, city, farm, and garden - can be used to inspire different dance themes. It's exercise for the body and the spirit. Adult Juror Comments: MTV for tots. Quasi-hip-hop music encourages kids to dance. Peppy music, happy kids, basic landscapes. Shows many ways to free-dance. Music, camera work and some suggestive dance moves mimic music videos for older kids. Shows much ethnic diversity. The backgrounds were secondary to the music. Kid Juror Comments: Bigger hit with girls than boys. Got them up and dancing. Not a big connection: The music was cool, but I didn't want to dance for the whole time. Boys liked the special effects. The wavy lines and blurry parts were really cool. After the farm scene, younger kids wandered off acting like animals. DVD. min.; $14.99; Age: 3-6. E-MOTION FOR KIDS.

** NURSERY TAP, HIP TO TOE. Thirty well known and not-so-well known traditional nursery rhymes are put to dance. Little Miss Muffet is on Pointe and Peter Piper is a very hip Hip-Hopper. How about tap dancing to It's Raining, It's Pouring? With the camera focused on legs and feet, it's easy for aspiring dancers to learn new steps. Adult Juror Comments: Unique, fun film. Non-flashy. Simple introduction to dance. Clear instructions and visual examples with costumes and styles from different cultures. Narrator's voice is soothing yet expressive. "Uncomplicated sets keep the viewer's attention on the dance steps instead of other things." Kid Juror Comments: Kids interested in dancing were mesmerized. They told dancer friends about it, who asked to see it.
"My friends who like dancing would like the tap dancing and the clothes." "It showed people how to dance." Some of the kids repeated the rhymes, some tapped their feet. Non-dancers became restless. DVD. 33 min.; $21.95; Age: 1-4. NURSERY TAP, LLC.

** WHERE IS PINKY (GINA D'S KIDS CLUB). Pinky the Elephant is lost! The BoBo Blocks characters use teamwork to find and rescue the stranded elephant. They find their missing friend by making elephant sounds. When found, Pinky learns an important lesson about not wandering off. Adult Juror Comments: Sweet, simple and entertaining. Short clip is written for children to easily understand. Appealing animation and characters. Colors, shapes and moving images draw the viewer into the land of imagination. Best if watched with an adult to help children fill in the blanks if they don't quite get it. Kid Juror Comments: Understood that the animals were working together to help Pinky. They saved the elephant and were nice to their friend. They were worried that the balloon wouldn't hold the elephant and were glad he was rescued. "I want to know how the balloon lifted the elephant up." Mimicked the elephant noises. TV. 2.2 min.; Age: 2-5. MG STUDIOS.

Video/DVD - Ages 5-8
The Danger Rangers is a unique and delightfully animated show that uses action-adventure, comedy and lively songs to impart safety tips that entertain, educate and save lives. Adult Juror Comments: Top notch. Covers a lot of ground in a short time. Subtle humor adults will enjoy with the kids. Crisp animation with bold colors and lots of action. Upbeat music with creative lyrics. Important emergency and safety information invitingly packaged. Kid Juror Comments: Some kids LOVED it, watched repeatedly, all the way through the credits. "I knew this was going to be good as soon as I heard the music." Some were so enthusiastic they wanted to call 911 right away. All of them got the message that safety is important. DVD. 28 min.; $12.99; Age: 3-9. EDUCATIONAL ADVENTURES.

*** DON'T KNOWS AND KINDA KNOWS. Can kids always tell what they kinda know from what they don't know? Now important safety information comes to them in a fun way that empowers them to make good decisions when confronted with everyday situations. Adult Juror Comments: First rate safety program. Lighthearted approach gets kids' attention to teach them "stranger danger" without scaring them. Fast paced, vivid colors and eye-catching settings. Relevant and goofy at the same time. "Parents need to watch too." Kid Juror Comments: Definitely got their attention. "It's funny and teaches very important things. I'll tell my friends about it because they should watch it too." "Zippy and fun." "The sound effects and funky costumes added a lot." "Lots of hot tips for cool kids." DVD. 30 min.; $14.95; Age: 3-9. THE SAFE SIDE.

** VEGGIE TALES: AN EASTER CAROL. Inspired by Dickens' Christmas classic, this very special VeggieTales DVD explains why millions of people celebrate Easter past, present and future…and the Easter version of Scrooge, Mr. Nezzer, learns what Easter is really about. Adult Juror Comments: A refreshing and unexpected twist on the Easter story. Great songs and a fun Old English style. Accurate and suitable. Funny while explaining that Easter is not just about candy and Easter eggs. "The spirit part might be a bit beyond young viewers." Kid Juror Comments: Thought it was very funny. Most understood the story. "It was good. It had lots of different parts." "The Veggies wore costumes so they looked like they were around a lot of years ago." "Nezzer was mean cause he didn't understand - he was misguided." DVD. 49 min.; $14.99; Age: 4-10. BIG IDEA PRODUCTIONS, INC.

*** VEGGIE TALES: A SNOODLE'S TALE. Welcome to Snoodleburg, where Snoodle Doo learns that the way others see him doesn't matter; it's how God sees us that counts. He sees how special and beautiful each of us is, and that's just how we should see ourselves. That's where self-esteem begins. Adult Juror Comments: Clever adaptation combines Dr. Suess, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Snappy, catchy tunes and colorful, expressive animation. Brilliant use of music, jokes and underlying serious message to cover a large age span. "Every child needs to hear he is special." Kid Juror Comments: Enthusiastically sang the new theme song. "The dancing part was great." "The God part was better because God is the creator." "The music kept the story going.
Good effects." "Be kind. Don't give up unless you feel you weren't meant to do something." DVD. 50 min.; $14.99; Age: 4-10. BIG IDEA PRODUCTIONS, INC.

Video/DVD - Ages 12 - 18
Teaches the entire family how to make the most of their digital media, while learning about basic filmmaking. Features tips, secrets and shortcuts for creating your own DVD movie or transferring old photos. Adult Juror Comments: Good technical information, well presented, very orderly, VERY advanced. Challenges students to think beyond the box. "Of everything I've seen, this motivates me to learn about DVD movie making." Clearly appeals best to those interested in the subject. Kid Juror Comments: Advanced. "This was too hard for me but the techies would love it." "Excellent information; I believe they know what they're talking about." "It was cool how they made transitions between chapters." "It's not like other DVDs, it teaches us something." DVD. 60 min.; $29.99; Age: 12-18. DVD INTERNATIONAL.

BOOK - Adult
A child's ability to play does more than provide for fun and diversion; it is critical for his or her emotional and intellectual growth, and teaches everything from social skills to analytical thinking. Stevanne Auerbach, Ph. D., has dedicated a lifetime to the importance of play and gives you specific advice on which toys to buy and what kind of games to play to empower your child's overall development. Adult Juror Comments: 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. Book; $15; Age: Adult


Read more about each title and see many more at

Blue's Clues: Blues Room: Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
. Animated. 98 min. 4/24 min Episodes
Includes two main episodes - one Blue's Room episode and one Blue's Clues episode with a Blue's Room segment, each approximately 24 minutes for an approximate total run time of 50 minutes. There will also be 2 bonus episodes on the DVD that have not previously been released on VHS. English. Ages 2-5. Paramount Home Entertainment / Nickelodeon

Dragon Tales Playing Fair Makes Playing Fun!
Animation. 64 min.
No one likes to be made fun of, and no one likes a "Me First" attitude. Dragon Tales: Playing Fair Makes Playing Fun explores these common childhood behaviors and, through engaging and playful episodes gives children creative ways to learn consideration for the feelings of others. Includes five episodes: No Hitter, The MeFirst Wizard, Give Zak a Hand, Teasing Is Not Pleasing, Play It and Say It (teaches Spanish language skills). English, Close-captioned. Ages 2-5. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

KIDS FIRST! Kids for Peace Selection
A Life of Death Documentary
. Live Action. 8 min.
World leaders say they want world peace, but at what price? Throughout the 20th Century, and now into the 21st, wars have been waged all over the globe under the banner proclamation that conflict ultimately leads to world peace. A Life of Death presents the cost of this irony by poetically answering the question: What is the price of lasting peace? Directed by Dawn Westlake. Animators/Editors: Thomas & Joel Moser. Actor: Donald G. Westlake. Ages 12-18. Ron de Cana Prods., Inc.

Mad Hot Ballroom.
Live Action. 114 min.
Mad Hot Ballroom provides an insightful, inspiring and often hilarious look at a group of eleven-year old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing. Along the way, they reveal themselves and their world as they compete in the final citywide competition. Told from their candid perspectives, these kids are transformed from reluctant participants to determined competitors, from typical urban kids to "ladies and gentlemen." Directed by Marilyn Agrelo and written by Amy Sewell. Ages 7-13. From Paramount Classics.

CGI animation and live action puppetry. 4/11 min. Episodes.
Paz, a loveable five-year-old penguin, stars in curriculum-based stories inspired by the everyday experiences typical of a preschooler. Based on the popular book series by Irish writer, Mary Murphy. Includes: Frisbee Dog - Frisbees aren't as easy to play with as they appear. Following Dog's instructions though, everyone's able to play along. In a Hurry - Paz, Pig, Rabbit and Dog visit a local art museum, rushing from exhibit to exhibit. Only Dog takes time to really see the art and gives all a new appreciation for taking time. Some of My Best Friends are Carrots - Paz and Rabbit learn how little kids are different from big kids. Big Bad Dream - During a sleep-over, Dog doesn't want to go to sleep because he's had a bad dream the night before. Talking about it and keeping the night-light on solves the problem. Directed by Alistair Clark, Leo Nielsen. Actors: Paz (puppeteer and voice)- Tim LaGasse, Big Penguin (puppeteer and voice) - Rebecca Nagan, Big Penguin (skin artist) -Sarah-Jane Honeywell, Pig -Charlotte Bellamy, Rabbit-Margot Caroni, Dog-Liam McMahon. English. Ages 2-5. From Discovery Kids.

Sandlot 2.
Live Action. 97 min.
James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams) reprises his role from The Sandlot in this fun-filled sequel that proves the power of teamwork and celebrates the magic of friendship. Ten years after the original story, the local dirt field is now "home" to a new group of neighborhood kids who get together to share laughs, show off…and play ball! But the gang faces their toughest challenge as they try to retrieve an irreplaceable model rocket that lands in the junkyard behind left field-a forbidden territory guarded by the legendary, growling, slobbering beast known as "The Great Fear." Director: David Mickey Evans; Actors: James Earl Jones, Greg Germann, Brett Kelly. English, Close-captioned Ages 5-13 From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Two Brothers.
Live Action. 1 hr. 45 min.
Two mischievous twin tiger cubs live a carefree life in an exotic jungle amidst beautiful ancient ruins. But one day, an act of fate forces them a part, as one is sold off to the circus and the other becomes the pampered pet of a governor's son. Witness their remarkable journey as these tigers grow up, reunite and embark on an incredible adventure to find their way home. From Jean-Jacques Annaud, the highly acclaimed director of The Bear, comes this heartwarming story about the power of friendship and the bond between brothers. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and Guy Pearce. English, Spanish, French, Close- Captioned. Ages 5-12. Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Virginia's Run.
Live Action. 103 minutes
Virginia's Run is a classic family action drama about 13-year-old Virginia, a girl born to ride horses, but refrained by her father's fear of putting his daughter in harm's way. Defying her father's orders that she not ride, she sneaks out at night, riding Stormy across the countryside. In a devastating move, Stormy is sold to new owners. With the help of her sister, Caroline and a new trainer in the area, Jesse, Virginia's father comes to understand that he must allow Virginia her freedom by giving her free reign. The father cleverly buys back the horse. Featuring an all-star cast: Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects, Vanity Fair), Joanne Whalley (Willow, The Man Who Knew Too Little), Lindze Letherman (Bicentennial Man, Clockstoppers), Kevin Zegers (Air Bud Films, MVP, Dawn of the Dead). Ages 7-13. From MGM Home Entertainment.


Congratulations to Award-Winning Producer Dawn Westlake
Our heartfelt congratulations go to Dawn Westlake as her film, DOTTIE, wins its seventh award. This "little girl with a big voice" received the Special Jury Prize at the Reel Woman International Film Fest at Raleigh Studios in LA. Westlake's film, A LIFE OF DEATH is currently playing in the Tehran Int'l Animation Festival along with 2005 Oscar nominees in the Best Short Animated Film category BIRTHDAY BOY and LORENZO, and along with Oscar-winner, RYAN.

Daytime Emmy Nominations for Reading Rainbow And Discovery Kids
Reading Rainbow has received six nominations for the Daytime Emmys and Discovery Kids received ten nominations. The awards will be televised on May 20. Congratulations Reading Rainbow and Discovery Kids from all of us here at KIDS FIRST!®

The Newport Beach Film Festival
Running from April 21-30th, this film festival will highlight the following five KIDS FIRST!® titles:

1. Saturday, April 23, 2005 9:00 am: Discovery Kids' "Save Ums: Operation Beat Poetry" (2005), USA, 11 minutes. Small is powerful is the rallying cry of preschool's new pint-sized super heroes who race to solve pint-sized emergencies through collaborative problem solving, critical thinking and creative science investigation skills. Operation Beat Poetry Party! Winston is to perform at the Wave World Beat Poetry Party, but must pick his wave melons that are at their PEEK today. The Save-Ums videotape his poetry performance so Winston can stay in his garden, while his videotape plays at the Poetry Party! Hopscotch Emergency! Peque and Raymundo's hopscotch board gets erased every time Baby Dino joins in the game. The Save-Ums use the Zoomer to etch out a hopscotch board in the sand and discover that hopscotch is a game for everyone, big or small!

2. & 3. Saturday, April 23, 2005 11:00 am: "From Sketchbook to Big Screen: An Animation Extravaganza with Trevor Romain" Best-selling kids' author/illustrator Trevor Romain will be the featured guest at the West Coast premiere of these two new animated short films that are based on his popular books. Trevor appears as himself in these two programs, which present everyday challenges kids face with humor, understanding - and positive solutions! Trevor will introduce both films, and following the screening, will be on hand to meet and talk with the audience. "How to Do Your Homework without Throwing Up" (2005) 30 min. "Bullies are a Pain in the Brain" (2005) 30 min.

4. Saturday, April 23, 2005 11:30 am: "Shorts for Shorties," (selected short films for kids): "Raven Tales": Join the wild and funny adventures of Raven, the most powerful, and one might add, trickiest troublemaker of First Nations Folklore. He is joined by his steadfast brother, Eagle, and the mysterious Frog. Together they will learn the secret that will release light and life into the world, a secret that might just burn a few feathers as well.

5. Saturday, April 23, 2005 2:00 pm: "The Sandlot 2" (2004), USA, 97 minutes. James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams) reprises his role from The Sandlot in this fun-filled sequel that proves the power of teamwork and celebrates the magic of friendship. Ten years after the original story, the local dirt field is now "home" to a new group of neighborhood kids who get together to share laughs, show off…and play ball! But the gang faces their toughest challenge as they try to retrieve an irreplaceable model rocket that lands in the junkyard behind left field-a forbidden territory guarded by the legendary, growling, slobbering beast known as "The Great Fear."

Veggie Tales: Duke and the Great Pie War in the Media
Big Idea is running TV advertising to support the release. Spots will run on TV Land, Nickelodeon, HGTV, Oxygen, PAX and Lifetime. The episode will also begin airing in April on public television stations covering sixty percent of the nation.

Great News for Baku the Travel Bug
Baku received great reviews in Booklist (American Library Association) and Grand magazine (the new magazine for hip, boomer grandparents) and they are a "Teacher's Pick: Best New Video" in the upcoming issue of Scholastic Parent & Child. Congratulations World Notes, LLC!


IWT Productions:
I Wrote That! Has just signed a distribution deal with Echelon Entertainment, and is in the process of developing an activity book that will be distributed to schools in the fall via a company called "Cover Concepts."

Team Baby Entertainment, LP
Team Baby Entertainment produces a unique series of children's DVDs for the collegiate marketplace. Each Team Baby Entertainment title allows parents, grandparents, alumni and friends to share their love, loyalty and passion for their university with their children. Their videos provide an informative, entertaining and educational way to introduce your child to the university and team you root for. Each DVD is customized for a specific university and uses officially licensed footage of the university's team sports, mascot, marching band, campus attractions and more to expose children to the university in an exciting and playful manner. Videos also feature the music of the school's marching band as well as original "Team Baby" footage of children enjoying the sites and sounds of the university you love.

WHAT IFFF? KIDS Short Film and Short Screenplay Competition
A competition for 10-17 year olds with films and screenplays that follow the IFFF Mission Statement: To promote and encourage excellence in independent family films through film and screenplay competition and exhibition. No obscene profanity, no gratuitous violence, sex or nudity. Deadline for entries: June 1, 2005. For more information go to

The Kaiser Family Foundation's New Report
"Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds," reports that non-school use of media is changing as kids begin multi-tasking through the electronic world. Many are watching TV, surfing the net and talking on the phone as they do their homework. However, it's not just how much time they are spending on media that is alarming, it is what they might be learning without adult supervision.

Brower Youth Awards
This annual national award recognizes six young people (ages 13-22) for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. The winners of the award receive $3000 in cash, a trip to California for the award ceremony and Yosemite camping trip, and ongoing access to resources and opportunities to further their work at Earth Island Institute. To apply, contact: Jason Salfi Earth Island Institute 415-788-3666 x 144 [email protected] More details at


TV Turnoff Week
April 25-May 1, 2005! Take a break from TV for a week and see how it changes your life!

Drugs in Video Games
According to the New York Times, more than two dozen of the forty games labeled for drug content have been released within the last three years. More information on this disturbing trend can be found at:

Our Web Store - and So Much More
by Christine L. Pollock

It's exactly the movie you were looking for! You bring it home from the store, gather your family and pop it into the DVD player, but within the first fifteen minutes, you become disillusioned. Even though it stars top names and was made by a major studio, it contains gratuitous violence and edgy jokes neither you nor your children find funny. How can you avoid this? We have a solution. Shop at the KIDS FIRST!® Media Web Store (

Entertaining, educational, seasonal, religious, new releases, golden oldies…our web store has titles for everyone. Netman, the master behind the store's "au courant" design, is adding new titles and updating the site every day. Visitors can browse almost three hundred titles by age, topic, and latest additions. Say "adieu" to order disappointment. Each title has been reviewed by at least five adult jurors and a minimum of twenty-five children. The reviews are posted on our website and in our newsletters so you know exactly what you are getting and how children react to it.

It's good to know that your KIDS FIRST!® purchase does much more than simply generate corporate profits. Your patronage not only supports the KIDS FIRST! ® cause, but when you order those hard-to-find independent films we stock, you are encouraging more innovative independent film production. It's a win-win-win situation.

The order process is almost as simple as waving a magic wand-just add it to your cart and follow the checkout instructions listed on the computer screen. Customers will appreciate quick turn-around since KIDS FIRST!® handles fulfillment of independent titles in-house. Our studio titles have a link to, which handles fulfillment as KIDS FIRST!® gets an affiliate fee.

Other websites can set up an affiliate relationship with KIDS FIRST!® and we will pay a percentage of any sale made as a result of that link. For more information on establishing an affiliate relationship, contact Ann Church at our office.

Bill VanDerKloot, Founder and Producer of Little Mammoth Media, comments on some of their titles we offer:

We are excited to have a number of our titles listed with the KIDS FIRST!® Media Store. KIDS FIRST!® is an organization that tirelessly promotes excellence in programming, and the Media Store attracts parents who seek the very best for their children.

The mission of Little Mammoth Media is to create children's programming that really makes a difference. Our award-winning series of real life adventures includes The BIG Space Shuttle, which takes young audiences behind-the-scenes for the preparation and launch of the Space Shuttle. Along the way kids learn about so many interesting things -- from the science of gravity and orbits, to sound suppression and shooting stars.

Another title available at the KIDS FIRST!® Media Store is The BIG Aquarium, which features a special tour of the Tennessee Aquarium -- the largest fresh water aquarium in the world. This unique view for young audiences displays hundreds of different fish from around the world as well as the dozens of dedicated people who work together to make this wonderful place a reality.

Little Mammoth Media is proud to be associated with KIDS FIRST!®, and to receive the KIDS FIRST!® ALL STAR rating for these and other titles. Our customers demand the highest quality products for their children -- programs with award-winning creativity and production value. The KIDS FIRST!® Media Store is the perfect place to showcase our work.

Along with the Little Mammoth Media titles, KIDS FIRST!® offers endorsements such as Baku the Travel Bug from World Notes Media. This title, praised by Scholastic Parent & Child, Parenting and Good Housekeeping, is approved by KIDS FIRST!® and is available in our store.

Gretchen Effgen, Director of World Notes Media remarks, "As small producers trying to build a name for our product and bring world cultural education to children, listing our product with the KIDS FIRST!® Media Store helps us reach parents looking for quality programming with a purpose. We're excited to have Baku the Travel Bug associated with the KIDS FIRST!® organization as we share their view that media can be used a positive force in children's lives."

Effgen is correct. KIDS FIRST!® provides recognized leadership in enlightening the world on the concept that media can be a positive influence, enhancing not detracting from shared values. KIDS FIRST!® is committed to the thoughtful use of media among viewers of all ages. Irene Pierpont from KidFlix, Florida International Children's Film Festival states, "Sharing media can be an enriching experience for the entire family. It was a pleasure to offer films parents and children alike enjoyed and told us they would like to see over and over!"

Many of these titles families fall in love with at the festivals are available at the KIDS FIRST!® Media Web Store. An example of this is Raven Tales, a title showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Chris Kietz, contractor for Raven Tales, writes about their titles:

Raven Tales is the multiple award-winning pilot for a series of 13, half-hour, CGI (computer-generated imaging) animated television/film programs, targeted at school-age children (ages 8-12) and their families. Starring Dr. Evan Adams of Smoke Signals fame, winner of the Sundance Best Actor Award, Raven Tales features Native American folklore developed to appeal to a broad international audience in a contemporary, humorous and entertaining way.

The pilot episode, How Raven Stole the Sun, has been adapted from a popular Haida myth, but has elements of Salish and Kwakiutl, while other episodes have been adapted from Cree, Salish, Nisgaa and other Native American stories. In every case, Raven Tales Productions has been careful to gain express written permission of Tribal Councils and hereditary Chiefs to tell these stories.

Raven Tales is proud to be the first computer animated film production directed, designed and produced by a Native American owned and operated production company. In addition, the cast, music and sound design are all by aboriginal talent. KIDS FIRST!® seemed the perfect place to put Raven Tales to find our audience.

The KIDS FIRST!® Media Web Store has something for everyone. Producers interested in adding their titles to the store's inventory can contact Ann Church at our office.

The titles highlighted in this article are just a tasty smattering from the smorgasbord of videos, DVDs, CD-ROMs and audio cd's available at KIDS FIRST!®. Give your child the opportunity to grow through appropriate, first-rate media by shopping at

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
Albuquerque, Explora Science Center Children's Museum, NM, Weekly
Austin, Austin Public Library, TX, Weekly at All Austin Public Libraries
Brady, FM Richards Memorial Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program
Brookline, Coolidge Corner Theater, MA, Weekly, every Saturday
Cincinnati, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, OH
Clute, Clute Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program
Crockett, Crockett County Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program
Dallas, USA Film Festival*, TX, Annual Festival (January), Monthly (Pending)
Denver, Denver Film Society, CO, Every Other Saturday
Eldorado, Schleicher County Public Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program
Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Cinema Center, IN, Weekly
Garden City, Long Island Children's Museum, NY, Weekly
Houston, Children's Museum of Houston, TX, Daily
La Crosse, Children's Museum of LaCrosse, WI, Every Friday & Saturday
LaMarque, LaMarque, TX, LaMarque Public Library, Go Wild Read Program
Little Elm, Little Elm Public Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, Weekly
Los Angeles, Los Angeles Zoo, CA Summer Programming Beginning July
Nashville, Belcourt Theater, TN, Annual Festival (Feb. 18-21) + Weekly Screenings
New Orleans, Louisiana Children's Museum, LA, Weekly
Newport Beach, Newport Beach Film Festival*, CA, Annual Festival April 21-30
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Art Museum, OK, Monthly
Palestine, Palestine, TX, Palestine Public Library. Go Wild Read Program
Philadelphia, Prince Music Theater, PA, Weekly
Phoenix, Phoenix Art Museum, AZ, Monthly
Phoenix, Phoenix Film Festival*, AZ, Annual Festival April 7-10th
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City Children's Film Festival*, UT, Annual Festival (Pending)
San Jose, Mexican Heritage Plaza*, CA, Weekly (Pending)
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara International Film Festival*, CA, Annual Festival Summer 2005
Santa Fe, PeaceJam, NM, Annual Conference April and May 2005
Santa Fe, KIDS FIRST!® Film & Video Festival*, NM, Annual Festival Summer 2005
Spring, Community Cinema, TX, Community Programming on Demand
Van Alstyne, Van Alstyne Public Library, TX, Go Wild Read Program

Other Events:
April 6-9, Taos, New Mexico: Taos Media Literacy Forum and Taos Teen Media Forum present seminars and workshops for youth with discussions for both youth and adults on media literacy.

April 15, Storrs, Connecticut: "Growing Up in a Mass Media World." Empowers the young to be critical media consumers.

May 9, Champlain College-Burlington, Vermont: "Remote Control or Self Control: Staying Healthy in a Media Culture."

June 6-11: Taos, New Mexico: Taos Teen Media Camp. Workshops will teach production skills for video, radio and print media.

June 25-28, San Francisco: "Giving Voice to a Diverse Nation." 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. June 25 - 28, San Francsico, National Media Education Conference -- a gathering of over 500 teachers, parents, researchers, youth workers and media professionals involved in the growing field of media literacy education and sponsored by the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA). Over 75 workshops, keynotes, panels and networking events. Details and online registration 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:



To SUBSCRIBE to our free e-zine, KIDS FIRST!® NEWS: Send e-mail to [email protected] Or fill out the simple form at: To leave this list, send e-mail to [email protected] or use the link below:

This newsletter may be reprinted with permission. Write to: [email protected]
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) or send an email to [email protected]

Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St., Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

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