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The Newsstand - What's Hot!


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The Newsstand - What's Hot

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." - Frank Lloyd Wright


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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
October 4, 2005 Issue #10
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

1. Letters from the Editor and President
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. Animation Inspiration: Let Your Imagination Soar! by Christine L. Pollock
10. Craft – Glittering Galaxy
11. Events
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Interview with Center for Media Literacy Founder, Liz Thoman in KIDS FIRST! News, January 2005

Interview with Reading Rainbow Producer, Dr. Twila Liggett

The Inner Workings of Sesame Workshop with Dr. Ed Greene



New: KIDS FIRST! logo store
Your purchase of hats, t-shirts, baby jumpers, bibs, and totes benefit KIDS FIRST!


Save $5 Off any order
Enter the coupon code: AUG0105
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good through 10/15/05, one per customer. Print out coupon here

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
2005 Jan / Feb / Mar / April / May / June / July / August / September
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.

Dear Friends,

I am inspired. This month I interviewed some top-notch animators and learned that I could make decent animation movies right in my living room!

Giving animation tips are Joel and Thomas Moser, who animated the KIDS FIRST!® Kids for Peace title, A Life of Death; and Rob Hudnut, Executive Producer for Mattel Entertainment, which produced the KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival titles, Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus and Fairytopia.

These Mattel titles, along with many others, are nominees for the KIDS FIRST!® awards. The winners of the awards will be announced November 19, at a special event during the Starz Denver International Film Festival. Go online to to place your vote today!

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...Contact Chris.

Christine Pollock, Editor
Contact Chris

Dear Readers,

So many films, so little time. That's all I can say this month as we finalize our selections for our fourth quarter film festivals. Having screened every single one of the more than 100 we've selected for this quarter myself, I can honestly say that our line-up for the last quarter of the year is nothing short of spectacular. You are going to love these films!

Our new acquisition partner,, has helped us reach out to their more than 50,000 filmmaker members and we've gotten a deluge of submissions from independent producers for this quarter, from both students and adults. Independent productions such as "The Peace Tree" and "Raju and Me" are two outstanding productions we've added to our Kids for Peace collection. We're premiering the "Care Bears Big Wish Movie," offering a sneak peek at the new "Pinky Dinky Doo" television series from Sesame workshop, and showcasing a special edition of "FernGully," one of the best environmental children's films of all time.

I'm thrilled to announce that KIDS FIRST! and the Denver Film Society have teamed up to present the sixth annual KIDS FIRST! Best Awards. Fifteen categories—plus a Best of Fest award—will honor works by studios and independent producers during the second weekend of the 28th Starz Denver International Film Festival™ (SDIFF28) on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday November 20th. The 15 awards are divided by age and category, each category having four age groups: 2-5; 5-8; 8-12; and 12-18. The categories are: Best TV Series; Best Feature; Best Independent Short; Best Independent Series; Best Independent Feature. There are also two student categories for Best Student Film by students in grades K-12 and Best Student Film by College/Graduate Students which are voted by a panel of peer jurors. For a complete list of nominees, and an opportunity to cast your vote, visit

Producers, remember that October 15 is our next submission deadline for both KIDS FIRST!® endorsements and KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival titles. You may submit a title at KIDS FIRST!® or at

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!



To keep up with the fast-paced growth at KIDS FIRST!®, we offer juror training online. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a KIDS FIRST!® juror, now's a great time to get started. There is a minimal $40 fee for the training, which is fully refunded after you have been active as a juror for six months. Jurors keep the titles they review and approve. What a wonderful way for teachers, librarians, parents, daycare providers and others involved with children to help KIDS FIRST!® while building their own quality media library. To register or get more information, please click here.

Wai Lana combines ancient yoga relaxation techniques and quiet music to bring a deep sense of calm and inner balance to children. Whether your kids are too active or just need to rest, the Daydream CD will introduce them to the benefits of yoga. Includes two tracks, each containing guided relaxation, original songs, and recordings of ocean aves. From Wai Lana, host of the long-running PBS series Wai Lana Yoga.

Adult Jurors' comments: Peaceful and nice. Encourages relaxation and imagination; good nap time CD for a daycare or bedtime music. Soothing voice wraps the listener with messages of love and peace.

Kid Jurors' comments: Put them to sleep. "I like to sleep. It's nice to listen to when I'm going to sleep." "I thought about getting cozy and resting." Found the music pleasing: "The music is haunting." "The lady sings pretty."

Rating: Two Star
Running Time: 75 min.
Recommended Age: Ages 1 - 5 Category: How-To, Educational/Instructional
Format: Audio CD
Produced by: Wai Lana Productions

NEW ENDORSEMENTS ********************************

More New Endorsements can be found at

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

DVD and Video, Ages 2-5

*** RIBERT & ROBERT #12: RIBERT WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT HAVING FUN ON A RAINY DAY. Ribert, Robert and the Power Pals learn that using their imagination is a great way to have fun on a rainy day. Vanessa teaches a cool rainy-day dance, Cousin Chris draws a picture of his good friend Ribert and Magic Matt comes up with a great rainy-day idea – a magic show! Adult Juror Comments: Very enjoyable. Imaginative. Well organized. Kids have many different teachers broadening their imagination through magic tricks, dance, games, and art. There is something for nearly every learning style. The magic tricks are clearly explained, which encourages children to try them on their own. Addresses a broad age span. Games are most likely too simple for older kids yet the art section is perfect for them. Kid Juror Comments: Loved this. It's so cool. The characters are nice to each other." "Ribert helped Robert follow his heart." "It's funny, there's drawing, and fun magic." I love the drawing lesson and want to learn to draw more things. DVD. 27 min.; $0; Age: 2-5. RIBERT AND ROBERT,

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

*** ALL ABOUT JOHN DEERE FOR KIDS, PART 2. Learn fun and fascinating facts about farming and see how grapes and pumpkins are harvested, and watch giant John Deere combines at work. Adult Juror Comments: Delightful. Well paced. Engaging and entertaining. Shows lots of equipment that will appeal to kids who are interested in farming or big machinery. It explains things well and shows real video footage of the implements. Loved the music. "Had me humming the John Deere song for the rest of the day. I like that the narrator is a child.” Kid Juror Comments: Great movie with good pictures, music, information and held the kids' interest. "I really liked it. The music is good. It is very interesting and I learned a lot." "I would definitely watch it again." "I viewed this with my two-year-old nephew who lives in the city and doesn't get to see farm machinery often. He was fascinated by this and went to his toy box and pulled out a green and yellow truck and put it up on the TV." DVD. 50 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-8. TM BOOKS AND VIDEO.


Our complete list of titles is available by clicking here.

INDEPENDENT SHORT FOR AGES 5-12 ** MUFFIN AND PIE. A super competitive little girl finds the ultimate challenge in picking a partner for the three-legged race at the upcoming family picnic. According to her little brother, Anita is all about 'winning, winning, winning.' So what if he's right? But when the chance to prove herself at the family picnic arises, the pressure is on to choose the perfect team-mate. Will she succeed in choosing a winner? Only time and some pie will tell. Adult Juror Comments: Consistently amusing camera angles. Extremely expressive characters throughout. Mirrors what a lot a kids go through: competitiveness, sibling antagonism, an overly peppy Mom, detached Dad. Family reunion is full of cliches but it is all so broadly drawn and so over-the-top that it's hard for the protagonist to take herself, or her family, seriously. Sound quality uneven, otherwise, good production qualities. Excellent sample of student work. Kid Juror Comments: DVD. 18 min.; $0; Age: 5-12. MAUREEN GROSSER.

Care Bears Big Wish Movie. A. 75 min. F.
When Wish Bear calls on her wish star for some new friends, things don’t seem to go exactly as planned with her new pals. Wish Bear soon finds that it takes more than wishes to make her dreams real. But with the help of her fellow bears, she learns that with enough care, anything is possible. Ages 2-5. Lions Gate Home Entertainment

DVD SNEAK PEEK FernGully: The Last Rainforest Special Edition. A. 76 min.
Come join in on spectacular rainforest adventure – where the radar-impaired Batty and his magical friends Crysta, Pips and the Beetle Boys try to save their special world from mankind’s carelessness and the evil Hexxus. Annie®-Award winner for Best Animated Feature (1992), the film won the Environmental Media Associate for Best Picture (1992) and is Kids First!® approved. Director: Bill Kroyer; Screenwriter Jim Cox; Featuring the voices of Tim Curry, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Jonathan Ward, Robin Williams, Geoffrey Blake, Robert Pastorelli, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Tone Loc and more. Ages 5-12. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC

Pinky Dinky Doo. A. 22 min. Pinky Dinky Doo is a 7-year-old girl who loves to solve problems and make up stories - playful bedtime stories that explore early literacy through storytelling. In each episode, Pinky tells a very imaginative story that uses creative problem-solving, followed by a quiz, a recap, and a new word is introduced within the story. Everything is perfectly aimed at its target audience - from graphics, to pace, to learning level and creativity. Ages: 2-7. Sesame Workshop

MEMBER NEWS ****************************************************

Community Cinema - Kids Fest at Beaumont Civic Center in Beaumont, Texas August 20th - 21st, 2005, was a smashing success. From face painting to give-aways to fantastic KIDS FIRST!® endorsed films all day long in a large tent, this Clear Channel-sponsored-event was a treat for parents and children alike. Missed it? Don’t worry. They plan to do it again next year.

** Big Idea - Just in time for holiday cheer and fun family get-togethers, The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree has been released from Big Idea's VeggieTales.


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








Discovery Education Introduces Digital Discovery
Digital Discovery highlights innovative educators from around the country who are integrating unitedstreaming and other digital media into their classroom. Read More

YTV Puts Premium on Family Co-Viewing
Canada’s leading youth channel introduces a movie slot on Sundays at 6:00 p.m. called ZAPX. Their goal is for children and their parents or caregivers to watch TV together. Read More

FAMILY AND PARENTING NEWS ********************************************

Protecting our Children from Harmful Content
Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed legislation that that will make the sale or rental of mature or adult-rated video games to children illegal.
Read More

KIDS FIRST!® and the Children's Museum of Houston Help Hurricane Victims
We are coordinating efforts to provide school supplies and activities for children in Houston displaced by Hurricane Katrina. SHIP DONATIONS TO: Bunmi Gaidi Attn: KIDS FIRST!/Katrina Relief Children's Museum of Houston 1500 Binz Houston, TX 77004 713-522-1138. Contact: [email protected]

Animation Inspiration: Let Your Imagination Soar! by Christine L. Pollock

Animating a movie. Think it’s out of your league? You might want to think again. You don’t need major studios or millions of dollars worth of equipment. Animation takes viewers on journeys beyond their wildest dreams, and the journey can begin right in your living room. Rob Hudnut, Executive Producer for Mattel Entertainment, and brothers Thomas and Joel Moser, animators for Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers and character artists on the VH1 show, Illustrated, give us a peek into their world of animated blockbusters. They also recommend some affordable programming and informational tools to help you unleash your own creativity.

It all begins with paper and pencil. Joel Moser alleges that animation is an illusion of life, so an animator needs to draw characters that move and act like people do. Thomas Moser adds that the computer and the software are tools. You must also be a very keen observer of how people and animals behave so you can translate realistic actions into animation.

If you’d like to try computer animation, and your budget is limited, both Thomas and Joel recommend Macromedia Flash. It is easy to learn, and you can se it to create an entire piece of animation without other programs. In fact, the Moser brothers are currently in production of a full-length feature film, Firedog, created completely in Flash. Flash offers education discounts to students and teachers, so you can get started with a very small investment. Flash also offers a free 30-day trial (Flash). Maya, software for 3D animation, is another affordable program recommended by the Mosers. A free, learning edition of Maya is also available at Maya.

Have you ever set up a scene and shot stills with your digital camera, changing the scene slightly for each exposure? When you watch the pictures in a fast slide show, it appears as if the scene is moving. This is called stop motion animation, and Fisher-Price uses this method to create their “Little People DVDs.” Hudnut admits it takes a long time to animate stories this way, but kids like it and that’s why Fisher-Price does it.

Another computer animation alternative is CGI, a program many call the offspring of stop motion. Mattel was the first to produce movies with humans presented in CGI. The first four Barbie movies were made using a computer software called Softimage 3D. As technology progresses, Mattel upgrades their software to make their animated characters more realistic. They produced their most recent Princess movie using a new ersion of that software called XSI.

With this software, Mattel bases their motion on the movements of real people. This method is called motion capture. The motion actors wear unitards that have 40 optical sensors on them. The animators then put their animation models on top of the movement data and - presto! - the characters move like real people. Don’t let this techno-information overwhelm your creative impulses. Hudnut and the Moser brothers insist that great animation begins with a solid story and imagination. According to Joel Moser, today, with the Internet, it's possible to learn many things in your home for free. There's a wealth of information out there and many artists who are willing to help others learn.

With all this information at our fingertips, Joel believes that the generation that is growing up with the Internet will be the most artistic generation of all time, because they have access to information that wasn't available just ten years ago.

Judging from the productions that we see in our offices, we at KIDS FIRST!® are inclined to agree.


Glittering Galaxy based on Astronomy for Elementary Age Materials: Black paper; white chalk or gel pen; glue; salt or sand or glitter. Go to craft page 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

Phoenix, AZ
Yuma, AZ

Los Angeles, CA

Newport Beach, CA
San Jose, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

Denver CO

Fort Wayne, IN

Wichita, KA

Louisville, KY

New Orleans, LA

Boston, MA
Brookline MA

Albuquerque, NM
Santa Fe, NM

Brooklyn, NY

Garden City, NY

Queens, NY

San Juan, PR
LaCrosse, WI
Milwaukee, WI

Nashville, TN

Dallas, TX Houston, TX
Spring, TX

Washington, DC

Other Events:

October 14-15, 2005: Ithaca, NY.
Literacy in a Media Age: Integrating Critical Thinking and Media Production across the K-12 Curriculum Conference Read More

Oct. 22, 2005, from 8am - 4pm.: Cambridge, MA. Media Literacy Symposium at MIT. Features schools that are implementing media literacy curricula in the K-12 learning space and in after-school programs. Contact Alan (mailto:[email protected]) for information.

November 4-6, 2005:
Reel Grrls is recruiting 50 girls, ages 14-18, who are interested in the arts, filmmaking, and activism, to participate in "Girls in the Director's Chair." Scholarships are available. Read More.

November 10-20, 2005: Denver, CO
Starz Denver International Film Festival. KIDS FIRST!® awards show November 19 and 20. Official schedule online Oct. 24th Read More

Nov 29- Dec. 1, 2005: Nashua, New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Society for Technology in the Classroom is
holding a variety of workshops, conferences, and presentations that look at using the Internet, digital media, video games, and more to supplement and stimulate classroom ctivity. Read More

October 8-9, 2006 (Columbus Day weekend, exact days TBD): Burlington, Vermont; Bi-annual conference of the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) at Champlain College.

To add your event to this list, please send a notice to Chris.

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:


Contact Ann ************************

Send comments, questions and feedback to chris

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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 Our Jury Coordinator.

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

CQCM Newsletter Archive
2004 / 2003 / 2002
2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998
1997a 1997 b
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