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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides."- David Viscott

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
February 7, 2006 Issue #2
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher
[email protected]

1. Letters from the Editor and President
2. Web Store Features
4. New Endorsements
5. Festival Titles
New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. Kid Critics? How Cool! by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: Valentines from Dr. Toy and
Dog Observation Notebook
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Classifieds
14. Special Offers

* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Interview with Center for Media Literacy Founder, Liz Thoman

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!®

Become an Affiliate of the
KIDS FIRST!® Web Store

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 / Mid Jan
2005 Jan / Feb / Mar / April / May / June / July / August / September / October/ Mid October / November/December/Mid December
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,

The other night I was at a party and a woman I had never met before that evening and who didn't know my job, came up to me and commented on the fact that there wasn't any good programming anymore for families. I told her that I disagreed and said there was a plethora of high-quality media, creative and well-produced, but sadly people didn't know where to look to find it. That's what KIDS FIRST!® is about. Just this past week I had the pleasure of reviewing titles from members and screening titles for the film festivals. Sometimes I was laughing, sometimes I was crying, and our entire family had several fun evenings with interactive titles. I felt as if I had hit a gold mine. Yes, there definitely is good family media out there, and I want to thank all you producers for putting in the time and effort to provide this high-quality entertainment for our families.

This month we are highlighting our children jurors. As we continue to train adult jurors and see the benefits for adults (see our online juror training blurb below), we often overlook the juror process benefits for children. See what some of our veteran reviewers think about the process here. Another part of this magazine I would like to highlight is the new classifieds section. Thank you for writing in your employment needs and your member news.

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 at Chris

Christine Pollock, Editor
Contact Me

Dear Readers,

This month is Independent's Month at our KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. Because we had such a plethora of independent titles submitted for this quarter, and many of them shorts under twelve minutes, we've done something new. We've compiled them onto one disc so that our festival partners can play a whole collection of titles for one age group and not have to re-load their DVD player every two minutes to do so. We've gotten a very positive response from our festival partners, some of whom say it's one of their favorite collections we've ever sent them. This collection is playing throughout the month of February so I encourage you to check with your local venue to see if they're showing it. Remember, you can link to our locations page to find a venue near you. For a list of all the titles on this disc, click here.

Of course, we have some wonderful studio titles that we're playing throughout the month such as Diego The Great Dinosaur Rescue, Clifford the Big Red Dog: New Baby on the Block, Berenstain Bears: Always Look On the Bright Side, Hi -5 - Jungle Animals, and March of the Penguins. So, when you're checking on what's playing, be sure to check on these as well.

Coming soon, and not a minute too soon, we're going to have a brand new nifty film location program up for viewers to be able to find exactly what's playing at the venue closest to them. We've just completed phase one of this program in which our venue partners will use the online program to order the titles they're showing each month. After this is up and going, we'll complete the second phase which provides the information back to visitors. Please bear with us as we complete this little programming expansion. It's a bit more complicated that you'd guess.

Last, I want to remind producers that our deadline for second quarter submissions has ended and we are now accepting submissions for the third quarter. To submit a title, visit our producer's page.

Best wishes to you and yours for a month dedicated to the people you love.

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. 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.



Martin’s Big Words…and More Stories from the African American Tradition.
Using quotes from some of his beloved speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to rich life in this profound and important biography about beliefs and dreams and following one's heart. Martin's Big Words is narrated by Michael Clarke Duncan and based on a book by Doreen Rapaport which won a Caldecott Honor award and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book award. Other stories include “John Henry,” based on the book illustrated by Jerry Pinkney; and “Seven Candles for Kwanzaa,” based on the book by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Bonus stories feature Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Ages 3-7. Weston Woods/Scholastic.


The Snow Queen and the Wild Swans
Two classic folktales by Hans Christian Anderson, both narrated by Sigourney Weaver. Snow Queen is a powerful tale that follows a young girl's quest to rescue her playmate from the icy palace of the Snow Queen. Music by Jason Miles. The Wild Swans tells the story of when Princess Elise is exiled and her brothers are transformed into wild swans by the envious Queen. Elise sets out to find and release her brothers and finds not only must perform a seemingly impossible task but not speak a word the entire time. Music by Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian (Hooters).


The Snowy Day, and Other Jack Keats Stories
One of Ranny's Picks: One winter morning Peter wakes up to see that snow has fallen, covering everything in the city. His exciting adventures come to life in this adaptation of the perennial children's classic and Caldecott medal winner.



Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom and Lots More Learning Fun! One of Ranny's picks: A collection of four animated adaptations of children's books, including the title tale about a coconut tree that tries to hold all the letters of the alphabet. Also includes: "Trashy Town," the 1968 classic "Rosie's Walk," and "The Caterpillar and the Polliwog. "



Corduroy. . .and More Stories About Friendship
Corduroy (writer/illustrator Don Freeman) longs for someone to take him home from the department store. He thinks that finding his lost button may help, so he searches the store when nobody's around. Includes: Yo! Yes? ; Here Comes The Cat!



Pegasus the Flying Horse and Beauty and the Beast
Pegasus follows the mythological horse from birth to his battle with the multi-headed Chimaera. He is appointed by Zeus as thunder-bearer and is transformed into the constellation. Narrated by Mia Farrow. Adapted by Doris Orgel. Beauty and the Beast is based on the classic tale. To save her beloved father, a beautiful young girl agrees to become the companion of a brutish and unhappy beast. As time passes, love works a miraculous change in their lives. Narrated by MIA Farrow.


NEW ENDORSEMENTS ********************************
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 a one-star rating.

Video/DVD-Ages 0-2

** LET"S PLAY MUSIC. Introduces babies & toddlers to early musical concepts. Designed to captivate and entertain your child using real musical instruments, colorful puppets and shapes. Adult Juror Comments: Creative introduction to musical instruments and classical music accompanied by colorful puppets and kids dancing on-screen. Enjoyable and engaging. Good structure. Developmentally appropriate. Good modeling behaviors of kids with good cultural diversity. Kid Juror Comments: DVD. 28 min. ; $14.99; Age: 1-4. KIDDIE VILLAGE.

Video/DVD-Ages 2-5
*** BABY SIGNING TIME! VOL. 2. Puts your baby's day to music as you learn American Sign Language signs for eating, family and pets. Designed for babies with an age-appropriate pace, delightful animation and signing babies. Adult Juror Comments: Wonderful for both adults and children. It teaches children to communicate non-verbally during the time just prior to their talking. Studies show that babies can sign before they talk. It helps them communicate about the world and helps parents understand what they are saying and talk back. Well constructed. The sections blend together well. Words are perfect for this age group. The extra section is very informative and the words taught are printed on the back of the DVD. Kid Juror Comments: Kids were totally into it, attentive, talked about it and learned a lot. All wanted to watch it again. They were signing and singing right away. One boy was really into the manners section and discussed politeness afterwards. The two-year-olds said things like, "that's a shirt like mine. " One child fabricated some "ouchies. " DVD. 30 min. ; $54.99; Age: 1-6. TWO LITTLE HANDS PRODUCTIONS.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8
** THE ROACH APPROACH: THE MANE EVENT. A family of roaches - Squiggz, Cosmo and Flutter, venture out on a camping trip with Grandpa Lou to earn merit badges as the Roach Rangers! 'No girl has ever been a Roach Ranger! ' says Squiggz to Flutter, a girl roach. But Grandpa Lou knows there is something more inside of Flutter, which happens to remind him of a old story. While journeying through a drainage pipe Grandpa shares an old story of standing up for what you know is right while this wacky group of roaches encounters. . .well watch the video! Adult Juror Comments: Characters are endearing and funny. Catchy music. Presents Bible lesson of Daniel and the Lions Den in a compelling and creative way. Sometimes it's a bit slow and the narration a bit stilted but overall, it's quite enjoyable. Christian/Jewish content. Kid Juror Comments: Kids were very captivated at the beginning, became a bit restless in the middle and were glued again at the end. All said they'd watch it again. DVD. 36 min. ; Age: 5-8. G MEDIA RESOURCE.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12
*** TREVOR ROMAIN COLLECTION: TAKING THE "DUH" OUT OF DIVORCE. Skye's parents have just dropped a bombshell, the are getting divorced. Trevor uses Skye's experience to give kids practical, helpful advice for dealing with the pain of divorce. After all, as Skye discovers, her parents aren't divorcing her, they love her. Adult Juror Comments: Provides accurate information and facts about divorce. Assists children in working through emotional issues of divorce and provides positive role models for addressing issues about divorce. Love that this emphasizes that divorce is between parents not between the parents and child. Takes the kids' viewpoint into consideration. Skye is the female character, representing the female gender with style, attitude and strength. Jack represents the boyish behaviors of frivolity, humor and compassion. Available in English and Spanish with subtitles. Excellent content, production values, animation, music. Kid Juror Comments: Good. "I could really relate. " Uses humor appropriately. Offers hope. Sky and Jack are funny. It lets you know that things are going to be okay. " It made me think about my parents getting divorced and about someone I know whose parents are getting divorced. " "I liked Trevor. He reminds me of my uncle. " DVD. 80 min. ; $14.99; Age: 6-12. THE COMICAL SENSE COMPANY.


Hi-5 - Jungle Animals. The Emmy-nominated series features high-energy story telling, skits and songs in a musical-variety format. In this episode, Jen and Chats are being meerkats, while Curtis leads a band of chimps to rain dance. Lion Karla thinks her roar needs improving until Jen advises she can be a friendly lion instead of a scary one. Song of the Week is So Many Animals. Ages 2-5. Discovery Kids.



Diego The Great Dinosaur Rescue. 92 min.
From the creators of Dora the Explorer comes a whole new adventure – Go Diego Go! starring Diego Marquez, an 8-year-old bilingual Latino, animal rescuer with in intense love of nature and the animals around him. In this two-part episode, Diego, Alicia, Dora and Baby Jaguar are visiting a dinosaur museum when Alicia tells them a story about a Maiasaura who got lost from her dinosaur family herd. To help the lost Maiasaura get back to her family, it’s going to take an animal rescuer, a great explorer and a dinosaur expert. Diego, Dora, Alicia, and even Baby Jaguar jump back in time to the Cretaceous Period to help Maia the Maiasaura. Dora checks her Map to find out that Maia's family is at Egg Island, where they've gone to lay their dinosaur eggs. Riding high atop Maia, the foursome set off on their epic journey to bring Maia home. It’s a dinosaur family reunion as we watch the baby dinosaur eggs hatch. Also includes: Diego Saves Baby Humpback Whale and Rescue of the Red-Eyed Tree Frogs. Ages 2-5 Paramount Home Entertainment/Nickelodeon.


My Little Pony Princess Promenade. 70 min. Spring is everywhere in Ponyville and joining in on all the fun are our ponies' newest friends, The Breezies. Wysteria welcomes everyone to her spring promenade planning meeting. The Spring Promenade, Ponyville's fanciest parade is just around the corner. And this year's promenade is even fancier because everyone's in for a big surprise! There is a Princess in town! Age: 2-5. Paramount Home Entertainment/Hasbro.



Our complete list of titles is available by clicking here.


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

Animal Wow, Inc.
Animal Wow Entertainment is an award-winning new children's media company that teaches kids good values and life skills by turning pets into best friends

Gyanni, Inc.

Serenity Media Inc. Serenity Media creates and produces quality DVD products and it's development team has over 10 years experience in producing entertainment for the whole family. With It's new 'Little Genius' line of children's products, they even have titles for the youngest of the family that will not only stimulate, but educate all types of children.


Catch Curious George in Theaters and Through Weston Woods
Next month, a whole new generation will rediscover the charm of Curious George with his first feature film! For those looking to capture the simple fun of the award-winning, perennially popular Curious George books, look no further than the KIDS FIRST!® endorsed, Curious George Rides a Bike. . And More Tales of Mischief (part of Dr. Desoto and other Stories). This lovingly created adaptation of H. A. Rey's classic tale is part of the acclaimed Scholastic Video Collection™, distributed by New Video.

Congratulations to the Zula Patrol
They are the air on over 70% of the PBS affiliates across the country and will have over 80% by end of first quarter of this year.


A Lifetime Achievement Award for Sesame Street Puppeteer
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who plays the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, will be the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards. Spinney was chosen for his work entertaining and educating children for nearly four decades, since the series debut in 1969. Read More


Does Your Child Want to Share Their Life On Film?
Seeking outgoing, opinionated, well-spoken children, ages 7-11, of every background, to film a video diary of their lives for approximately three months. Whether the children film personal video diaries, weekend activities, or family outings, we hope that this project will become a part of their daily routine and an opportunity for the entire family to learn and grow together. Contact Claresa at 212.974.9050, x211 or [email protected].

Kid Critics? How Cool! by Christine L. Pollock

Jay was impressed. "I asked Zeb (then 7) how he liked the movie. He started talking about the characters, what he liked and didn't like, and kept going on. I couldn't believe it. " Jay hadn't taken into consideration that Zeb had been a KIDS FIRST!® juror since the tender age of three.

Adult jurors realize positive aspects of becoming a KIDS FIRST!® juror include free titles from studios and independent producers and building libraries of family-friendly titles, but what's in it for the kids? I asked fourteen of our three thousand plus kid jurors what they thought.

While Joseph (4) of New Mexico says he loves "everything" about being a juror, other children were more specific. Almost every child I interviewed stated that they loved watching "lots of movies. " They also enjoy watching titles before they debut on the market. Daniel (7) from New Mexico also loves the fact that they get to keep the titles while six-year-old Adrianna said her favorite part is, "getting to decide if a movie is appropriate for kids or not. "

Even though many of the titles are viewed for pure entertainment, Alex (7) of New Mexico appreciates that, "Sometimes you see something that you learn something from. " Zeb, now a nine-year-old New Yorker, agrees. "Some movies get me to do stuff like mountain bike and do crafts and Adventure Patrol: Totally Rocks got me into rock climbing. "

Often titles help children think beyond their normal scope of existence. Morgan, a three-year-old from western New York, surprised her parents when she went to a toy store with her uncle and asked for a train for Christmas. Her parents realized that she had become interested in them after previewing I Love Toy Trains.

As Morgan learns more about trains and the other children enjoy exposure to different elements of life through movies, Sarah (8) from Oklahoma is picking up on some of the more abstract benefits of being a juror. "I have learned skills and facts that I did not know about diversity and gender. I learned how to judge and evaluate films and other things. "

Becoming a juror for KIDS FIRST!® changes how the children think about media. CJ (12) of New York says, "Watching these titles gives me an idea of what I, and other people, can do out there with media that's good. "

Inspiration is an unexpected benefit of the juror program. Almost every child interviewed was interested in working with media. Sarah wants to make a movie with her brother about life on their farm. Zeb and CJ already used some of their knowledge when they were in a competition for robotics and used stop motion animation to do a movie demonstration. (CJ credits Young Filmmakers Club with much of his production knowledge). Hudi (6) wants to create his own puppets and film based on the instructions given in the film festival title, AxTelevision.

While it seems that viewing titles and learning about production is pretty straightforward, there are still "surprise elements" even for veteran reviewers. It's always a treat when you look at a film cover, think you are not going to like it, then when you actually watch it, you discover that it is really good. Sadel, a ten-year-old from New Mexico found this true of Sandlot. He stated, "I thought it would be boring and only about baseball, but it was cool. "

It's also a fun surprise for kids when they go to review a title with their favorite characters and have the opportunity to give their opinion on the shows. A highlight for four-year-old Aden from New Mexico is seeing Blue's Clues episodes when they are submitted for review.

There are plenty of benefits to being a KIDS FIRST!® juror, but perhaps none as poignant as the one our Illinois jurors point out. They appreciate "feeling special" being a juror and want to do it more. Sarah adds, "It is very cool that I, as a kid, can have influence on other kids and parents on what movies that they buy. I have learned about how important the content of the films are and how many great movies there are for kids. " These are the true benefits of being a KIDS FIRST!® juror.


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

Showing affection is important for children. Children easily communicate often and happily with teddy bears, soft dolls, or other plush friends. When they are ready and old enough to take on the responsibility, another good way to express affection and practice responsibility is to learn to care for pets. Be sure to monitor this activity to assure the pet is being well cared for and the child is showing plenty of affection. In each of these areas you can help your child by using media like videos and CDs to complement all these activities. A great KIDS FIRST!® title that demonstrates this is All By Myself: Taking Care of My Pet. Vol. 2.

Dog Observation Notebook based on All By Myself: Taking Care of My Pet. Vol. 2

Materials: computer paper, crayons, hole puncher, ribbon, pencil, thin cardboard (like a cereal box)

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

Yuma, AZ

Los Angeles, CA

Newport Beach, CA
San Jose, CA

Tiburon, CA

Denver, CO

Rockford, IL

Fort Wayne, IN

Brookline MA
Williamstown, MA

Ironwood, MI

Minneapolis, MN

Alamogordo, NM
Albuquerque, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Las Vegas, NV

Garden City, NY

Queens, NY

Oklahoma City, OK

Tulsa, OK

Ashland, OR


Nashville, TN

Austin, TX
Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

Spring, TX

Salt Lake City
, UT

Shelburne, VT

Seattle, WA

Milwaukee, WI

Washington, DC

Other Events:

February 11, 2006: NYC Grassroots Media Conference
A weekend of workshops, skills-sharing, dialogue, debate and strategizing sessions about media making, media policy and how to use media to forward social justice campaigns.

March 20-21 Just Think: Professional Development Workshop, Images of Youth 2006-New Directions in Media Literacy and Teen Health, University of Washington.

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


Experienced counselor, coordinator looking for entry-level position or higher in Educational Media/Media Literacy in San Francisco Bay Area. Willing to travel. References upon request. 510- 653-1216.

Scharff Weisberg, NY based events staging company currently seeks a highly motivated individual for an internship within our post-production division. Please e-mail any interested candidates resumes directly to [email protected].


For Homeschoolers
The Old Schoolhouse is the must have magazine for homeschoolers and right now they are offering a deal that is hard to pass up. With your 2- year subscription you will get approximately $300 in FREE homeschool materials - 19 complete gifts - and FREE shipping. Click here or call TOS at 1-888-718-HOME. The Old Schoolhouse is the magazine for homeschoolers. Please call today as gift inventory is limited to the first 5000 new subscribers.

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

To SUBSCRIBE to our free e-zine, KIDS FIRST!® NEWS: Send e-mail to join-[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 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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