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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance. - Will Durant

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
September 7, 2006 Issue #9
Christine L. Pollock, Editor
Ranny Levy, Publisher

1. Letters from the Editor and President
2. Web Store Features
4. New Endorsements
5. Festival Titles
6. New Members/Renewing Members
7. Member News
8. Media News
9. Family and Parenting News
10. Cool Classroom Clips and Give Me a Little Sign by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: Media for Learning by Dr. Toy and Sun Paper Plate Craft
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Special Offers
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Evergreen Film

Why the Famous Do Children's Films - Interviews with Daniel Roebuck and Jim Hanks

Music in Your Movies



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

Become an Affiliate of the
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The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Because we believe that media profoundly affect children, our mission is to 1) teach children critical viewing skills and 2) to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's programs.

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

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

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

Dear Friends,

I have to admit I am looking forward to fall. I am not looking forwad to our boys heading back to school, but I am looking to establishing a routine again. Today I had the great privilege of interviewing Deborah Forte, former KIDS FIRST!® board member, and creator of the award-winning show, Maya a& Miguel. This month Maya and Miguel meet a new friend who is hearing impaired. The kids learn to sign and play with the friend through his interpreter. When my children and I finished viewing the promotional copy of this episode, we realized that we had just viewed a tri-lingual show, and thanks to brilliant writing, we understood every word! More details on the show are told in my article below.

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

Christine Pollock, Editor

Dear Readers,

This is one of the most exciting months of the year for us as we prepare for our annual KIDS FIRST! Best Awards Celebration. This year we have teamed up with the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival to present the seventh annual KIDS FIRST! Best Awards. A record 20 categories will honor works by studios, independent producers and elementary, high school and college students. The Awards will take place on Saturday, October 14th at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of the KIDS FIRST! Best Day—11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.—which will include a special screening of Flicka, starring Tim McGraw, Alison Lohman and Maria Bello.

Our festivals and programs have grown significantly over the years, and we're proud to bring this year's awards show to Los Angeles. The increased recognition of our programs throughout the country has enabled us to add additional categories to this year's awards show, and the competition remains extremely competitive, with a record number of 571 submissions.

Every fall, the Coalition bestows its coveted KIDS FIRST! Best Awards to films that excel in their categoy, as well as five Best of the Fest Awards that honor the top five films played during the past year's festivals. The 20 categories for this year's awards are:

• Best Indie Short—Ages 2-5
• Best Series—Ages 2-5
• Best Feature—Ages 2-5
• Best Series—Ages 5-8
• Best Documentary—Ages 5-8
• Best Feature—Ages 5-8
• Best Short (under 10 minutes)—ages 5-12
• Best Short (over 10 minutes)—ages 5-12
• Best Short—Ages 8-12
• Best International Short—Ages 8-12
• Best Documentary—Ages 8-12
• Best Feature—Ages 8-12
• Best Independent Feature—Ages 8-12
• Best Series—Ages 8-12
• Best Documentary—Ages 12-18
• Best Feature—Ages 12-18
• Best Animated Short—Ages 12-18

A complete list of nominees may be viewed here.

The KIDS FIRST! Best Day will begin at 11:30 a.m. with special pre-school screenings of such programs as Curious George; Roberto: The Insect Architect; Things That Make Me Laugh and Peep and the Big Wide World. Throughout the day, families are invited to participate in a variety of fun activities, which will feature costumed characters, photo ops, goodie bags and surprise giveaways. At 1:00 p.m., families can enjoy a special presentation of Me, Eloise, starring Lynn Redgrave and Tim Curry. At 2:30, the feature presentation of Flicka and the KIDS FIRST! Awards Ceremony will take place, featuring a wide array of presenters. We hope to see many of you there!

I am in awe of how many special events are coming up during the next couple of months as our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival collaborators launch into full swing this fall season. Please be sure to go to our venue screenings page to check on screenings in your area. You can also catch up on events at our online press page.

Much love,

Ranny Levy
Founder and President, KIDS FIRST!®


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



***Correction: The correct link to Pocket Snails Letter Adventure is

Baby Babble DVD. Exposes children to early developing sounds and words, as well as introducing them to simple sign language. DVD. 45 min.; $15.99; Age: Adult. Talking Child LLC.




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. DVD. 48 min.; $14.95; Age: 5-8. Little Mammoth Media.



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. DVD. 65 min.; $11.96; Age: 6-10. Little Mammoth Media.

Colors and Shapes: Jack the Cuddly Dog. Soothing new education video for babies. Jack is a puppy who lives in Central Park, New York City. He explores colors, shapes, animals, flowers, mountains, trees and more. Classical music pieces are performed by award-winning concert pianist, Cheryl Tschanz Newkirk. KIDS FIRST!®Adult DVD. 28 min. ; $12.79; Age: 1-5. Hello Baby Productions. DVD. 28 min. ; $12.79; Age: 1-5. Hello Baby Productions, LLC.



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




How Things Work. Includes The Big Aquarium and The Big Space Shuttle. In 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. In The Big Space Shuttle, explore the behind-the-scenes action at the space shuttle program, including the astronaut training, the crew roles, shuttle maintenance and orbital gravity experiments. Audio. 98 min.; $29.90; Age: 5-8. Little Mammoth Media.




More Literature and Myths. One of Ranny's picks! Another great collection of children's favorite stories, from Noah's Ark to People, based on Peter Spier's People of the World, every one of these is a real winner and worthy of considering for your evergreen collection. DVD. 133 min.; $20.76; Age: 5-10.




Danger Rangers: The Great Race. Excellent for home or preschool road safety awareness. Bright colors and cute characters are very appealing. Contains lots of poignant safety facts including details such as why trucks can't slow down as fast as cars can. DVD. 24 min.; $10.39; Age: 5-8. Educational Adventures.



More New Endorsements can be found at

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

Video/DVD-Ages 5-8

*** Firefighter Frank. Starring Andy, an 8-year-old boy with a vivid imagination. When Andy's teacher gives the class an assignment to look for fire violations at home, he doesn't waste any time. Before you know it everyone in the neighborhood has received a fire citation. Andy spends an afternoon at the fire station with his uncle, Firefighter Frank, where he meets a delightful cast of characters. Adult Juror Comments: Fun animation, simple and quirky story. Through the story of a young boy's experiences, fire lessons are taught. Offers a good balance of being informative on a scary subject, giving statistics that are helpful to parents while impressing children with the seriousness of fires. Kid Juror Comments: "I loved that film," exclaimed one of our jurors. "I like learning about firefighters, learned not to hide when there is a fire, and that if there a lot of smoke and you can't escape, to go near the bed because that's the first place firefighters will look for you." All the kids said they'd watch this again because there's so much information to remember. DVD. 35 min. $19.95; Age: 5-8. TOON STUDIOS.

Video/DVD-Ages 8-12

*** Veggie Tales: Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler. Together, Sheerluck Holmes and Dr. Watson can solve any crime. But when the valuable golden ruler goes missing, will Sheerluck remember the all-important golden rule in time to rescue the ruler and save his friendship? English and Spanish audio tracks. Adult Juror Comments: It's hard not to love a Veggie Tales movie. The characters are familiar and the story lines are always fresh, fun, timely and exciting. Great for transcending race issues since they're all "veggies." Exhibits great examples of how to treat others. Bible verses are mentioned in a very subtle way. This title addresses the Golden Rule, tolerance, kindness and empathy. Kid Juror Comments: Loved it. "We love the Veggie Tales! Bob and Larry rock!" They always sing the theme song, and we dance along." By the time the kids filled out their evaluation form, they had already watched it a second time. "Even my parents love the Veggies." "All our favorites are here - especially Bob and Larry. We like the others, too." Both boys and girls enjoy them equally. "There are always lessons to be learned. In this one Larry was being selfish and he hurt Bob's feelings. He learned that he needed to share the credit with his friend and be a team player." DVD. 52 min.; $14.99; Age: 5-12. BIG IDEA PRODUCTIONS, INC.

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

Animusic 2. L. 40 min. Virtual instruments spring to life and perform eight musical pieces. Computer animation and digitally created music are melded to form an entirely new genre of entertainment. Includes eight pieces: Starship Groove (drums, other), Pogo Sticks (acoustics, percussion), Resonant Chamber (strings), Cathedral Pictures (orchestral), Pipe Dream 2 (strings, percussion), Fiber Bundles (percussion, other), Gyro Drums (percussion), Heavy Light (other). From Animusic, an American company specializing in the 3D visualization of MIDI music; created with their own proprietary MIDImotion software, and various animation packages such as Discreet 3D Studio Max. Age: 8-18. Animusic.



Akeelah & The Bee. L. 112 min. The inspirational story of Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), an eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya (Angela Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne); her principal Mr. Welch (Curtis Armstrong) and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and, in turn, unites her neighborhood who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl. Ages 5-12. Lionsgate Family Entertainment.



Angelina Ballerina: All Dancers On Deck
. L. 50 min. Join Angelina and her friends as they set sail on an ocean adventure to Miss Lilly's homeland, Dachovia, for a very special dance performance. Along the way, they meet Yuri, a sailor, who is in love with the ship captain's daughter. English and Spanish. Ages 3-6. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.




Bob the Builder: Built to Be Wild. L. 50 min. Yee-haw! Welcome to the Wild West! It's time for hoe-downs and show downs when Bob the Builder and his can-do crew head west in Built To Be Wild, his all-new musical special! Go west as Bob and the crew are thrown into an adventure filled with gold mines, campfires and the legend of a long lost treasure. Join the team as they meet a cowgirl named Rio, her horse, Dollar, and her pickup truck, Jackaroo, and take on the biggest building adventure yet! English, Spanish and French. Ages 2-5. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.



Fraggle Rock, Complete Second Season
. L. 175 min. Want more Fraggley fun? Return to where it all began with the complete second season of Fraggle Rock, featuring all 24 episodes from season 2 available for the first time on DVD. So save your worries for another day and experience 175 minutes of frag-tastic fun in the ultimate Fraggle Rock collection. Get Down with Fraggle Rock! Ages 5-8. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.



Nobelity. L. 85 min. A stunning look at the world's most pressing problems through the eyes of Nobel Laureates - Wangari Maathai, Amartya Sen, Dr. Harold E. Varmus, Jody Williams, Sir Joseph Rotblat, Richard E. Smalley, Steve Weinberg, Ahmed Zewail, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Filmed in the U.S. A., France, England, India, and Africa, Nobelity follows filmmaker Turk Pipkin's personal journey to find enlightening answers about the kind of world our children and grandchildren will know. It combines the insights of nine distinguished Nobelists who have a first-person view of world problems and the children who will be most challenged by those problems. Ages 12-18. Monterey Media.


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

Anchor Bay Entertainment. Anchor Bay Entertainment is dedicated to releasing outstanding programs and films. The company utilizes the finest elements possible to bring quality films to the home entertainment marketplace.

AshAm Productions. Educational and instructional, kids get to perform along with The Shout About Kids, they will laugh, move to the beat, cheer, and learn numbers and colors

First National Pictures. FNP is your source for fantastic Children`s Animation and Family titles on DVD. They are committed to bringing quality home entertainment to families across America at a great prices.

Master Communications. Master Communications offers foreign language, bilingual and multicultural educational products and services. Bilingual Books, Video, DVD, Crafts, Multilingual and Multicultural Marketing Consulting & Services.

The Language Workshop for Children. LWFC structured playgroups let parents capture the window of opportunity years when children possess their greatest capacity to absorb and retain language.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.


The Pen Wins Award
Congratulations to the creators of The Pen, a KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival title, which won First Place in the Dramatic - Short Category -- at The Indie Gathering Film Festival, in Cleveland, Ohio.

PBS Kids Picks up Jay Jay the Jet Plane
PBS Kids picks up PorchLight Entertainment's preschool series, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, another KIDS FIRST Film Festival title,, through June 2009. Jay Jay launched on PBS Kids in June 2001 and is currently seen on 220 PBS member stations.

Braincandy Gets Distribution Deal
Rhino Entertainment has sealed a broad distribution deal with Braincandy, producers kid music DVDs/CDs including KIDS FIRST!® endorsed title, Braincandy, My 5 Senses. Under the terms of the agreement, Rhino will be the exclusive distributor for Braincandy video and music titles at mass market retailers.


Digital Filmmaking Programming for Kids
FreshiFilmworxs, the in-school outreach arm of the International Family Film Festival and the What IFFF? Kids Film Camp and Festival, has partnered with the Divya Chaya Trust to bring their digital filmmaking program to kids ages 8-18 in Delhi, India. According to Dr. Suzanne Shoemaker, Program Director, "This is a pilot program to begin to connect children worldwide through filmmaking."


Scholastic Education releases Lesson Connections
Lesson Connections, K-3 leveled reading programs, is designed to align to and complement existing and widely used core reading programs, including Open Court Reading, Harcourt-Trophies, Houghton Mifflin Reading, and Scott Foresman Reading. More Lesson Connections information is available at

Celebrate National Deaf Awareness Week (September 24 – September 30)
Give Me A Little Sign
, an innovative episode of Maya and Miguel, premieres Monday, September 25 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings) for National Deaf Awareness Week, and will be broadcast in open caption.

Cool Classroom Clips and Give Me a Little Sign by Christine L. Pollock

Remember when it was a huge production to show a film in school? Those days are now history. With resource rooms, savvy librarians, and televisions in most classrooms, educators integrate media into their lesson plans with ease. Tough lessons become entertaining as children watch their favorite television characters teaching them math, science, art, history, and general life lessons. Learning really big numbers in math becomes a game as children share experiences with LeVar in Reading Rainbow's, How Much Is a Million? As new faces appear in the preschool and kindergarten classrooms, titles such as the KIDS FIRST!® favorite, Berenstain Bears: Discover School, smooth the transition from home to school. Dragon Tales: Experience New Things, helps children learn positive ways in which they can adapt to change and new experiences, even if the change involves a substitute teacher. Even the preschool favorite, Bob the Builder, teaches young children lessons about their country, particularly in the episode Built to Be Wild, which teaches children about the wild west.

And social awareness? That, too, has a place in the classroom. I asked my six-year-old son what he thought about the KIDS FIRST!® Festival title, Angelina Ballerina: All Dancers on Deck. He said, "It teaches you that you should stay in your boundaries and not go where you aren't supposed to." Understanding rules is an important part of the school experience, and so is understanding other people who might be different from ourselves. Maya & Miguel™, the award-winning children's bi-lingual (Spanish-English) animated series, addresses one of these differences with a special episode that presents insights and understanding about the challenges of learning another language - sign language. Deborah Forte, former KIDS FIRST!® board member and creator of Maya & Miguel, took the time to give me details on the story behind this episode.

Forte and Lupe Ontiveros, the woman who brings the voice of Abuela Elena to life, discussed the challenges of learning English as a second language (ESL). Ontiveros, a parent of two hearing impaired children, remarked that the language learning process was very similar for her children as they learned American Sign Language (ASL). The two began brainstorming, and work began on the episode, Give Me a Little Sign, which debuts September 25 on PBS KIDS GO! during National Deaf Awareness Week (September 24-30) and will be broadcast in open caption.

Scholastic Media (who contributed the image below) collaborated with the National Association of the Deaf and consultant, Jackie Ross, to ensure ASL authenticity. Animators watched slow motion videos of Ross forming signs in order to make the animations accurate. As Forte states, "It was a labor of love from our amazingly talented staff." Creating this particular episode took three times longer than normal. It is their hope that when teachers use this episode in the classroom, viewers will be open to those who speak and act differently. Through this episode, children can learn that life is trial and error. Those who are different should not feel self-conscious and a classroom should be a comfortable environment.

From what I can tell, the producers achieve that goal. I viewed the promotional copy with four boys, ages six through twelve, and everyone was captivated. The storyline was interesting, and we learned numerous signs through fabulous, detailed animation. After the title finished, the boys discussed their friends with hearing impairments and how they should act around them. As a parent and educator, my appreciation goes out to all producers who dedicate their lives to make learning through media entertaining and educational for our children.


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

Media For Learning - Stimulation helps learning, especially when it reinforces the curriculum in the form of a historical video or story that brings the characters to life and helps the child remember the story. The use of videos has always been valuable for classroom use and they make the same valued contribution at home. A fun title to supplement science lessons at home is the KIDS FIRST!® selection Astronomy for K-8.

Activity - Sun Paper Plate Craft

Materials: paper plates, yellow construction paper, scissors, pencil, glue, crayons, googly eyes (optional)

For instructions, go to craft page.


KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival Schedule
Join us as we travel around the country with film festivals. Find out when we will be in a town near you. For details read here.

Other Events:

September 11 & 12, 2006. Orlando, FL. Gina D's Reading Across America Program. Four Special School Performances at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. Reserve Your Seats Now! $5 per child/person. Call Diana at 407-260-2773 for more information.

September 27-October 1, 2006 The Phoenix East/Mesa Hilton, Tucson, AZ. The 28th National Media Market. The National Media Market presents an exceptional opportunity for media professionals who purchase for public libraries, universities, media/technology centers and educational broadcasting to screen the newest and best quality motion media from 55 prominent producers and distributors. Professional Development sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions further enhance the Market experience.

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

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

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


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

Become a Coalition for Quality Children's Media Member

If you've found our e-zine and web site helpful, please consider becoming a member of KIDS FIRST!® Members help underwrite the various projects of this organization. The Coalition for Quality Children's Media relies on the generous support of its members and donors to support its programs. An individual/family membership is only $25/year. An organizational membership is $100/year. An independent producer membership is $200. To join, go to: or contact our office at 505.989.8076 or KIDS FIRST!®.

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


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

KIDS FIRST!® is the not-for-profit Coalition for Quality Children's Media's initiative that evaluates and rates children's media - videotapes, CD-ROMs and television - using a highly acclaimed method that has been praised by parents and educators alike. It utilizes professionally designed criteria and evaluation tools and engages a volunteer jury comprising child development professionals, teachers and parents nationwide and children of diverse geographic, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. KIDS FIRST!® endorsed titles appeal to people around the world and include many programs on topics important to children's development. KIDS FIRST!® -endorsed titles are available on CQCM's award-winning Internet site, in the KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival and in reviews we provide to more than 75 publications.

CQCM evaluates feature films, television programs, videos, CD-ROM, DVDs and audio recordings. For an application form and application deadlines, visit our website at, call our office (505.989.8076).
Coalition for Quality Children's Media, 112 W. San Francisco St. , Suite 305A, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

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