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The Newsstand - KIDS FIRST!® News 2006


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The Newsstand

Christine Pollock, Newsletter Editor
By making it common for our youngest children to see everywhere a balance of active and complex male and female characters, girls and boys will grow up to empathize with and care more about each others' stories. - Geena Davis

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Turning your TV Time into Quality Time
September 19, 2006 Issue #9b
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. The Female Role in Film by Christine L. Pollock
11. Crafts and Activities: History Through Media by Dr. Toy and Characters in Costume
12. Festival City Schedule and Events
13. Special Offers
* Permission to forward or reprint the content herein is granted with complete attribution.

Cool Classroom Clips and Give Me a Little Sign - Interview with Maya & Miguel creator, Deborah Forte

Evergreen Film

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




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
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 / Sept 5

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 a confession to make. For this issue we planned on highlighting girls' role in media. As a mother of three boys, I am constantly aware of the negative portrayal of males in media, and I thought I would have a hard time seeing the female's side. However, when I started reading the reports, I understood how important it was to address this issue. It's not about feminism. It's not about man-power. It's about equality and abolishing stereotypes. I encourage all you producers to not only read the article below, but to also check out the links and see what you can do in your productions to balance human portrayal in young children's film. Parents and educators, I challenge you to develop an awareness of this issue and take the steps to combat it. I know we will start seeing things differently in our household.

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,

As I mentioned last week, 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 to honor the top five films played during the past year's festivals. You may find a revised list of nominees on our press page, with some minor corrections to the previously released list.

Again, I want to invite all our readers in the LA area to the KIDS FIRST!® Best Day at the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. we will screen some of our favorite pre-school titles including Curious George; Roberto: The Insect Architect; Things That Make Me Laugh, and Peep and the Big Wide World. At 1:00 p.m., we're showing the new animated film, Me, Eloise, starring Lynn Redgrave, Tim Curry, and Mary Matilyn Mouser. Mary Matilyn Mouser will introduce the film and talk with the kids afterward. The KIDS FIRST!® Awards Ceremony will take place at 2:30 followed by a special screening of the new film, Flicka.

Stay tuned for more details on this event, which will have a host of presenters, costumed characters, and goodie bags for the kids in the audience.

For those of you who are nowhere close to LA, please be sure to visit 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!®


Congratulations to our new graduate, Renee Sanchez!

Sanchez writes, "I'm the department coordinator of the Ector County Library. I thought it would be great to learn a little more about the KIDS FIRST!® organization and found out the benefits of being a KIDS FIRST!® Juror. I feel it would be a great asset for the Ector County Library and the children we serve. Thank you for giving me this opportunity."


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.



Baby and Parent Nursery: Ages and Stages Playtime. Sections for both parents and babies make this a valuable DVD for new parents. Stimulating images and music keep infants entertained, and up-to-date advice is given for parents who wish to maximize the potential in their baby's early development. DVD. 100 min. ; $11.96; Age: Adult. Brightening Minds, Inc.



My Baby Can Talk: First Signs. DVD. A series of videos that bridges the gap between the time a baby can communicate with his or her hands and the time a baby can speak. By giving parents and babies the ability to communicate without words, these videos reduce frustration and encourage rewarding interactions. DVD. 45 min. ; $15.96; Age: infant -- 3. Baby Hands Productions.

Baby Pro: Let's Play Ball. Features real-life sports imagery, inspiring classical music and supportive voice-overs to create an engaging introduction to active play. DVD. 35 min. ; $11.96; Age: 1-4. Babypro, LLC.


Books Come to Life for PK. Includes: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Lots More Learning Fun; Good Night, Gorilla, And More Bedtime Stories; Harry the Dirty Dog, and More Terrific Tales; and Red Riding Hood, And More James Marshall Fairy Tale Favorites. DVD. 230 min. ; $38.27; Age: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.



Get Fit! for Preschoolers! Yoga Kids; Finger Plays with "Miss Lori," Nursery Tap, Hip to Toe. DVD. 86 min. ; $28.75; Ages: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.


Ranny's Best Music for PK. Includes: Wai Lana's Little Yogis Daydream; Secret Door; and Animal Groove. CD-Audio. 170 min. ; $28.79 Age: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.


Sign Language for PK. Includes: Signing Time! Volumes 4, 5, & 6. DVD. 90 min. ; $39.99; Age: 2-5. Coalition for Quality Children's Media.



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

* Once Upon a Toon. Blends cartooning, storytelling, animation, and a lovable cast of characters to teach children about life, drawing, and their world. Adult Juror Comments: Cute and goofy, fun format. It has difficulty finding its audience. At first glance, it's geared to preschoolers because of the tone of the host and the animated story. On closer look, it's better suited for older kids. It uses puns which are definitely too advanced a concept for pre-K. The character, Zip, is a stuffed bear with one eye, a zipper - definitely weird and is sort of scary for little ones. Neither the animated story nor the live action monologue are suitable for pre-K's. The problem is that older kids will see the presentation as suitable for younger ones. Kid Juror Comments: Kids had mixed responses, and their participation was limited. Their favorite parts were the drawing sections. Unfortunately, the directions for drawing are so fast-paced they don't allow complete participation. "I liked the parts of it when he was drawing but it was only medium good because it was confusing. " DVD. 29 min. ; Age: 5-8. Entertainment Technology Center.

Video/DVD-Ages 5-12

** Families of Canada. Join two children and their families in Canada and experience similarities and differences. Visit their classrooms, participate in their activities and enjoy the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. A part of highly acclaimed Families of the World series. Adult Juror Comments: Good exploration showing children living in another country - Canada. Though Canadians lifestyle differs little from ours, there are differences in the lifestyles of these two. For example, the family in Nova Scotia is in the fishing business. The scenes of Toronto show a sophisticated, cosmopolitan lifestyle and the nifty underground transportation system that allows people to go about their business without going outside during inclement weather. Kid Juror Comments: There are two children in the program. It shows how each one spends their days with their family and at school. When the kids in Toronto celebrated Thanksgiving, everyone pitched it. Some parts I could relate to, and others I couldn't because it was so different. "I loved seeing the lobsters, snails, and other stuff in Nova Scotia. " "I'd like to try the 'bug on the wall' thing. " "I should help out more at home. " DVD. 30 min. ; $29.95; Age: 5-12. Master Communications.

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

Hip Hop Harry: Grandma Brooks. L. 22 min. Inspired by Kiana's Grandma Brooks' stories about Carnival in her native country of Trinidad, the kids use their imagination to create their own Hip Hop Center Carnival! When Grandma Brooks arrives, the Carnival gets into full swing which includes a steel pan drummer and a stilt walker. As all the kids share special family stories, they realize that the best way to learn about your personal family history is to talk with your own family members. Ages 2-5. Discovery Kids.



Veggie Tales: Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler. L. 52 min. 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. Ages 5-12. Big Idea Productions, Inc.



Eloise: Me Eloise. L. 45 min. It is Eloise's sixth birthday and she is determined to make it a special party. Along with planning her big day, she is busy making friends with a new girl at the hotel - a violin prodigy - Yuko. Of course, things don't go as planned and Eloise almost misses her own party. Ages 5-8. Anchor Bay Entertainment.



BJ Teddy Bear's Club and Bible Stories, Vol 1 & 2. L. 58 min. A stimulating and imaginative program designed to educate, entertain and introduce one- to five-year-old children to colors, letters, numbers, and the stories of the Bible. It gives young children an early introduction to the Bible and makes learning about Bible stories fun. Includes the story of creation and Noah and the Ark. Ages 2-5. First Look Home Entertainment.


Hermie & Friends: Stanley the Stinkbug. Stanley the Stinkbug is new to the garden's Summer Camp this year, but he has a problem. He stinks. When Stanley arrives at Camp Bug-a-Boo everyone tries their best to put up with the unusual odor, but they don't do so well until God shows them why He created everyone to have their own special purposes. 60 min. Age: 2-5. Tommy Nelson, Inc.




Groms: Surf. Almost entirely shot in Oahu, showcases the leading groms in the world of surfing including Clay Marzo, Granger Larsen, Albee Layer, Tyler Newton, Kiron Jabour, Evan Geiselman, Bethany Hamilton, Alana Blanchard and more. Fantastic background music by North Coast Underground, Alien Crime Syndicate, Commonwealth, Summerjack, and The Eines. 36 min. ; Age: 8-18. El Porto Productions.




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

Clever Image, Inc. Clever Image does design, production and content development for all screens: television, feature films, new media, interactive advertising, pilot programming and location-based entertainment.

Don Juan and Miguel, as Blind Dog Entertainment, utilize the musical and creative talents of the unique Renaissance festival arts community to develop and bring to the public a full spectrum of original family friendly CDs and DVDS. With two award-winning films under their belts (The Lost Princess and El Gusano) they continue to develop unique and fun material. Their latest project includes "The Adventures of Don Juan and Miguel" - a TV mini-series and the development of a Saturday morning cartoon series based upon the wacky and whimsical world of Don Juan and Miguelâ. They also offer musical and comedy audio CD selections from some of the finest entertainers on their circuit.

Find the Fun Productions. Find the Fun Productions and American History for Kids employs research-proven teaching methods to make U.S. history about the Civil War, the American Revolution, 13 Colonies, and the US Constitution come alive in interactive media, music, and DVDs. They are also dedicated to the realities that teachers face in the classroom and the challenges parents face at home, which is why they provide unique interactive techniques and curriculum for both teachers and families.


Dig Into Scholastic Titles
This fall, families will really “dig,” the two exciting new DVD releases in the Scholastic Video Collection™! Steam engines snort, garbage trucks rumble about and fire trucks scream through the streets saving lives in the big rig-filled stories contained within Mike Mulligan and His Steam ShoveI…and More Stories About Trucks. Complementing the action-packed fun, several spine-tingling, though kid-friendly, tales will also be unearthed in Teeny-Tiny and the Witch Woman. . .and More Creepy Tales, just in time to add spooky-ooky fun to the Halloween season. Both classic collections, filled with award-winning animated literary adaptations from the fabled Weston Woods Studios, will be available on September 26, 2006.

Congratulations, Marilyn Hunt
Dancing from the Heart was shown in tandem with appearances by central figures Andrew Garcia and his Tewa Dancers from the North, along with producer-director Marilyn Hunt at the Living Ritual: World Indigenous Dance Festival, held at York University (Toronto), July 14-16.

Congratulations to Personal Sergeant
The KIDS FIRST!® nominee for best feature for ages 12-18, 2006, is now in national and international distribution, and can be rented from Netflix, Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos, and bought on through our KIDS FIRST!® web store.

Heroic Girlz at Seneca Falls
The creators of Heroic Girlz are invited to show their film at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Women's Rights Convention National Park on Saturday, Nov. 4th in Seneca Falls, NY.


New Study from See Jane
The G-Rated Job Market: Occupational Aspirations for Girls and Boys in Children’s Films. Researchers from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California (USC) studied the 101 top-grossing G-rated films released from 1990 through 2004, analyzing a total of 4,249 speaking characters in both animated and live-action films. “The Grated Job Market” is the third report in a series drawing on this research.

ReelTime Rental's, Inc. Enters Agreement With PorchLight Entertainment
PorchLight's family and kid's movies and TV programs, as well as some content from its nonfiction and music division, will be offered via ReelTime Rental's online broadband network, on a non-exclusive basis. A number of the kid's properties initially offered on will make their way to ReelTime Kids when the online kid's channel is launched in 2007. ReelTime will launch the second week of September.

Big Idea's VeggieTales, Launches on NBC Telemundo and the i Network
The Big Idea programming is coming to television as part of "qubo," a new children's programming venture from ION Media Networks, NBC Universal, Scholastic, Classic Media/Big Idea and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana. The Big Idea programming will premiere on NBC and Telemundo on Saturday morning (September 9) and the i network on Friday afternoon (September 15).


PBS Parents Offers Child Development Tracker
This allows parents to monitor and help their child's progress in literacy, language, math and science, as well as social, emotional and physical development. PBS Parents recently launched Spanish language content on language and literacy, media literacy, math and communicating with children in addition to resources on using media as a spring board for family activities and engagement to extend learning and experiences. In addition, PBS will analyze the full data to develop additional resources over the next few years, leveraging additional media platforms and working in partnership with national experts and partners, local PBS stations, and PBS educator services PBS TeacherSource and PBS Teacherline.


The Female Role in Film by Christine L. Pollock

Academy Award winner, Geena Davis, tells a story from when she was working on the movie, Stuart Little. They were filming a scene where there's a remote-controlled sailboat race on the pond in Central Park. As children were arranged around the pond, an assistant handed out all the boat remote controls to boys and arranged all the girls behind the boys to watch them and cheer. Davis noticed this and asked if half the remotes could be given to girls. The assistant had no problem complying, he just hadn't thought about it. Davis' desire for equal roles in children's film led her to found the project, See Jane. See Jane is administered by the respected national nonprofit organization, Dads and Daughters. Davis hopes that, "By making it common for our youngest children to see everywhere a balance of active and complex male and female characters, girls and boys will grow up to empathize with and care more about each others' stories. "

Where the Girls Aren't: Gender Disparity Saturates Grated Films, a study from the See Jane program published earlier this year, highlights some dilemmas professionals might want to address. "We were surprised by the results of the research--we didn't expect the imbalance to be so pronounced," exclaimed Nancy Gruver, executive director of Dads & Daughters, as I questioned her about the See Jane study. Where the Girls Aren't reveals a pronounced imbalance in the representation of male and female characters in widely-viewed Grated films. Key findings show that:

o In the 101 studied films, there are three male characters for every one female character.

o Fewer than one out of three (28 percent) of the speaking characters (both real and animated) are female.

o Fewer than one in five (17 percent) of the characters in crowd scenes are female.

o More than four out of five (83 percent) of the films' narrators are male.

Though the first report came out only 7 months ago, Dads and Daughters has already received positive reception from members of the entertainment industry. The Animation Guild is even holding a forum for members to hear about their research and hear perspectives from panelists in animation (on October 12). Professionals can find useful tips at .

Several KIDS FIRST!® members also focus on giving young women voice in media. Reel Grrls, producers of Unboxed, a KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival title, is a media & technology training program that empowers girls to critique media images and to gain media technology skills, mentored by a network of multicultural women media professionals. The inter-generational approach to mentoring young girls in media is also shown through the powerful work of Heroic Girlz Productions. They point out, "It's an observable phenomena for girls in our current society to have strong 'voices' -- until the age of 11 or 12. " Their film, KIDS FIRST!® Film festival title, Heroic Girlz, won Best Kids Stage Play at the 2005 Moondance Film Festival. It was originally written as a one-act stage play by playwright and screenwriter, Cindy L. Parrish with Thea Ezinga, Elon Michaud, Emma Parrish Post, and Devyn Yurko (all age 11), and another heroic mom, Laura Yurko.

See Jane and organizations such as Reel Grrls and Heroic Girlz Productions share the KIDS FIRST!® mission of abolishing stereotypes and discrimination. Gruver beautifully sums up our shared mission, "We are looking to people in children's entertainment to lend their creative gifts to changing the current imbalance and stereotypes. We don't think this problem is the result of a conspiracy. Instead, we think this concern just isn't on enough people's radar. We are working to get it on the radar."

** From September 29th through October 22nd this year, KIDS FIRST! is proud to partner with The Women's Museum to bring a continuous stream of quality media that focuses on the interests and achievements of adolescent girls. This year, The Women's Museum is introducing Texas Girls’ State Fair at the Texas State Fair in Dallas and over 200,000 girls, schoolmates and families will visit the Museum during this time. More information can be found at this link.


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

History Through Media - Learning about history through dramatization helps to understand the different periods of history, costumes and traditions. Through the use of historic themed videos teachers and parents can support children appreciate the changes that have taken place over time. A great title is KIDS FIRST!® Film Festival title, Heroic Girlz.

Activity - Characters in Costume. Project idea is from the Heroic Girlz website.

Materials: large rolls of paper, paintbrushes, paints, pencil, material (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 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.

September 29-October 22. KIDS FIRST! joins The Women's Museum as they introduce the Texas Girls’ State Fair at the Texas State Fair in Dallas where over 200,000 girls, schoolmates and families will visit the Museum. More information at this link.

October 12. CA. The Animation Guild is holding a forum for members to hear about their research and hear perspectives from panelists in animation.

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 4. Seneca Falls, NY. Heroic Girlz is playing at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Women's Rights Convention National Park

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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