Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for February, 2009

British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards Announced

Monday, February 9th, 2009

The BAFTA awards were announced last night and I was delighted to see some of my favorite films honored including:

Slumdog Millionaire swept the awards – For Best Film, its director, Danny Boyle for Best Director, Simon Beaufoy was honored for Best Adapted Screenplay (Slumdog is based on a novel), A.R. Rahman for Best Music, Anthony Dod Mantle for Cinematography, Chris Dickens for Editing, Glen Freemantle, Resul Pookutty, Richard Pryke Tom Sayers, Ian Tapp for Sound. This is not a kids’ film but it is absolutely awesome. Go see it.

Wall-E took Best Animated Film – How appropriate.

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death won for Short Animation. Kudos!

For a complete list of winners and nominees go to http://www.bafta.org/awards/film/film-nominations-in-2009,657,BA.html

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Veggie Tales: Abe and the Amazing Promise Coming February 7

Friday, February 6th, 2009
From one of our favorite producers, Big Idea, comes a new Veggie Tales title: Abe and the Amazing Promise. Bob the Tomato tries to bring the Bible story of Abraham and Sarah and their wait for a promised son to life, but when spitting camels and a film crew of zany French peas get involved, everyone’s patience is tested! Will Bob pull everything together in time to teach a lesson? Whether they’re waiting on a promise from God or cookies from mom, kids will learn that while being patient is never easy, the reward is always worth the wait!

The DVD also features the musical “misadventures” of Blunders in Boo-Boo-Ville where Jacques (Larry the Cucumber) attempts to invent a way to bring back the boo-boo birds and discovers that taking time to do things the right way is the best way!

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Applauding President Obama and Congress for Swift Action on Children’s Health Insurance.

Thursday, February 5th, 2009
KIDS FIRST! praises President Barack Obama and Congress for reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the bill earlier this afternoon in a 290-135 vote, President Obama wasted no time in signing into law the critical legislation. “Today’s reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program is a victory for the children of this country. With the stroke of President Obama’s pen, states now have the funds to provide insurance coverage to more than 11 million children nationwide. During uncertain economic times, the White House and Congress have come together to wisely prioritize children’s health,” says David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics.

The reauthorization of CHIP means that more than $30 billion in federal funding will be available to provide health care for those currently enrolled in the program, and to enroll millions more children, the vast majority of whom are currently eligible for CHIP or Medicaid but unenrolled. The legislation also includes the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), which will lift the five-year ban on eligibility for legally residing children and pregnant women in force since 1996.

Read the President’s full remarks below.

East Room, The White House, February 4, 2009

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Please, everybody have a seat. This is good. This is good. (Laughter and applause.) Today, with one of the first bills that I sign — reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program — we fulfill one of the highest responsibilities that we have: to ensure the health and well-being of our nation’s children.

It’s a responsibility that’s only grown more urgent as our economic crisis deepens, as health care costs have exploded and millions of working families are unable to afford health insurance. Today in America, 8 million children are still uninsured — more than 45 million Americans altogether.

And it’s hard to overstate the toll this takes on families: the sleepless nights worrying about somebody getting hurt, or praying that a sick child gets better on her own; the decisions that no parent should ever have to make — how long to put off that doctor’s appointment, whether to fill that prescription, whether to let a child play outside, knowing that all it takes is one accident, one injury, to send your family into financial ruin.

The families joining us today know these realities firsthand. When Gregory Secrest, from Martinsville, Virginia, lost his job back in August, his kids lost their health care. When he broke the news to his family, his nine-year-old son — where are you? — that’s you, I thought so — (laughter) — handed over his piggy bank with $4 in it, and told his father, “Daddy, if you need it, you take it.”

Now, this is not who we are. We’re not a nation that leaves struggling families to fend for themselves, especially when they’ve done everything right. No child in America should be receiving his or her primary care in the emergency room in the middle of the night. No child should be falling behind at school because he can’t hear the teacher or see the blackboard. I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs. In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiations, and health care for our children is one of those obligations.

That is why we have passed this legislation. These legislators have passed this legislation on a bipartisan basis to continue coverage for 7 million children, cover an additional 4 million children in need, and finally lift the ban on states providing insurance to legal immigrant children if they choose to do so. (Applause.)

Since it was created more than 10 years ago, the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been a lifeline for millions of children whose parents work full time and don’t qualify for Medicaid, but through no fault of their own don’t have — and can’t afford — private insurance. For millions of children who fall into that gap, CHIP has provided care when they’re sick and preventive services to help them stay well. This legislation will allow us to continue and build on these successes.

But, as I think everybody here will agree, this is only the first step. The way I see it, providing coverage to 11 million children through CHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American. (Applause.) And it is just one component of a much broader effort to finally bring our health care system into the 21st century. And that’s why the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that’s now before Congress is so important.

Now, think about this — if Congress passes this recovery plan, in just one month, we will have done more to modernize our health care system than we’ve done in the past decade.

We’ll be on our way to computerizing all of America’s medical records, which won’t just — (applause) — it won’t — won’t just eliminate inefficiencies, won’t just save billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs — but it will save lives by reducing deadly medical errors. We’ll have made the single largest investment in prevention and wellness in history — tacking problems like smoking and obesity, and helping people live longer, healthier lives. And we’ll have extended health insurance for the unemployed, so that workers who lose their jobs don’t lose their health care, too. (Applause.)

Now let me say this. In the past few days I’ve heard criticisms of this plan that frankly echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis in the first place — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can address this enormous crisis with half-steps and piecemeal measures and tinkering around the edges; that we can ignore fundamental challenges like the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and, by the way, so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. (Applause.) So I urge members of Congress to act without delay. No plan is perfect, and all of us together, Democrats and Republicans, should work to make it stronger. But let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the essential. Let’s show people all over our country who are looking for leadership, who are desperate for leadership right now, that in difficult times we’re equal to the task. Let’s give America’s families the support they need to weather this crisis.

In the end, that’s really all that people like the Secrests are looking for — the chance to work hard, and to have that hard work translate into a good life for their children. I’m pleased to report that the Secrest story had a happy ending — it turned out that Gregory’s two sons were eligible for SCHIP, and they are now fully covered, much to his relief and his wife’s relief. I think Gregory put it best when he said: “Kids look at us and think that we will take of them.” That’s — every parent here has the experience. You look at your children and you know that they’re looking back at you and they’re saying, “You’re going to take care of me, aren’t you?” That’s our job, to keep them health — healthy and to keep them safe, and to let them dream as big as their dreams will take them.

That’s what I think about when I tuck my own girls into bed each night. And that’s what I want for every child, every family in this nation. That’s why it’s so important that Congress passes our recovery plan so we can get to work rebuilding America’s health care system.

It won’t be easy; it won’t happen all at once. But this bill that I’m about to sign, that wasn’t easy, either. (Laughter.) It didn’t happen all at once, either. And yet, here it is, waiting for me to sign. The bill I sign today is a critical first step. So I want to thank all of the state and local officials, all the advocates and ordinary Americans across this great country who fought so hard to get it passed. I want to personally thank every single member of Congress who is here — a bipartisan group who worked tirelessly — (applause) — worked tirelessly for so long that we could see this day. And I want you all to know that I am confident that if we work together, if we come together, we can finally achieve what generations of Americans have fought for and fulfill the promise of health care in our time.

So thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)

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Go Red For Women Casting Call at Mall of America Feb. 6

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Yet, studies show that only 21 percent of women view heart disease as their greatest health threat. To raise awareness of women and heart disease and to celebrate National Wear Red Day, Go Red For Women is scouring the nation to find women who can help spread the word. A casting call will be held at Mall of America® for women to share their stories for a chance to become a spokesperson for Go Red.
The event will also feature a Go Red Fashion show hosted by Mall of America Trend Specialist Sara Rogers. The show will showcase how women of all shapes and sizes can look their best while ‘going red.’ After the fashion show, Rogers will give mall guests personal consultations on the right way to “Go Red.” HealthEast Care System, Ways to Wellness will provide free fitness assessments and consultations. Nationally renowned jazz singer and heart disease survivor Patty Peterson will emcee the event.

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to raise women’s awareness of their risk for heart disease. Activities include:

♥Mall guests wearing red to celebrate National Wear Red Day

♥The search for the next Go Red For Women spokesperson

♥ “Go Red” fashion show

♥Mall guests receiving “Go Red” wardrobe consultations from Sara Rogers

♥Performance by Patty Peterson, nationally renowned jazz singer and heart disease survivor

♥Mall guests taking charge of their health with free fitness assessments from HealthEast

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Mall of America – Best Buy® Rotunda

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Welcome to the 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

On February 4, 2009, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year’s theme, “Look Who’s Playing”
Take a Look at Who’s Playing!

Athletes, like Martina, who played or are still playing, making a difference, overcoming difficult circumstances, breaking records and making things possible.

Despite the stunning advances made in the 35 years since Title IX was enacted, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than do boys, and evidence suggests that the money spent on girls’ sports programs lags significantly behind the money spent on boys’ programs.

Help Support Sports Opportunities for High School Girls!

Despite the enormous progress made in the 35 years since Title IX was enacted, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than do boys, and the money spent on girls’ sports is still far less than that spent on boys’ sports. But unlike colleges, high schools are not required to disclose any data on gender equity in sports, making it hard for schools, students and parents to ensure fairness in their schools’ athletics programs.

The High School Athletics Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R. 901) and the High School Sports Information Collection Act of 2007 (S. 518) would address the ongoing inequalities by requiring high schools to report information (most of which is already collected by schools) on the gender breakdown of their teams and athletics expenditures. This information will allow schools, parents and students to evaluate their athletics programs to make sure that they are treating boys and girls equally. Click here to encourage your elected officials to pass these two important, bipartisan bills that will make a huge difference in the lives of girls.

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Sunday, February 1st, 2009
From our friendly pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), come this delightful list of tips for showing your love to your children or grandchildren this Valentine’s Day. What a great substitute for candy or sweets!

1. Use plenty of positive words with your child. Try to avoid using sarcasm with your child. They often don’t understand it, and if they do, it creates a negative interaction.

2. Respond promptly and lovingly to your child’s physical and emotional needs and banish put-downs from your parenting vocabulary.

3. Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like “I’m sorry,” “please,” and “thank you.”

4. When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection he favors and then talk with him about it when he’s feeling better.

5. Use non-violent forms of discipline. Parents should institute both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to help prevent trouble during the teenage years. Allowing children of any age to constantly break important rules without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.

6. Make plans to spend time alone with your young child or teen doing something she enjoys.

7. Mark family game nights on your calendar so the entire family can be together. Put a different family member’s name under each date, and have that person choose which game will be played that evening.

8. Owning a pet can make children, especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing their overall attitude, and offering constant companionship.

9. One of the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to encourage him to cook with you. Let him get involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving. It is wonderful when families eat together as much as possible. Good food, good conversations.

10. As your child grows up, she’ll spend most of her time developing and refining a variety of skills and abilities in all areas of her life. You should help her as much as possible by encouraging her and providing the equipment and instruction she needs.

11. Your child’s health depends significantly on the care and guidance you offer during his early years. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keeping him safe from accidents, providing a nutritious diet, and encouraging exercise throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen his body.

12. Help your child foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community.

13. One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Your child needs your steady support and encouragement to discover his strengths. He needs you to believe in him as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending time with him, listening to him and praising his accomplishments are all part of this process.

14. Don’t forget to say, “I love you” to children of all ages!

Parenting tips are available in both English and Spanish at http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/febvaltips.cfm

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