First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Visit Sesame Street

In this photo handout from Sesame Workshop, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit Sesame Street on Monday, April 18, as part of the White House’s “Joining Forces” Initiative and Sesame’s military families project, to tape Public Service Announcements asking all Americans to support our military families.

Photo by Richard Termine

Shalom From Stars and Muppets in Israel

Sesame Workshop, the developer behind Sesame Street, has teamed with Israel’s Channel HOP! to develop a 12-part DVD set about Jewish values. The 30-minute episode DVDs will include approximately 30 more minutes of bonus features as well as appearances by Grover and other Muppets. Celebrity appearances for the series include Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Ben Stiller, Jake Gyllenhal, and Achinoam Nini, among others.

The first DVD, Welcome to Israel, features Grover and Anneliese van der Pol as they begin their explorations of Israel with guest Christina Applegate. Chanukah: The Missing Menorah takes the crew on a hunt for van der Pol’s missing menorah before Chanukah activities begin and includes an appearance by Debi Mazar. Both DVDs, and subsequent episodes, showcase Jewish values while explaining traditions and practices in Israel.

Shalom Sesame is meant for U.S. audiences and is a continuation from the 1988 11-part Shalom Sesame, which was based on the Israeli version of Sesame Street, Rechov Sumsum. The first two DVDs will be released nationwide on October 5. Subsequent releases will roll out starting in January.

Nigerian Version of Sesame Street Announced

New York-based Sesame Workshop has teamed with Ileke Media in Nigeria to co-produce Sesame Square, Nigeria’s version of Sesame Street. The 30-minute program will focus on preschool issues while two Muppet hosts encourage counting, reading, and staying in school.

Kami, a girl Muppet, is HIV-positive with golden fur and an adventurer’s spirit. A blue-skinned boy Muppet is energetic and loves making even trivial tasks fun. A mobile phone contest to name the boy Muppet is currently underway, with those in Nigeria encouraged to text one of three names–Zobi, Wazu, or Baju–to the show’s producers.

Sesame Square is planned for three years of broadcast, during which two outreach kits will be sent to schools and NGOs throughout Nigeria, meant to encourage literacy and health. The project is funded with the help of a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant that will help with the television series and outreach kit creation, as well as research regarding the program’s effectiveness.

Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corp Partner for Haiti Relief Videos

In a partnership announced yesterday, Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corp will distribute three original films based on the Haiti earthquake, as well as two films recently dubbed into Creole, all to be distributed to Haiti’s youth.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind Sesame Street, stated the two dubbed films, Cinderelmo and Healthy Monsters, feature celebrity appearances by such figure heads as Keri Russell, Oliver Platt, and India Arie. The films promote healthy eating, physical activity, teamwork, and play.

Along with these films, Sesame Workshop plans to release three live-action films by filmmaker Linda Costigan, which were shot on location in Haiti following the earthquake. The first film, Helping Hands, teaches lessons about teamwork and working towards common goals. The others, I Am Haiti and Recycled Car, teach how Haiti’s children will be the leaders in the country’s recovery and how Haitians will rebuild their country, respectively. [Read more...]

The Toy Book’s Toy Report 12/14/09

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Catch up on last week’s news! Read The Toy Book Toy Report for 12/14/09.

To view click here.

IMG Picked as Sesame Workshop’s Korea Rep

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Sesame Workshop has named IMG as its licensing representative for Korea. IMG will oversee the Sesame Street brand in categories such as apparel, accessories, stationery, home décor, books, video, and audio.

Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures, a claymation series following the best friends, currently airs on Korea’s Educational Broadcasting System (EBS).