Thursday, July 18, 2019
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PBS Kids Readies Molly of Denali


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PBS Kids is set to premiere the first-ever national children’s series to feature Native American leads, Molly of Denali.

The animated series is set to bow on Monday, July 15. It was created with an Alaska Native working group of Indigenous screenwriters, producers, production teams, advisers and even Alaska Native children, who are featured in the show’s live-action interstitials, teaching young viewers about their way of life. Each Native American character is also voiced by Indigenous talent.

Sovereign Bill voices the main character, 10-year-old Molly Mabray of the Gwich’in/Koyukon/Dena’ina Athabascan tribes. Yupik band Pamyua plays the theme song with traditional drums and the Athabascan fiddle. The series’ creative producer is Alaska Native Princess Daazhraii Johnson.

Teaching Native values—like honoring elders, respecting the Earth and finding joy in rural life—is key to the show’s narrative. The series explores how technology can aid in literacy, learning and communication, showcasing Native Americans in a modern light, rather than as relics of the past. Molly uses informational texts like books, the internet, maps, tables, photos and more to solve problems. She even has her own vlog and shares dispatches about her life with kids in the “lower 48,” helping to show them that, though some aspects of her life may be different than theirs, they share many things in common, too.






About Alison Skilton

Alison Skilton is an associate editor of World Screen. She can be reached at askilton@worldscreen.com.

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