My first memories as a child of Sesame Street were waiting for the appearance of Big Bird and his bright yellow feathers and bright orange beak along with the many characters that would appear.
It was the 80’s and the last thing on my mind was the diversity of characters that appeared during segments of the show on PBS. Growing up in Bridgeport, CT, there was a good amount of diversity and I embraced this as a young child.
Between pre-k and kindergarten, I couldn’t tell that my classmates had different heritages than mine. I would have never caught on that most of the characters like Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and The Count were not Bilingual.
I grew up in an environment where we spoke Spanish at home and in school we spoke English. For me it was normal for certain things to be spoken in English especially most of the TV shows I enjoyed as a kid.
If we fast forward to 2013, we live in a time when Dora The Explorer has been teaching everyone some Spanish.
Hey Sesame Street fans: I wrote the music for this tune for the new season: http://t.co/Jugedu1Qyl
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 18, 2013
A few days while looking at my facebook and twitter feeds, I saw that Sesame Street held its first open casting and chose a Puerto Rican to play the role of Mando, a new Bilingual character who just recently debuted in the neighborhood. Mando is played by Puerto Rican writer Ismael Cruz Córdova who moved from our Island to study in New York City.
As a parent, I see the value in having a bit more diversity on television shows that I would want my daughter to watch. At the house we don’t have cable or the tv connected to any antenna.
We mainly use Youtube, Hulu +, iTunes and Amazon Prime when we want to watch something. Our daughter gets her mix of Disney movies and other musical classics like the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, and The King and I.
She enjoys music and singing the most; that is where I see my daughter really liking this new character that will be singing throughout the season of Sesame Street. The music was created by a creative I admire, Mr. Lin Manuel, who wrote the Broadway Play, In the Heights.
I can’t wait to see more of Mando and I am sure many of you had heard of this around May when PBS annouced it. I found out yesterday and it brought a big smile to my face.
What types of media content do you want your kids watching?
Ron Hood says
I had my son and daughter watching all types of content growing up,
but instead of “Them” watching it, “We” watched it. Something amazing
happens when your children know you are watching, too. They begin to
ask questions, or point out things that amaze them. This gives a great
opportunity for dialogue and further explanation or the sharing of “cool
things!” If content is the babysitter with no dialogue, it is
worthless; just eye candy instead of mind candy.