Molly of Denali, which premiered earlier this month, is the first nationally distributed children’s series with a Native American as its lead character. This latest PBS KIDS production from WGBH Boston is earning high marks, including first-hand praise from a Springfield Head Start class of migrant children. During a recent weekly visit, interns and I were discussing PBS KIDS — always a popular subject — and several children mentioned Molly of Denali, excitedly saying how much they liked the show!
Molly is a 10 year old Athabascan with a mom who’s a bush pilot and a dad who’s an adventure guide. A diverse community working on Molly, including six indigenous writers, help make the show not only adventurous but authentic and respectful of native peoples. The stories are infused with Alaska Native values, history, traditions, language, as well as contemporary life and, as The Chicago Tribune points out, the show offers lessons “that have been historically ignored.”
A Molly of Denali podcast for kids extends this telling of native stories with native voices, and PBS LearningMedia already has a Molly of Denali Collection. Using informational text and Alaska Native culture, the collection offers videos, digital games, lessons, teaching tips, and activities so educators can utilize the series in the classroom.