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July 27, 2012

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Sesame Workshop Brings Educational Radio to Children in Afghanistan

By Dan Lewis


Baghch-e-Simsim — Sesame Garden in both Dari and Pashto — debuted on two television stations in Afghanistan in December of 2011. With only a small percentage of the five million Afghani children likely to attend Kodakistans (the country’s kindergarten system), Baghch-e-Simsim was designed to be the first step in finding ways to meet the growing need for early childhood education there. And with radio being the most accessible media for Afghan households, a series of radio episodes of Baghch-e-Simsim was the natural next step.

This week, Sesame Workshop and Equal Access International announced 78 such episodes, 39 of which are in Dari and the other half in Pashto. Each 20-minute radio episode features a letter and number of the day, caregiver tips, and of course, the Sesame magic seen around the world.

Speak Dari? You can listen to a clip here. Pashto? Click here.

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July 19, 2012

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Growing Hope Against Hunger and Sesame Workshop writer Chrissy Ferraro nominated for an Emmy!

By Liza Dorison


Congratulations to the Growing Hope Against Hunger team, Chrissy Ferraro and the rest of Sesame Workshop on its two newest Emmy nominations!

Sesame Workshop has been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program category.  Growing Hope Against Hunger, made possible by the generous support of Walmart and aired on PBS, makes manifest the invisible crisis in the United States, food insecurity, by introducing a new Muppet named Lily whose family has an ongoing struggle with hunger.  Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults and children to discuss.  This one hour primetime television special presents families’ personal stories to raise awareness of hunger as well as strategies that have helped these families find resources and grow stronger together.  In this special, Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams Paisley and the Sesame Street Muppets help families cope and live the healthiest life possible by providing the tools families need and by educating the general population about the widespread issue of hunger and food insecurity in the United States.

In addition, writer Christine Ferraro has been nominated for an Emmy in Writing, Nonfiction Programming for Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger.  Christine Ferraro has been a writer for Sesame Street since 1994.

Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger • PBS • Sesame Workshop

Carol-Lynn Parente, Executive Producer

Melissa Dino, Supervising Producer

Mason Rather, Senior Producer

Kevin Clash, Producer

Special thanks to Academy Award winning director and filmmaker Cynthia Wade for her documentary films as part of the special.

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July 17, 2012

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Sesame Street’s Eric Jacobson and Super Grover 2.0 at Comic Con 2012

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Street performer Eric Jacobson and his good pal Super Grover 2.0 stopped by this year’s Comic Con to bring smiles to the faces of the conventions youngest attendees. From the look of it everyone had a lot of fun!

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July 12, 2012

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A Conversation with WhyHunger’s Executive Director Bill Ayres

By Graydon Gordian


Bill Ayres is the executive director of WhyHunger, an anti-hunger organization he co-founded in 1975. Summer is an important time of year to focus on child hunger, which Sesame Workshop’s Food For Thought outreach initiative is committed to battling. Ayres sat down with the Workshop to explain how his organization fights child hunger, why it is such an important issue during the summer months and why his organization utilizes the anti-hunger materials Sesame Workshop makes available.

To put it simply, Why hunger? Why, as Americans, is hunger an issue that we should be concerned about?

Well, that is our name: WhyHunger. We have that name because we are asking the question, why is there hunger in the richest country in the world? Why is there hunger in a world that can feed itself? Hunger is an obscenity. Hunger in America is the ultimate obscenity. There are about 17 million children and 49 million people all together that are food insecure. That means they aren’t starving but they miss meals and they eat less. They don’t get the right kinds of food. That is devastating for kids especially.

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July 10, 2012

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Sesame Street’s “Share It Maybe”

By Graydon Gordian


Cookie Monster and the Sesame Workshop team got together to make this video. We hope you all enjoy it!

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July 09, 2012

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The New Season of Prankster Planet Starts Today!

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop is excited to announce the launch of the second season of The Adventures of The Electric Company on Prankster Planet, the newest segment on our award-winning show The Electric Company.

The Electric Company has evolved since the iconic program first aired in 1971. Since the show was revived in 2009, we have utilized a variety of media to ensure that the show’s rigorously researched educational material, which has a renewed focus on math, helps six to nine-year-olds acquire the academic skills they need to achieve their full potential. Prankster Planet is at the heart of the show’s transmedia approach.

At the end of each episode, Marcus and Jessica will go on an adventure to try and stop tricky prankster Francine from causing chaos. But the story doesn’t end once the show is over. Kids are encouraged to go online to the new Prankster Planet website where they can play games that help them learn simple math equations, graphing, and data collection, representation and analysis.

Since the introduction of Prankster Planet 1.0 last season, millions of kids have visited the show’s website to have fun, interactive adventures, all the while building up their math and literacy skills. The show has won three Emmy’s for Outstanding Children’s Series in a row – every year since it was revived – and was also a recipient of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award for Television.

Click here to learn more about the story of The Electric Company’s revival, or visits PBSKids.org to play the new Prankster Planet 2.0 games.

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July 05, 2012

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A Tour of Sesame Workshop’s Wall Art

By Graydon Gordian


In April we featured the work of Associate Design Director Louis Henry Mitchell, who created the wonderful chalk murals on the 8th floor of Sesame Workshop’s office. Many of our readers really enjoyed the post, so we wanted to show you the rest of the chalk art that can be found around the office.

The fun and imaginative wall art was created by our Creative Services team:

  • Graphic Designer Molly Hein (Bert and Ernie in the Subway, Ernie bowling, Gluten Free),
  • Associate Art Director Evan Cheng (Bert and Ernie in the Subway, Ernie Bowling, Gluten Free, Grover Michael Jackson)
  • Senior Design Director Vanessa Germosen (Bert and Ernie in the Subway)
  • Creative Director Kip Rathke (Super Grover)
  • Creative Director Janis Beauchamp (Elmo Peaking in)
  • Vice President Creative Director Theresa Fitzgerald (Super Grover)
  • Louis Henry Mitchell (Full Cast Welcome Sign, Elmo/Big Bird/Cookie Monster Welcome Sign, Herry)

Each of the artists brings his or her own style and technique to the portrayal of Sesame Street’s iconic MuppetsTM. The entire Sesame Workshop team loves the chalk drawings so much that we decided it was about time we shared them with everyone.

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Jordanian Sesame Street Launches New Website for Parents and Children

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is committed to making an impact on the health, wellbeing and education of children across the globe. While we may be best known for our groundbreaking television programs, we’re committed to using a variety of media to educate and entertain children. That’s why Hikayat SimSim, the Jordanian version of Sesame Street, recently launched HikayatSimSim.com, a new online resource with activities and guides for parents, teachers and children.

The site, which launched on May 30, is targeted at the parents and teachers of children ages 4-8, as well as the children themselves. The site includes games that help teach concepts that are critical for school readiness, “tips” and parental guides for caregivers, and introductions to Tonton, Juljul and Elmo, the furry friends children see when they watch Hikayat SimSim. Over time additional games, videos and stories will be added to the site as well.

Since 2003, when Hikayat SimSim first aired, Sesame Workshop has been helping the children of Jordan acquire the educational foundation necessary to achieve their full potential. As an organization we have a firm belief that educational messages are better retained if experienced on multiple platforms. That is why we are so excited to add an online component to our educational efforts in Jordan.

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June 27, 2012

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‘A Woman in the Boardroom': A 1978 Interview with Joan Ganz Cooney

By Joan Ganz Cooney



Ed. Note: This interview with Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney originally appeared in the 1978 January-February edition of the Harvard Business Review. It has been re-published with the permission of the Harvard Business Review and edited for length. Special thanks goes to Ms. Cooney for taking the time to reflect upon her interview and write an updated introduction, which you can find below.

I find it hard to believe, upon re-reading this interview from Harvard Business Review, that it was published only 34 years ago… As the kids would say, “It’s so last century!” I was among the first women to be asked to join a Fortune 300 corporate board. Today, it is not unusual for major corporations to have two or three women as board members. I was embarrassed to read how afraid I was to offend the sensibilities of the businessmen of that era. I’m happy to say that today men and women interact as equals; Women CEO’s, while still rare in the Fortune 500, exist in much greater numbers than they did in the 70’s and women are almost always in high executive positions. Xerox’s two most recent CEO’s have been women; the current one is African American. So yes, things have changed for the better. We still have a long way to go but there is no question that astonishing progress has been made by women in business.

Harvard Business Review: We’d like to look at several conventional views concerning the question of women at top management and board levels.  The first concerns qualifications. Many people believe that women can’t make the same tough decisions that men can, that they aren’t qualified in the same way that men are. What is your response to that view?

Cooney: Well, I don’t think there’s anything to it in one way, but in other ways there’s a great deal to it. Little girls and young women are trained on both conscious and unconscious bases, by the family and by society, to “get along”—to be diligent and dutiful, to take instructions from older people, first from their parents and then from men. Some men are comfortable in that role, merely following instructions, but virtually all women are comfortable in it.

To make decisions women have to debrief themselves, which causes an enormous amount of anxiety and stress, to understand that they can take action—can, for instance, perform the necessary surgery if it must be performed. Such surgery includes eliminating a department, eliminating, here at Children’s Television Workshop, a show, eliminating personnel; sometimes for budgetary reasons, sometimes for competency reasons.

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June 25, 2012

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Congratulations to Kevin Clash on His Most Recent Emmy Award

By Graydon Gordian


For the second week in a row we are proud to announce that a member of the Sesame Workshop team has been honored with an Emmy award. On Saturday night Kevin Clash, the performer of Elmo, was awarded the Emmy for best performer in a children’s series. The Emmy is Kevin’s 21st overall Emmy, his eighth as a performer and his fourth in a row in the category. We also wanted to congratulate Sesame Workshop performers Carroll Spinney and Leslie Carrara, who were nominated for the award. The imagination and talent of Kevin, Carroll and Leslie have long been an indispensable part of Sesame Workshop’s ability to help children across the world laugh and learn.

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