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December 09, 2013

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A Recipe for Cooking Up a Fun and Furry Children’s App

By Karen Halpenny


Karen Halpenny is a Senior Editor, Publishing & Senior Manager, Digital Publishing at Sesame Workshop.

David Kleeman, President of the American Center for Children and Media and PlayVangelist at PlayCollective, challenged content creators to make an “ingredients” list for their educational media. Challenge accepted!

App Name: Peekaboo Sesame Street

Goals:

  1. Design an app for the youngest segment of our audience to engage them with our characters in an age-appropriate interactive way.
  2. Introduce toddlers to the basics of how to use a tablet since we know they’re using these devices in increasing numbers.
  3. Integrate some fun into learning focused on science curriculum (prediction and cause & effect).

Approximate time required: 6 months

Yield: 1 app  Read More

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October 23, 2013

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The Story of the Sesame Street Dictionary: Parts 2 & 3

By Betsy Loredo


Betsy Loredo is the executive editor of Sesame Workshop’s publishing group.

PART 2: The Artist

Once you get to know Joe Mathieu a little better, it’s easy to see why he was the perfect choice  to illustrate the Sesame Street Dictionary.

He’s the one on the right above.

“Jim Henson encouraged me to go to the Muppet workshop and sketch and photograph the characters in the ‘morgue,’” Joe explained when he shared this shot with us. To tackle more than 1300 words, Random House author Linda Hayward, Sesame editor Anna Jane Hays, and Joe together intended to feature many obscure, cult-favorite characters from the show. For a list of the ones to look for in the finished book, check out Muppet WikiRead More

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October 21, 2013

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The Story of the Sesame Street Dictionary: Part 1

By Betsy Loredo


Betsy Loredo is the executive editor of Sesame Workshop’s publishing group.

PART 1: The Quest

How do you define a concept as big as “I” or as difficult as “easy” to someone as little as a 4-year-old? Go ahead – try explaining the words “of” or even “off”…using words that someone who still employs a binkie can understand.

Yup. Not so easy.

It’s certainly a whole lot simpler to express an idea like “alligator” or “banana.” A toothy green reptile is a concept that you can really wrap your mind around without one word of text, if you’ve got a telling piece of art:  Read More

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July 30, 2013

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Arigato Big Bird: Sesame Street in Japan

By Tomoko Nagano


Tomoko Nagano is Senior Editor, International Book Publishing at Sesame Workshop. She was also previously an editor with Sesame Street Magazine. 

Achieving “Big in Japan” status is an honor for select cultural icons. Sesame Street is one of them. Japanese audiences of all ages have embraced the characters for generations, so the brand is familiar to young and old, just as it is in the United States. It is also well-known because of longstanding English language learning materials, and the broadcast itself is an unintentional and unconventional way many in Japan learn English. Today, Sesame Street fans are fashionable young adults who grew up watching as children. Aiming at this audience, Japanese publisher Takarajima launched its second Sesame Street Mook (the name is a combination of “magazine” and “book”) title on July 19, 2013.  Read More

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June 24, 2013

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Sesame Street Swings by the Library

By Ariel Birdoff


The Publishing Group's Karen Halpenny reads to children at the New York Public Library.

Ariel Birdoff has been a member of the Sesame Workshop Publishing Group for more than eight years.

As part of Sesame’s Count Me In volunteer program, the Workshop’s Publishing Group is spending two Friday mornings a month in the company of preschoolers, caregivers, and librarians at the nearby Riverside Branch of the New York Public Library, just up the block! As lovers of books and champions of children’s literacy, we wanted to find a way to spend some of our volunteer hours working with both books and children. We were very lucky to find children’s librarian Rachel Evans and her beautiful children’s room so close by. To be able to help out in our own neighborhood feels extra special!  Read More

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June 05, 2013

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Cookbooks for Kids in the Age of the App

By Pamela Thomas


Pam Thomas is an editor in Sesame Workshop’s Book Publishing department and the author of several cookbooks.

Cooking with kids is not only an excellent way to find delectable  “quality time” with the family, it’s a perfect tactic for sneaking in teachable moments, all while  mixing up a batch of good-for-you muffins!  How about math: How many cookies make a dozen?  Or science: Why does butter melt when it’s put over heat? How does a cake rise when it’s put in an oven?  Literacy: What foods begin with the letter “C”?  And even a bit of etiquette: Let’s set a pretty table for supper! Or, let’s take a plate of cookies to the nice lady who lives next door!

And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of good health as it relates to food. Research has shown that Sesame Street’s furry, friendly, familiar characters can have a powerful influence over young children, guiding them to develop positive eating habits and to delight in exercise—strong ingredients for lifelong health. Sesame Street’s ongoing initiative, “Healthy Habits for Life,” proves that young children are more interested in healthy foods and good eating practices when these subjects are reinforced in fun, creative, colorful, and active ways.  That’s what Sesame Street cookbooks have strived to achieve. Read More

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February 07, 2013

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Sesame Street’s Science Books Come to Life in the Classroom

By Graydon Gordian


Teaching children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM subjects, is an imperative we here at Sesame Street take seriously.  STEM is not just a major part of the television show’s curriculum; Sesame Workshop makes print books, e-books, and mobile apps aimed at teaching young children about STEM.

Teaching STEM is a passion of ours, which is why we approached Ridgefield Academy in Connecticut to see if any of their teachers wanted to use our book Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, published by Dover Publications, in the classroom. That’s when we were introduced to Jerry Nash, a science teacher a Ridgefield who saw a way to take this teaching opportunity a step further.

He had his eighth grade students at Ridgefield Academy film the first graders who conducted the experiments. Then he had a group of third and fifth graders do a voice-over for an instructional science video he made. We were blown away by the time and effort Mr. Nash put into bringing Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends to life. We wanted to feature a few clips from the video (see above) in the hopes that teachers and parents might be inspired to think about new ways they can make science fun and relevant for young children.

If you would like to learn more about Ridgefield Academy and the great educational work they do, click here. If you want to get a copy of Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, click here. And Mr. Nash wanted to let you know if you have any questions about his approach to teaching science, you can reach him here.

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October 16, 2012

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From Paper to iPad: The Evolution of the Great Cookie Thief

By Susan Tofte


Ed. Note: Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s archivist.

How would you update a classic? Take a treasured story from one era and spruce it up for a new century’s readers?

Sesame Workshop has produced over 1200 books in a variety of formats since the early 1970s. Part of the philosophy of our publishing group is the willingness to tell stories in whatever formats will attract and reach preschoolers. Animated book apps and e-books are the most recent formats in which Sesame Street characters have come to life. For the Workshop, an eagerness to create books in emerging digital formats is tempered by the need to balance innovation with our mission of education. It is a delicate balancing act, but one that the Workshop’s publishing group has pulled off time and time again. Read More

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September 12, 2012

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Sesame and MeeGenius Partner to Bring Children’s Books to Digital Platforms

By Graydon Gordian



A few years ago, Wandy Hoh was at home, playing with her three young daughters, when she noticed something.

“It was very obvious that the things they were most interested in were various gadgets and computers,” she said. But she felt that there weren’t enough children’s books available digitally. Instead of waiting for them to come along, Hoh took the initiative and in 2010 founded MeeGenius, of which she now serves as CEO.

Two years later, MeeGenius and Sesame Workshop are happy to announce that we’ve formed a partnership that will bring six Sesame Street e-book titles to web, iOS and Android platforms. Beginning today with Celebrate School: First Day, the new titles will debut every Wednesday throughout the month of September.

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The Book on Books: the History of Sesame Street and Random House

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop Co-Founder Joan Ganz Cooney signs a contract with Random House in 1984.

In January 1970, less than two months after Sesame Street first aired, Joan Ganz Cooney, the co-founder of Sesame Workshop, received a letter.

“Our editorial staff in particular and many other of our associates have been watching the outstanding progress of your Sesame Street show with real respect and admiration,” read its opening line.

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