public media & children

This photo does a good job capturing who my daughter is. When she got home from school I could tell she was wiped out so I asked her if she wanted to listen to an interview of one of her favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo. Her eyes lit up.

She was skeptical when I brought out my computer. In her mind computers are used for videos.  ‘Just lay down and listen’ I told her. When I hit play she was listening to a Minnesota Public Radio stream of an interview conducted by Cathy Wurzer at the Fitzgerald Theater. The house was packed. The event was billed as the ‘opening night’ for DiCamillo’s latest kid-lit title Flora and Ulysses. There would be an interview, a reading and a question and answer period. All in all, the radio program would last over an hour.

A few minutes after I left her with the computer I checked back to see she had run to her room to get her copy of the book so she could read along as DiCamillo read to the audience at the theater. I couldn’t resist taking a photo. She never noticed me. She was completely lost in what she was reading and hearing.

We met Kate DiCamillo a few years ago before one of her annual Almanac appearances
We met Kate DiCamillo a few years ago before one of her annual Almanac appearances. Ever since we’ve been hooked.

My day job is that of a producer for the public television station in St. Paul, so public media runs in through my veins. That photo of my daughter listening to public broadcasting while reading a book shows that when media is done correctly the power to teach and inspire can amaze.

My daughter is nine years old and she has grown up with a steady diet of public television programming. She, and we, have adored Arthur, Word Girl, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, and Wild Kratz. Recently she asked my wife, a bit sheepishly, “what will I watch when I get too old for the cartoons?” Her mom responded, “well, you’ll watch American Experience, Globe Trekker, Frontline, This Old House and Antiques Roadshow. I’m not paid to write this, yet know that I truly appreciate what public media provides. Speaking of which, a rebroadcast of Downton Abbey is on right now.


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