2006 Notable Children's Videos Committee: Chair Lucinda Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, Va.; Pabby Arnold, East Baton Rouge (La.) Parish Library; Corinne Camarata, Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library; Molly Collins, Seymour Library, Brockport, N.Y.; Helen Foster James, San Diego (Calif.) County Office of Education; Jennifer Knoerzer, Suffern (N.Y.) Free Library; Cindy Lombardo, Tuscarawas County Public Library, New Philadelphia, Ohio; Linda Zeilstra Sawyer, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library, Danielle Shapiro, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Lisa Marie Smith, Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill.; and Susan Wray, Joplin (Mo.) Public Library.
Boxes for Katje. Spoken Arts. 800-326-4090.
Ages 5-9. In post-World War II Europe, a young Dutch girl receives care packages from an American child and an international friendship ensues. This limited animation film, based on the book by Candace Fleming with pictures by Stacey Dressen-McQueen, features an introduction by the author and narration by Frances Sternhagen.
Ella the Elegant Elephant. Spoken Arts. 800-326-4090.
Ages 4-6. Shy Ella finds herself the target of the classroom bully on her first day in a new school. But with courage, perseverance, and the help of her Grandma’s fabulous red hat, Ella creates a unique place for herself in this gentle, iconographic tale written and illustrated by Carmela and Steven D’Amico.
Ellington Was Not a Street. Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 5-12. A young girl remembers the many famous African-American icons who visited her family home in Harlem, New York. Beautifully narrated by Phylicia Rashad and accompanied by Duke Ellington’s memorable compositions, this is an iconographic adaptation of the book written by Ntozake Shange and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Ish. Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 4-9. Discouraged by his brother’s laughter, Ramon no longer wants to draw. When his younger sister shows him another way of seeing his art, Ramon is inspired to create new and wonderful drawings. This animated adaptation of Peter H. Reynolds’ book is narrated by Chester Gregory with an original jazz score by Joel Goodman.
The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman. Nutmeg Media. 877-262-3690.
Ages 5-9. When an uncle is unable to visit his niece, he sends a life-size wooden hitchhiker in his place. The cross-country journey is chronicled through postcards and notes from the people encountered along the way. A charming iconographic video which brings to life the book written by Darcy Pattison with illustrations by Joe Cepeda.
Kidnapped. WGBH Boston Video. 800-949-8670.
Ages 10-14. 18th century Scotland is the setting for this well-acted, action-packed retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure about young Davie Balfour and his quest for justice.
Kids Talkin’ About Death. National Film Board of Canada. 800-542-2164.
Ages 9-12. A variety of children from different backgrounds react to an interviewer’s questions about death, expressing their views and opinions based on their own experiences and observations. The frank, spontaneous, and sometimes emotionally-charged responses make this open-ended documentary a good starting point for discussion.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 8-14. In this animated version of Mordicai Gerstein’s book, Jake Gyllenhaal narrates the inspiring story of Philippe Petit’s daring high wire walk between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974.
Peep and His Pals. WGBH Boston Video. 800-949-8670
Ages 3-6. Joan Cusack narrates the animated adventures of Peep, a newly hatched chick, and his friends Quack and Chirp, exploring the world of science. Young children do their own simple science experiments in brief segments following each of Peep’s stories. The combination of the two makes science accessible and fun.
Portion Distortion: Seeing the Healthy Way to Eat. Human Relations Media. 800-431-2050.
Ages 7-12. Real kids convincingly provide viewers with solid strategies to make wise food choices. Live action mixes well with animation to dish up a healthy serving of entertaining information.
Rainbows in the Sea. Earthwise Media. 360-271-1584.
Ages 11 and up. Spectacular underwater photography along with clear narration take young people on a journey through the Earth’s coral reefs and stress the importance of conservation. Teachers’ guides and additional information on coral reef animals and the Coral Reef Alliance are included.
Roberto the Insect Architect. Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 5-8. What’s a bug to do? The big city calls to the budding architect, Roberto the termite. His blueprint for success—friendship, hard work, and imagination. Nina Laden’s picture book gets a quirky animated adaptation.
Stars! Stars! Stars! Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 5-9. The poetic tale of a young boy’s journey through space also includes factual information about the planets and solar system. This animated version is based on the book written and illustrated in brilliant colored paper collage by Bob Barner.
Wild About Books. Weston Woods. 800-243-5020.
Ages 3-8. Wild about books (or zoo animals)? Then you’ll also be wild about this animated adaptation of Judy Sierra’s and Marc Brown’s ode to bibliophiles everywhere, narrated by Catherine O’Hara.