ScratchJr: Coding for Young(er) Kids

Project:  ScratchJr: Coding for Young Kids

Creator:  Mitchel Resnick at Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT

Description:  Coding for kids is all the rage these days -- seems like you can't go through Kickstarter pages without running into at least one of these every week (here's one of my favorites).  But it's also true that the Lifelong Kindergarten lab at MIT has been interested in the subject for a long time, most visibly in the creation of Scratch, a web-based programming interface for kids ages 8 and up.  Now, with ScratchJr, they hope to expand that work down to kids ages 5 through 7.

The website is free, so rewards are for ancillary items such as t-shirts, stickers, and seminars.  But if ScratchJr is as cool as its elder sibling, it's worth pitching in.

Ep. 16: Suzi Shelton's Kids Music Album "Smile in My Heart"

In this episode, I talk with Suzi Shelton, who's using Kickstarter to help fund her third full-length family music album Smile in My Heart.  We chat about how she got into kids' music, why this is only her third full-length album (really, I was totally surprised to realize that!), and the myth of the DIY musician.

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Smile in My Heart - A New Family CD by Suzi Shelton

Suzi Shelton

Suzi Shelton on Facebook

Suzi Shelton on Twitter

Suzi Shelton on YouTube

"Cinnamon Bear" video

May 4 show at Brooklyn Bell House

Marc Bazerman

Suzi Shelton on StageIt

Steve Elci's Next Kids Music Album, "Imagination Nation"

Project:  "Imagination Nation" The new children's CD from Steve Elci

Creator:  Steve Elci

Description:  The Connecticut-based pop-rocker Elci goes simple in his Kickstarter pitch for Imagination Nation, his follow-up to his kindie debut Crayons in a Box.  Short funding period (only 25 days at launch), short pitch video (less than 30 seconds!), and short list of rewards (CD, signed CD, concert, and sponsorship).  But it seems to be working thus far -- he's already raised more than half of his $3,500 goal, which'll fund not just recording costs but the costs of producing an animated music video.

Ep. 15: Joanie Leeds' 6th Album for Kids "Good Egg"


I talk with Joanie Leeds, who's going back to Kickstarter to raise money for her forthcoming sixth family music album, Good Egg.  We chat about her path to making music for kids, recording in upstate New York, and what she learned about doing Kickstarter from her last Kickstarter project (for her previous album Bandwagon).  I had lots of fun talking with her -- sadly (really!), our discussion of weather highs and lows in our lives did not make the recorded portion of the chat.

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"Good Egg" - Joanie Leeds rocks her 6th Kids CD

Joanie Leeds

Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights on Facebook

Review of Joanie Leeds' album Bandwagon

Dean Jones' No Parking Studios

Mai Mai Miracle UK and US Release


Project:  Mai Mai Miracle

Creator:  All the Anime

Description:  Hopefully the phrase "protege of Hayao Miyazaki" is sufficient for fans of family-friendly movies, but just watch what is essentially a trailer for director Sunao Katabuchi's Mai Mai Miracle and hopefully that will convince you that this would be a worthy movie to see in the English-language part of the world.

The movie itself won a number of awards upon its release in 2009 but hasn't yet been released in the UK or the United States.  This Kickstarter will raise the funds to produce English subtitles, and assuming they reach their stretch goal of $60,000 (very likely given their success in just 48 hours), a dubbed version of the movie.  Definitely looks promising.

minimúsica's Fourth Album of Spanish Indie Rock for Kids


Project:  minimúsica Volume 4 - Education

Creator:  minimúsica

Description:  Do I like the indie pop/rock of Spain's minimúsica?  I liked Volumes 1 and 2, and Volume 3, too, so the answer is safely "yes."

Now the outfit is back, trying to raise the funds produce Volume 4, this one with an "Education" theme.  It'll feature music from… OK, I don't recognize any of the artists except Candela y Los Supremos, but I really didn't recognize any of the artists on Volumes 1 through 3, and those turned out pretty awesome.

They're trying to raise 15,000 Euros, or roughly $20,000 depending on the exchange rate, and while the reward levels might not work for too many on this side of the pond (and I don't think they've even contemplated the possibility that they'd receive foreign contributions), for just $27 or so you can get the CD plus the book Transports from one of the prior volumes.