October 21, 2008

Global Wonders(TM) Brings Children “A Wonderful World of Cultural Discoveries(TM)”

Children and parents can experience "a wonderful world of cultural discoveries(TM)" with Global Wonders(TM), an entertaining series of animated DVDs available beginning today at Target, Toys "R" Us, Amazon.com and other leading online stores.

Global Wonders introduces children to the vibrant and varied cultures of their family, friends, neighbors and the world. Each DVD features hand-drawn animation and culturally authentic music with fun sing-along songs. Dazzling animation magically transforms into fascinating real-world footage from around the globe that will engage children viewing after viewing.

Created by a mother of two young children, Rashmi Turner, and a renowned team of experts from the world of children's entertainment and developmental education, Global Wonders inspires children to discover, share and compare the everyday customs, music, heritage, language and lifestyles in the "kaleidoscope" of cultures that surround them.

"We created Global Wonders to be an entertaining way for parents and children to discover the world beyond their own backyards," said Turner. "Children will love the music, colorful imagery, and how the characters' play dates unfold, while discovering the histories, traditions and customs of their own families and friends. Parents looking to help their children become good global citizens will appreciate how cross-cultural friendships and families are represented in our stories."

The DVD Series

Global Wonders DVDs engage youngsters with stories of exciting and fun-filled playdates where everyday activities are transformed into magical moments of discovery. In the first four children's entertainment titles, viewers learn about the beauty of one another's cultures through experiences with playmates Raj, Marisa, Trey, Brianna, Rina and their many friends.

-- "Global Wonders(TM): Around the World" - Join all of our families and friends for a fun day at the park, where you will be immersed in a kaleidoscope of cultures from "Around the World." Through group play and fun park activities, cultures are shared, compared and discovered. But watch out for Rina's dog, Kiko, whose playful energy adds plenty of lovable chaos to the scene. Build the Blarney "Sand" Castle with Brianna, sing "Happy Birthday" in Spanish with Marisa, taste Japanese karage with Rina, play the ney with Amir, and help Lee fly his spectacular Chinese dragon kite. However, the day is upended when Lorenzo's World Cup soccer ball goes missing. Team up with all of the kids on a "ball hunt" to see who will be the hero that finds the ball...could it be Kiko?

-- "Global Wonders(TM): India" - Danny and Marisa visit Raj and Asha for a playdate, where they are introduced to Indian customs like removing their shoes before entering the home, the delicious taste of naan flatbread, and the holiday of Diwali, "the festival of lights." When Asha's favorite stuffed tiger goes missing, the children embark on a "safari" search throughout the home leading them to the top of the "waterfall" staircase, where they discover additional cultural wonders like playing cricket and carom, hearing the inspirational tale of Prince Ram and the Mighty Bow, and being introduced to the simple but enduring philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi. As the safari concludes, it's not only Asha's tiger that is found...but a new curiosity in the cultural wonders discovered throughout the day.

-- "Global Wonders(TM): Mexico" - Trey and Brianna visit Marisa's home for a game of soccer. But on their way to the backyard, they are sidetracked by a house buzzing with activity as Marisa's family prepares for an exciting Quinceanera celebration for her sister. The festive atmosphere transforms every room into a world of new discoveries and activities celebrating the vibrant culture of Mexican families: Dance the rumba, sample enchiladas, play in a mariachi band, march in a Dia de los Muertos parade, and learn about the ancient Aztec legend of Quetzalcoatl. As the day winds down, soccer is certainly an afterthought, and Anna surprises Marisa with some special gifts that will make her Quinceanera celebration more fun and exciting for everyone.

-- "Global Wonders(TM): African-American" - Join twins Trey and Alicia and their friends Lee and Marisa on a playdate of dreams and imagination! When dad unveils the remodeled attic playroom, the kids embark on an exciting "treasure hunt" and use their powers of imagination to transform it into a world of dreams and discoveries, highlighting the fascinating culture of the African-American family. Discover the famous art of Horace Pippin, the groundbreaking music of Louis Armstrong, and the monumental contributions of Jackie Robinson. Sing the blues, dance to hip-hop, and learn what it really means to "burn." With the help of his friends, Trey finally uncovers "the hidden treasure"...but the real treasures are a deeper appreciation of this influential culture and a life lesson that to achieve something, you first have to dream it.

New elements Global Wonders is introducing to children's DVDs include WONDERVISION(TM), an innovative, interactive experience that opens multiple viewing paths to additional fun facts and secret content; and LANGUAGE JAMS (TM), participation-based musical segments introducing culturally rich vocabulary.

Music CDs

A collection of music CDs of original songs that celebrate the musical wonders of various cultures will be available later this fall. The CDs will include songs heard in the DVD series and all-new compositions that feature the instruments and rhythms of each culture.

Cultural Kaleidoscope(TM)

Global Wonders is unique in its approach to sharing cultures through interactions among friends. Turner, a former Disney executive, aims to help parents share the traditions of the world's cultures in a way that is relevant to all children.

"Global Wonders is about exposing children to the beauty among various cultures through interactions with friends and family," said Turner. "By having a deeper curiosity and broader understanding of themselves, their friends, and the world they live in, children will strengthen their self-identity, increase their self-esteem, and improve their overall cultural and social competence."

Global Wonders has been created with support from developmental expert and educational advisor J. Kevin Nugent, Ph.D., professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, founder and director of the Brazelton Institute in the Division of Developmental Medicine at the Children's Hospital in Boston, and lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Nugent's contributions to the Global Wonders brand include research findings on child development phases and the development of friendships, including cultural awareness among young children. His expert opinions and analysis of each Global Wonders story treatment have been incorporated into the final scripts and related educational products.

"Friendships are critical for a child's development, and maintaining meaningful relationships with children from various cultural groups promotes healthy social-emotional development in children," said Nugent. "The Global Wonders DVD titles encourage cooperative friendships and promote the values of curiosity, concern, generosity, loyalty and commitment in children's relationships with each other. The children of Global Wonders relate to one another as friends by developing a genuine understanding of one another and their respective cultures."

In an effort to be culturally authentic in its titles, Global Wonders works closely with its advisory panel of cultural, educational, parenting, language and family experts.

Experienced Team

The Global Wonders creative team includes:

-- Sindy McKay - writer

A two-time Emmy winner including 2006 Outstanding Animated Program for her work on "Jakers!", and whose work includes "Clifford The Big Red Dog."

-- Ed Wexler - animation director

An Emmy-nominated, 20-year veteran of Walt Disney Animation ("Little Einsteins,""My Friends Tigger and Pooh").

-- Jim Latham - composer

Emmy winner whose work includes original songs, themes and underscore for children's programming ("JoJo's Circus,""Dragon Tales,""Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment").

Joining Global Wonders as vice president, marketing and brand development, is Dave Burchianti, who previously spent several years at Nestle and The Walt Disney Company launching various new brands and businesses; and Danielle Melcher, as vice president, production, also from Disney's "Baby Einstein."

"Research shows that children who have cross-cultural friendships tend to be more socially skilled and are rated by their peers as 'more popular' and "smarter.' Given the cross-cultural make-up of America's neighborhoods and schools, and the shift to a more globally connected society, Global Wonders is a unique brand whose time is now," said Burchianti.

Global Wonders, Inc. is based in Pasadena, Calif. For more information, please visit http://www.globalwonders.com.

(C)2008 Global Wonders Inc. Global Wonders(TM), WonderVision(TM) , Language Jam(TM), Cultural kaleidoscope(TM) and "a wonderful world of cultural discoveries(TM)" are trademarks of Global Wonders, Inc. All rights reserved.