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Media Literacy

Lion Forge Animation and PBS Team Up for Kids’ Multi-Media Literacy Program, ‘Drawn In’

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Supporting elementary literacy goals for children and celebrating underrepresented communities and groups, St. Louis-based Nine PBS has partnered with David Steward II’s Academy Award-winning Lion Forge Animation to create a new multi-media initiative to represent underprivileged kids of color and aid in the struggle to close the literacy gap. 

Drawn In was designed to energize educational objectives for English and language arts for 6–8-year-old children via a wide range of animated video shorts, online educational puzzles and games, and both print and digital comic books. A specific Drawn In website will fortify parents and educators with resources to aid students towards bolstering their reading aptitudes.

“Nine PBS wrote the book on how Public Media engages local communities around issues that matter to them,” says Amy Shaw, President and CEO, Nine PBS. “For us to execute on the vision that our local community advisors had for the Drawn In stories and characters, it was intentional and imperative that we work with a partner like LFA who are Black and Brown in ownership and leadership. Their team is representative of our target audience, both behind the camera and in front of the camera. It’s a more genuine approach to educate, serve, and transform our community.”


The Drawn In comic-book cover.

Here’s the official initiative description:

Drawn In is a series of epic comic adventure stories following the exploits of four Midwest kids who unabashedly love comic books. Tyler, Nevaeh, Jadyn, and Grace, live and breathe comic books. In every Drawn In adventure, their real-world collides with the comic world when colorful heroes, villains, robots, and other fanciful creatures escape from the comic book’s pages––and the kids must analyze and formulate how to catch and restore them if they hope to save their city from cartoon mayhem! 

As they pursue the renegade characters, the world around the kids changes dramatically: comic panels become portals, letters become loopholes, sound effects become visible, and illustrations burst to life. In each story, the kids use problem-solving and literacy skills to set their world right again.

“Our partnership with Nine PBS illustrates our commitment to driving change through public media and furthering the diversity of content in the public media landscape on a national level,”  adds David Steward II, Lay Vice Chair of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). “Drawn In is among the first animated kids’ initiatives with African Americans as lead characters in public media. We’re motivated to ensure it will be a catalyst for many more. 

“Helping others understand the unique role that public television serves in the area of education is something I personally embrace and makes our Drawn In initiative even more gratifying. While advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, we need to start seeing heightened diversity in programming that is reflective of a diverse society. Drawn In does just that and will be a lot of fun in the process.”

Educational games, digital comics, and animated shorts will be available at drawnin.org.

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