Molly of Denali, a new animated series, will debut nationwide July 15 on PBS stations (including KUAC), the 24/7 PBS KIDS channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms. Produced by WGBH Boston, this action-adventure comedy follows the adventures of feisty and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl.
This is the first nationally distributed children’s series in the U.S. to feature an Alaska Native lead character. Molly helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post, a general store, bunkhouse and transport hub in the fictional village of Qyah. Each episode follows Molly, her dog Suki and her friends Tooey and Trini on their adventures, fishing, building snow forts and delivering a camera to friends on a volcano via dog sled.
Molly of Denali is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop knowledge and skills for interacting with informational texts through video content, interactive games and real-world activities. A foundational aspect of literacy education, informational texts are designed to convey information, and include written words, images, and oral language. In each episode, Molly’s life and adventures are enhanced, illuminated and broadened by using and creating a variety of informational texts, including books, online resources, field guides, historical archives, indigenous knowledge from elders, maps, charts, posters and photos.
One of the goals of the series is to bring Alaska Native voices into all aspects of the production, both on and off camera. WGBH Boston is developing the series with Alaska Native advisors and consultants. Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neets’aii Gwich’in), producer and Fairbanks resident, is creative producer of the series. The program will also feature Alaska Native voice talent in key roles, including the lead role of Molly, as well as Alaska Native scriptwriters. WGBH and Atomic Cartoons are hosting Alaska Native interns for production and animation roles.
“MOLLY OF DENALI showcases values paramount to all Alaskan Native cultures,” says Princess Daazhraii Johnson. “These values will be woven into each storyline and provide important learning moments. I’m especially excited that Alaska Native children will get to see themselves in Molly, who’s such an inspiring role model for all kids. The project’s Alaska Native advisors worked hard to ensure that our children will get to see our beautiful cultures in a respectful light.”
KUAC TV will air a sneak peek of Molly of Denali June 17 and begin airing the program July 15 with five stories rolled out back to back. Stay tuned for details.