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I inspired a podcast, y’all! I did! My friend Jimmie Bise, former host of The Delivery and current co-host of Strange Worlds Travelogue, took my suggestion and did a show on sci-fi for kids. I hope I use my powers of persuasion for good.
Not having kids of their own and thus being knee-deep in current kid culture, the show focuses more on overarching themes and classic (or older anyway) kids “speculative fiction.” Because of this, this is a great show for every sci-fi fan whether they have kids or not. If you discovered science fiction in your youth, you’ll be yelling “Oh, yeah! I remember that! I loved that show/book/movie!”
My favorite concept out of the entire (wonderful) podcast was Jimmie’s observation that, “Sci-fi teaches kids that their not the only ones with crazy ideas.” For kids of a certain creative, not necessarily common bent, discovery of sci-fi is also discovery of their tribe.
I’m not going to rehash the whole show because you really should listen to it, but they talk about the benefits of sci-fi and give lots of great suggestions for books, movies, television shows, and graphic novels.
I do have a quibble with Tania’s suggestion about the order of Star Wars. They suggest watching Episodes 1-3 first, as they are aimed more for kids. First, episode three is really dark and violent and we haven’t let our little guys watch it yet. I mean, Anakin slaughters a bunch of young children and then gets horrific, maiming burns.
Second, they stink.They are just awful. Bad. Horrendous. Dear Lord, somebody stop Lucas before he ruins everything. Like most kids, my children don’t have the most sophisticated taste, but they won’t love just any crap you serve up. Even if they would, it’s my job as a parent to help them develop the ability to discern good art from bad. This is why they don’t watch all those vapid tween shows. (And why they do watch Mythbusters and Doctor Who.) The original episodes are well-told stories, and being filmed before the “show every piece of viscera close-up,” frankly far more appropriate for younger kids.
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As to their not being aimed at kids, well my whole generation fell in love with them as kids. In fact, I’ll bet Jimmie and Tania fell in love with them as kids. So, no, introduce Star Wars to your kids in the order filmed. Then you can enjoy “Why did Lucas destroy my childhood” rants together!
Like I said, Jimmie and Tania talk mostly (but not entirely) about classic sci-fi, but this is actually a great time for “speculative fiction” for children. (I’m a little surprised Jimmie didn’t mention Phineas and Ferb, one of the best sci-fi shows on tv today! Is too a sci-fi show!) Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the How to Train Your Dragon Series are just some of the stories my kids like. We discovered a fantastic new fantasy story on our trip back from Kentucky, Savvy by Ingrid Law. My girls are excited to read the other books in that series. Of course, Hunger Games and Divergent are popular books for young adults, although we haven’t yet read them. (Interesting note: all but one of these series are written by women. Rock on, ladies! Way to represent the guys, Rick Riordan!)
Be sure to listen to the podcast and check out Strangeworld Travelogue website for lots of great suggestions for sci-fi for kids from 5 to 95.
What was your first introduction to sci-fi? Where do you stand on the Star Wars viewing order controversy?
UPDATE: An important video on introducing your kids to Star Wars from my friend Jessica.