Children’s Animation that is Making a Difference
Posted on November 28, 2022
Over the past few years, children’s programming has seen an increase in storylines that celebrate their target audience: children. These shows, at their core, stress the importance of imagination and play, and tell stories that children can relate to. The medium of animation allows these narratives to cater to the imagination of children by achieving feats that would either be impossible or too expensive in a live action production.
Below I have compiled a list of some of my favourite animated children’s television series. The unique prosocial messaging and storylines within each series contributes to children’s media in a positive way by conveying nuanced stories that both children and adults can relate to and enjoy.
Bluey is an Australian pre-school animated series that follows the adventures of Bluey, a 6 year old Blue Heeler puppy, and her family. With the short run of 8 minute long episodes, Bluey is cute, sweet, and straight to the point. This series focuses more on prosocial messaging than learning the ABCs, with lessons like learning how to apologize, the value of setting boundaries, taking turns, and above all, the importance of play and imagination.
You can watch all three seasons of Bluey on DisneyPlus!
Amphibia is an American animated series that follows the adventures of Anne Boonchuy when she is magically transported into the land of Amphibia full of anthropomorphic amphibians. This series is widely praised for its humour, pacing, and depiction of complex friendships between young girls.
Amphibia also features the first Thai-American protagonist in an animated series! This decision to make Anne Thai-American is influenced by creator’s Matt Braly’s heritage, and his experiences visiting Bangkok as a child.
You can watch Amphibia on DisneyPlus!
3. Owl House
Similarly to Amphibia, which was also greenlit at the same time, The Owl House is an American animated series about Dominican-American protagonist Luz Noceda as she finds her way into the Boiling Isles after stumbling through a portal. In the Boiling Isles, Luz meets an eccentric cast of characters as she tries to fulfill her dream of becoming a witch. In addition to Dominican-American representation, this series has also been widely praised for its 2SLGBTQ+ characters, whose identities are not censored or subtly referenced to.
You can watch The Owl House on DisneyPlus
This series follows 11 year old Hilda who lives outside of the walled-up city of Trollberg. With the company of her deerfox Twig, Hilda embarks on fantastical adventures as she learns about magic, meets new friends, and explores Trollberg.
Hilda has been widely praised for its educational messages about environmentalism, animal rights, and the many definitions of what home can be.
The first two seasons of Hilda are available to stream on Netflix!
What I love about these shows is that they don’t talk down to their target audience- instead, they celebrate them.The emphasis on equity, inclusivity, and diversity within children’s media has made these stories all the more nuanced and compelling, and inspires upcoming young creatives to continue to make children’s programming a safe, positive, educational space.