During a National Civics Day event in Philadelphia on Oct. 27, First Lady of the United States Jill Biden announced “Well-Versed,” a new animated series that teaches children civics in short-form music videos. The series is jointly produced by Nickelodeon and ATTN.
In the First Lady’s introduction of the series, she described “Well-Versed” as helping to “explain a lot of important ideas about citizenship and participation” in a “fun” format.
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“Democracy only works when all of us get involved and stay involved,” said Biden. “So get ready to jump in, raise your hand, and let your voice be heard. I’m proud of you, and President Biden and I are counting on you.”
With a curriculum led by non-profit civic education provider iCivics, the twelve-episode series is comprised of original pop songs. It follows a diverse group of friends who sing about a different topic related to civics education. Some of the topics covered include “Our Rights,” which explains the rights of citizens against unreasonable governing bodies; “It’s All Local,” about the importance of local governments; “Our Voices,” about the necessity of voting; and “Branches of Government,” about the three branches of government.
Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush echoed her support for the program on behalf of the George W. Bush Institute.
“The animated videos debuting here today will help young Americans understand how our government works and the importance of our democratic liberties,” Bush said. “Each of us has the duty to be informed, engaged citizens, so today I ask you to join us in this important work. The future of our country depends on it.”
Eight of the videos are designed for kids ages 6-11, while four of the videos are for preschoolers ages 2-5. The eight videos will premiere Nov. 1 across Nickelodeon platforms and Paramount+, with the four videos being released on Nick Jr. platforms and Noggin. The “Well-Versed Official Soundtrack” album from Republic Records: Kids & Family and Nickelodeon will be available on major streaming platforms starting Nov. 3.
The voice cast features: Tickwanya Jones as Jade, a funny 14-year-old who is passionate about community engagement; Mykal-Michelle Harris as Ava, Jade’s optimistic seven-year-old sister; Michael Johnston as Max, Jade’s easy-going pal who is often uninformed about civics; Jamila Velazquez as Carla, a popular and studious 12-year-old; and Jacob Pham as Johnny, Ava’s high energy and chatty friend who is curious about everything.
“The series not only brings civics education to life with incredible animation and catchy lyrics, it also includes great music that kids will listen to on repeat,” said Matthew Segal, co-founder of ATTN. “We’re hopeful that our series invites audiences to celebrate their differences and participate in their democracy.”
“Well Versed” is executive produced by Matthew Segal, Jarrett Moreno, Danielle DeCourcey, Taye Shuayb, Jessie Surovell and Michael Vainisi for ATTN and Tom Werner. Dennis Kosh Jacobs of ATTN: serves as co-executive producer. The series is overseen by Eryk Casemiro, executive vice president of Nickelodeon Animation, Global Series Content. Kelley Gardner serves as Nickelodeon’s executive in charge of production.
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