Letters from Abroad: Brought To You By The Letters K and M, and the number 40

[Photo today from Letters from Abroad is Herr Fiaker, a statue commemorating a beloved carriage driver, located a few minutes from where this blog is being written in Vienna, Austria.]

It has been 40 years…

Can a four- or five-year-old be touched by the finest techniques of literature, music, and fine arts? Yes, absolutely, and the people below knew this so well.

Once upon a time (1969), the stars aligned: there was a lot of money to research educating children via TV (before the show began it was heavily researched); there was a publicly funded television station willing to put educational programs on air, so that children could watch the show without being bombarded by ads (the show is brought to you instead by the letter C and the number 8); and there were a group of incredibly creative people who decided to dedicate themselves to teaching children, and reaching them through every artistic technique out there: comedy, theater, narrative, puppeteering, terrific music, art and drawing.

And out came Sesame Street, which, I think, reached us all in the US before we could even write.

I give you then a couple of videos from the show, celebrating 40 years on air, a show very special to all of us involved in children’s books. First, Kermit the Frog talks about being happy and sad. Next, the great Lena Horne sings the alphabet song.

Can you tell me how to get… how to get to Sesame Street!

What is your favorite part, episode, music, character from—memory of—Sesame Street? What makes this educational show for children so unique?

Keith McGowan is the debut author of The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children, which was named an “inspired recommendation for children” by independent bookstores nationwide, and well reviewed by the New Yorker Books Department online which called it a  “literary treat” offering “humor that will delight and challenge the inquisitive youngster.”


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