A girl loses a tooth while with her dad's family in Africa, and she puts the tooth under a gourd and recives a gift from the Tooth Fairy. Also: a visit to a quinceanera (a celebration for a 15-year-old Hispanic girl). Featured book: Penda Diakité's “I Lost My Tooth in Africa.”
A boy prepares for a big test. Also: Host LeVar Burton's daughter, Michaela, practices for an upcoming audition; and members of TADA!, a Manhattan children's theater group, rehearse for a performance. Featured book: Nancy Poydar's “The Biggest Test in the Universe.”
Regeneration is discussed. The book: “Two Old Potatoes and Me,” by John Coy, about a girl who plants a potato. There's also a segment on composting featuring host LeVar Burton and his daughter Michaela.
Lifelong learning is the topic of the book “Mr. George Baker,” by Amy Hest, about a 100-year-old man who's learning to read. Also: host LeVar Burton profiles seniors in a professional dance group and a multigenerational business-owning family.
Exploring how families cope with the incarceration of a parent, and how children's authors approach the topic. Included is a reading (by Alfre Woodard) of “Visiting Day,” by Jacqueline Woodson, and a profile of a family facing that situation. LeVar Burton hosts.
Earth as home to everyone is the theme. Included: host LeVar Burton visits the United Nations. Also: Canadian youngsters from a youth-run organization called Kids Can Free the Children travel to Nicaragua, where they teach an English class and help build an extension on a schoolhouse. The story: “Our Big Home: An Earth Poem,” by Linda Glaser (read by Naomi Judd).
Overcoming cultural barriers is the focus of this program exploring issues raised by Sept. 11. “Every time you get to know someone new there are hurdles to jump over,” says host LeVar Burton, who introduces two girls who have become fast friends despite the fact that one's from India and the other from Italy. The story: “Enemy Pie,” by Derek Munson (read by Ed Harris). It's about a boy who had to spend a day with a boy he couldn't stand. Guess what happens?
Saluting heroes---superheroes, heroes of 9/11 and heroes of the everyday variety. The story: “Max,” by Bob Graham (read by Regina King), about the son of two superhero parents who doesn't think he'll measure up. Also: host LeVar Burton visits the “heroes” at Long Island's Wildlife Rescue Center for the Hamptons, and he asks New York City firefighters to describe heroism. Says one: “a hero is someone who helps another human being.”
The series presents four programs exploring ramifications of Sept. 11 from various angles. In the opener, host LeVar Burton meets students at Manhattan's PS 234, just a few blocks from Ground Zero. The kids receive a “message of hope” from Helen Forrest's book “The Tin Forest” (read by Jeff Bridges). And they thank people who helped them in the wake of 9/11 by making a video they call “We're Back Where We Belong.”
Death is the topic. The book: “Badger's Parting Gifts,” by Susan Varley (read by Ruby Dee). Also: host LeVar Burton recalls his grandmother (and her sweet-potato pie); dancer Judith Jamison recalls choreographer Alvin Ailey; and youngsters make school projects honoring loved ones who have died.
Exploring America's vastness and diversity, and poetry that celebrates it. The featured book: “A Poetry Atlas of the United States.” Included are readings by actress Lea Salonga, and Tom and Ray Magliozzi of National Public Radio's “Car Talk”; and profiles of youngsters in New York City and Montana. LeVar Burton hosts.
The topic: entrepreneurship.The book: “Lemonade for Sale,” by Stuart J. Murphy. It's about a group of kids who start a business to raise money to rebuild their falling-down clubhouse. Also: interviews with “juice guys” Tom Scott and Tom First, the founders of Nantucket Nectars; and Nancy Lublin, the founder of Dress for Success, an organization that provides low-income women with appropriate clothes for job interviews.
“Pet Stories You Don't Have to Walk” features stories about pets (read by Jason Alexander) and a birthday party for host LeVar Burton's golden retriever, Roy. But first, a bath. (“He likes to complain about it,” Burton winks, “but he really loves it.”) Then, the party---at a bakery for pets (specialties include “pupcakes”). Stories include “Danny and the Dinosaur,” by Syd Hoff; and “A Dog's Tale,” by Seymour Reit.
Host LeVar Burton journeys to a South American rain forest to explore nature and healing---and to get kids to read about it. The featured book is “The Shaman's Apprentice,” and in the program, coauthor Mark Plotkin (and Burton) meet the title character, who became a shaman (medicine man) himself after his life was saved by herbal medicines.
Lucie Arnaz reads Eileen Kurtis-Kleinman's "When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba," about a girl who takes her injured aunt---a dancer---to a matinee. Also: "The Old Man Who Loved to Sing"; and "My Mama Had a Dancing Heart."
A 16th season begins. Michelle Trachtenberg narrates Jon Scieszka's "Math Curse," which demonstrates how math is used in daily activities. Also: "Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems"; "Twelve Snails to One Lizard."
Two sisters discover a magical merry-go-round and realize the legacy of their mother in Liz Rosenberg's "The Carousel." Also: a Harlem carousel with animals designed by children; and a profile of a quilt maker.