BOSTON, MA, April 6, 2021 – PBS KIDS and GBH Boston today announced that the award-winning animated series MOLLY OF DENALI will return for a second season in Fall 2021. Following its premiere in 2019, MOLLY OF DENALI received critical acclaim, including a Peabody Award, a Television Critics Association Award and a Kidscreen Award. In its first year, MOLLY OF DENALI reached more than 42 million people1 on-air on PBS KIDS and the PBS KIDS digital platforms have over 450K users each month.2
Produced by GBH Boston and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, MOLLY OF DENALI follows the adventures of curious and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. It is the first nationally distributed children's program to feature Native American and Alaska Native lead characters, and incorporates Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes.
MOLLY OF DENALI is grounded in a pioneering curriculum focused on informational text (IT), a foundational aspect of literacy education. Recent studies by Education Development Center and SRI International found that resources from the series improved children’s ability to use IT to solve real-world problems. After only nine weeks of access, this impact is equivalent to the difference in reading skills a first-grader typically develops over three months.
The new season includes a one-hour special and 23 half-hour episodes, comprised of two 11-minute stories and a live action interstitial, which will feature Alaska’s natural wonders, rich and diverse Alaska Native cultures, and the importance of community – with the humor and adventurous spirit that marked Season 1. Native languages will continue to be present in all stories, including episodes like “Uqiquq (Throw Party),” where Tooey writes and delivers a speech to his Grandmother in their native language. “Molly and Elizabeth” features the story of Elizabeth Peratrovich, an Alaska Native person who led the creation of the nation’s first state or territorial anti-discrimination law in 1945. In the episode, she inspires Molly to stand up to a group of tourists who make stereotypical assumptions about Alaska Native people.
“This season offers more groundbreaking episodes that uplift Alaska Native values and cultures and celebrates the importance of community and the natural world,” says series Executive Producer Dorothea Gillim. “Audiences will love all the great new content, including animated and live action shorts as well as a suite of digital games.”
“In MOLLY OF DENALI, we are sharing the rich wisdom of elders before us, passing along over 10,000 years of scientific, environmental and social-emotional knowledge,” says Creative Producer, Yatibaey Evans. “The series is an opportunity for Alaska Native people to tell the world about our ways of life that will help preserve our collective future.“
“It is gratifying to see how kids, families and educators have embraced MOLLY OF DENALI,” said GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott. “GBH is grateful to be a partner with PBS KIDS and our Alaska Native collaborators as we continue to create important content and opportunities that support children’s development and feature the experiences and contributions of all Americans.”
“PBS KIDS is proud to bring kids and families nationwide a second season of MOLLY OF DENALI,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of Children’s Media and Education at PBS. “Representation and inclusion are critical to our work, and we’re thrilled to continue building on that mission through this groundbreaking series, which also teaches critical literacy skills.”
The new season will also bring new digital games, available on pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Games App, as well as new educational resources on PBS LearningMedia. The latest season of the Molly of Denali Podcast can be found on pbskids.org/molly/podcast or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
About Molly of Denali
MOLLY OF DENALI is produced by GBH Boston and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons. MOLLY OF DENALI involves Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes. Every Indigenous character is voiced by an Indigenous actor, including Molly, voiced by Alaska Native Sovereign Bill (Tlingit and Muckleshoot).
Support for MOLLY OF DENALI™ is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and by public television viewers. Additional funding made possible with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit. Corporate funding provided by the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan and Target.
Alaska Native collaborators: Adeline P. Raboff, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman, Luke Titus, Princess Daazhraii Johnson and Rochelle Adams. Language Advisors: Adeline P. Raboff, Aassanaaq Kairaiuak, Joel Isaak, Lance X’unei Twitchell, Lorraine David, and Marjorie Tahbone. Informational text advisor: Nell K. Duke, University of Michigan.
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, ARTHUR, PINKALICIOUS and MOLLY OF DENALI and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. GBH’s television channels include GBH 2, GBH 44, GBH Kids and national services WORLD and Create. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS LearningMedia and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at gbh.org
About Atomic Studios
Atomic Cartoons, the Kids and Family Division of Thunderbird Entertainment Group (TSXV:TBRD, OTC - THBRF), is an artist-driven, multifaceted studio that includes some of North America's most creative animators, directors, producers, and writers. With studios in Vancouver, Ottawa and Los Angeles, Atomic produces content for partners around the globe, including the Emmy Award-winning series Beat Bugs (2017, 2019) and The Last Kids on Earth(2020), and the Peabody Award and Television Critics Association Award-winning Molly of Denali (2020), which also won a Kidscreen Award for Best Inclusivity (2021). Thunderbird and Atomic also have a division dedicated to global distribution and consumer products. Atomic is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @AtomicCartoons. For more information, visit www.atomiccartoons.com.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through television, digital media, and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can watch PBS KIDS anytime on the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS Video app, available on mobile and connected-TV devices, no subscription required. PBS KIDS’ large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content, including digital games and streaming video to spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers, parents, and community – providing resources to support children’s learning, anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
1Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 7/15/2019 - 7/12/2020, 50% unif, 1+ mins., P2+, K2-11.
2Google Analytics, January 2020–December 2020
The contents of MOLLY OF DENALI season 1 were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A150003, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.