PBS KIDS has ordered a new animated preschool series called Alma’s Way from Fred Rogers Productions to highlight Latino culture.
Created by Sesame Street actor and author Sonia Manzano, the educational adventure show about a young Puerto Rican girl’s adventures in the Bronx is inspired by her childhood. Ellen Doherty and Manzano are exec producing, with Jorge Aguirre (Goldie & Bear) on board as head writer. Pipeline Studios (Elinor Wonders Why) is animating the series. Forty half-hour episodes are in production, and Alma’s Way will premiere on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS linear channel and digital platforms in fall 2021.
In every episode, young Alma models self-awareness, responsible decision-making and empathy to show kids how to think through choices and their impact on the people around them. Alma will also experience different aspects of Latino culture, including making traditional meals and celebrating events like Noche Buena.
PBS KIDS plans to also roll out digital content inspired by the IP, including learning resources and games, on the PBS KIDS website and free PBS KIDS games app.
Many in the industry have been calling for a greater and more nuanced representation of Latinos because they have historically been an underrepresented group in kids media. The majority of human characters in kids TV shows are white (65% in the US, and 74% in Canada), according to research from the Center for Scholars & Storytellers out of UCLA and Ryerson University in Toronto.
Alma’s Way isn’t the only Fred Rogers Productions series heading to PBS KIDS in the new year. The pubcaster previously picked up puppet series Donkey Hodie (40 x 30 minutes) to debut in winter 2021, inspired by characters featured in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.