Julia, the muppet with autism, joins Sesame Street's TV show

Julia, the muppet with autism, will join the Sesame Street TV show in April. She appeared last night on 60 minutes during an interview segment with Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro. From NPR:

"The character Julia, she has wonderful drawing skills. She's like a little budding artist," said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which characterizes itself as the nation's oldest advocacy group for people with the disorder. "You know — autism — it brings wonderful gifts..."

"It's not like there is a typical example of an autistic child, but we do believe that [with] Julia, we worked so carefully to make sure that she had certain characteristics that would allow children to identify with her," (Sesame Workshop executive vice president Sherrie) Westin said. "It's what Sesame does best, you know: Reaching children, looking at these things through their lens and building a greater sort of sense of commonality."

Here's the 60 Minutes segment script.

And more about puppet designer Rollie Krewson.

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Say good morning to Do Bee!

I remember watching Romper Room religiously, perhaps that is what happened.

Wasn't it awesome we got morality lessons from a surreal bumble bee with a 420 friendly name? I think I liked Mr. Don't Bee better.

Romper Room may also explain my hatred of mirrors. Read the rest

5-year-old wins Tulsa spelling bee, heads to nationals

Five-year-old Edith Fuller correctly spelled jnana to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. She's the youngest competitor in the bee's history. Read the rest

Children are stupid. Be smart, and secure each room for a stupid person

Brock and Bowdy were doing what toddlers do: being stupid. In the process of trying to climb their dresser via the drawers, they tipped it over, pinning Brock. Luckily Bowdy was able to free his twin brother, but these incidents are common. Ikea recently recalled several dressers for the same problem that led to fatalities. If you know or care for seniors, you need to senior-proof their living spaces, too. Read the rest

Probably fake: "Terminally ill boy who asked for final Christmas wish dies in Santa's arms"

Sorry, apparently this shit is fake because 2016. Read the rest

300 Million Children Breathe Highly Toxic Air, reports UNICEF

“Almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines” UNICEF said today, in releasing a new report on how air pollution around the world affects our most vulnerable.

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Father builds DIY 'American Ninja Warrior' course for daughter in back yard

Lylah, who is five, can now begin training for "American Ninja Warrior" in earnest, thanks to the DIY ingenuity of her most excellent dad.

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'Voyage of Time,' Terrence Malick IMAX film with Brad Pitt narration, is an awesome cosmic meditation

You know what America needs right now? A little perspective.

For that, I recommend you head to your local IMAX theater and see Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience.” It's a psychedelic meditation on the history of the cosmos that's very kid-friendly, and a wonderful reminder of the big, big picture.

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'I renamed all my Pokemon whatever my 2 year old called them'

“For your mild amusement, I renamed all my Pokemon whatever my 2 year old called them,” says IMGUR user June1920. Sort of jealous they caught a Claws Parrot.

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Boy, 7, who donated his hair to child cancer patients is diagnosed with metastatic cancer

For two years, Vinny Desautels grew out his hair to donate to children with cancer who have lost their hair during treatment. The 7 year old Roseville, California boy was recently diagnosed with an unknown form of metastatic cancer, according to reports from his family and in local news.

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'She out! She out!' Video shows high school official choking 15 year old girl unconscious

An assistant principal at a South Carolina high school is under investigation after police say the man restrained a 15-year-old student in a chokehold, and kept her in a chokehold until she passed out. The Kingstree, SC police department is reported to be seeking assault and battery charges against the man.

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An interview with Beverly Cleary about her inspiring books for children

[Beverly Cleary is 100 years old today. Here's an entry I posted in 2006 about an NPR interview with the great children's book author.--Mark]

I'm over a month behind in listening to podcasts, so I just got around to listening to this NPR interview with Beverly Cleary. She just turned 90, and her mental acuity is better than most people half her age.

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Watch these tough little kids duke it out in the ring!

This is footage from the 45th annual Junior Boxing Program Championships, held in 1964. From History's Playlist:

The Naval Junior Boxing Program was founded in 1919 by Spike Webb, and was made available to the children of naval Officers and cadets stationed in Annapolis, MD. Children ranging in age from 5 through 11 and weighing 30 to 100 pounds were allowed to enter the ring and fight during these tournaments... This youth boxing club was meant to teach the children sportsmanship and how to have a strong body and mind under pressure.

(via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Guns Don't Kill People, Toddlers Do

This year in America, people are being shot by toddlers on a weekly basis. Check out this infographic on 2015 U.S. shooting stats, from the Washington Post's grim data-crunchers.

From The Washington Post's Wonkblog:

This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: a little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I've found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

Gun law reform now.

[HT: Kashana Cauley]

A young NRA member, gets her photo with a non-toy rifle at an NRA convention [REUTERS]

A man shows a boy how to sight down an electronic rifle at an NRA meeting. [Reuters]

A young girl with a working handgun at an NRA convention. [REUTERS]

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Boy, 11, asks girl, 8, to see her puppies. She declines. He shoots and kills her.

Authorities in Tennessee say an 11-year-old boy has been detained on first-degree murder charges after shooting and killing an 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun because she would not show him her pet puppies.

The gun belonged to the boy's father. The two kids went to the same school.

Neighbors interviewed by local news reporters identified the victim as Maykayla Dyer.

"Wanting to see a puppy, the little girl laughed and told him no... and that was it," said neighbor Chasity Arwood.

"Watching the Tennessee football game, heard the bang," Arwood said. "And then everybody screaming that he shot her baby girl."

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An opera for sleep-deprived parents

For anyone who has raised children: sing along, you know the words. Read the rest

Adorable kid can't blow out birthday candle. Dad steps in with a clever hack.

“Our son was having some trouble blowing out his birthday candle,” explains Ashleigh Williamson of her adorable two-year-old son. Read the rest

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