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Street Smarts

Children's media today has a polish that few could have imagined 30 years ago. Does it have greater power, too?

click to enlarge Charles Holstein

Charles Holstein of Broomfield is a CU groundskeeper.

How big a place did reading have in your childhood? I can't remember not knowing how to read. My mom was a schoolteacher, my dad was an avid reader. I had library cards at four different libraries.

Who, as a kid, was your favorite author? I liked John Bellairs, who wrote horror stories that were illustrated by Edward Gorey. I also read a lot of science fiction fantasy.

Has children's TV changed for better or for worse? Nowadays, kids' shows tend to make a nod to the adults watching them — a meta reference that goes over the kids' heads but amuses the parents.

Is it an advantage for contemporary kids to be mass consumers of media? As a kid, I longed for a magic book that would let me look up anything in the world. The smartphone in my pocket does that now. But there was something really neat about going to the library and digging through book after book to find something out.

click to enlarge Lenora Degen

Lenora Degen of Patty Jewett is a graphic designer and yoga teacher.

What role did reading have in your childhood? I grew up hanging out with books. My mom was a librarian.

Has children's TV changed over the years? Kid shows today have more diversity: more life lessons, accepting different people, working out problems.

Is it an advantage for kids today to have unlimited access to media? It's a disadvantage because so much of the so-called information they get isn't necessarily true. It shapes how they think, and they have to spend years trying to un-think it in order to be able to think for themselves.

click to enlarge Sarah Speakes

Sarah Speakes of the Peterson area is a full-time mom.

How big a deal was reading in your childhood? I was encouraged to read at home and at school. I loved reading. It allowed me to go to places different from where I was.

Did you watch Reading Rainbow as a kid? I loved LeVar Burton and how kids interacted with the program by reading books. I can still sing the show's theme song.

What children's show captures your own kids' imagination? Little Einsteins — a musical program where they blast off in spaceships and do fun things.

Is it an advantage or disadvantage for kids to be mass consumers of media? It's important for kids to be imaginative, to play and have physical activity, but they need access to gadgets and technology in order to be prepared for their generation.

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