Ed Jenkins, creator of hit kids show Lalo’s Lunchbox, has launched a new children’s podcast series in partnership with GBH Kids, PBS Kids, and PRX.
The eight-episode serial fiction podcast, titled Keyshawn Solves It, launched 29 May and explores the story of a 10-year-old African-American boy on a mission to discover the mystery behind the missing bikes in his neighbourhood in North Minneapolis before his community’s celebration of Juneteenth.
Jenkins is the writer, director, and concept creator of the series and has developed community partnerships in North Minneapolis in order to engage children in that community with the “educational values of the podcast”. Jenkins also serves as the co-executive producer of the show, alongside GBH Kids creative director and creator of animated series WordGirl and Hey Monie! Dorothea Gillim.
“The podcast story is set during the week leading up to Juneteenth so that the listeners can gain a deeper understanding of this historical day in African American history,” said Jenkins. “This podcast invites families to reflect on what Juneteenth means to them and their communities through Keyshawn’s story.”
The series is produced by GBH Kids which is behind a number of award-winning children’s programs for PBS Kids, as well as companion podcasts for its hit shows including Pinkalicious & Peterrific, The Arthur Podcast, and Molly of Denali. PRX and PBS Kids will distribute the show with funding from Black Public Media.
“GBH Kids is dedicated to telling stories that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of our young audiences and their caregivers,” said Gillim. “Keyshawn Solves It uses the power of audio storytelling to engage kids in a compelling mystery, while also celebrating Juneteenth, its origins, and important lessons about courage, responsibility, and resilience.”
Children’s podcasts are becoming increasingly popular for families, and are being used as an educational tool for many. Immediate Media’s head of podcasts Ben Youatt told PodPod in a previous episode of the podcast that he’d like to see the company do more to explore podcasts in the children’s audio space with some tying into their magazines and heritage brands like History Revealed.
“Audiences who don't want the heavy academia that comes with a lot of history, they just want the stories and the emotion and the characters that are already half in play, could easily lend themselves to children's audio,” said Youatt. “And that's something that I want to experiment with, not necessarily for one specific brand, but as a wider attempt into the space.”