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EDUCATION REPORT – September 12, 2002: 'Liberty’s Kids' Television Show - 2002-09-11

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

A new public television program is helping American children learn how their nation began. The Public Broadcasting Service is offering forty half-hour programs about early American history. Public television stations in the United States are showing the program, called “Liberty’s Kids.” The stories tell about the period from seventeen-seventy-three to seventeen-eighty-nine. That is when thirteen American colonies demanded and won independence from Britain.

Artists drew the characters that appear in the animated cartoon program. Live actors and famous Americans speak the words. For example, former television reporter Walter Cronkite reads the part of inventor and independence activist Benjamin Franklin. Franklin operated the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper.

“Liberty’s Kids” is about four young people who observe historic events. One character is Sarah Phillips, a young British girl. She is loyal to England. Another character is James Hiller. He helps Benjamin Franklin print his newspaper. James wants America to be independent.

The two teenagers try to report the events taking place for the newspaper. They compete to tell their sides of the story and get the truth to people all across America. Sarah and James share the action with two other young people. They are a former slave who bought his freedom and an eight-year-old boy who has no parents.

The four young people have exciting experiences as they live through revolutionary events. For example, one program tells about the Boston Tea Party. This took place in Boston Harbor in Massachusetts in seventeen-seventy-three. Independence fighters dressed as Indians invaded British ships carrying tea and threw the tea into the ocean. They were protesting British taxes on tea for the colonies. Sarah gets angry at the rebellious colonists. But James supports them.

Another program tells about the acceptance of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in seventeen-seventy-six. This document declared America’s freedom from Britain.

Historians studied the programs to make sure they contain correct information. American educators hope “Liberty’s Kids” will teach children more about the time when their nation was established.

This VOA Special English Education report was written by Jerilyn Watson.