A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
The podcast is accompanied by a graphic novel published by Soaring Penguin Press. The podcast's website provides a link to a free downloadable PDF copy of the book. Teacher guides and other interactive learning activities are available on the website. While the story easily lends itself to language arts teaching standards, the central idea behind the website materials and learning activities is the importance of kindness and empathy.
Kindness is the foundation for healthy and positive relationships. Kindness is essential to our mental health and resilience when we approach challenges. Kids have a role in making the world a better, smarter, kinder place. Empathy is also a central theme. Beyond kindness, other relevant topics surface through the story linking to media censorship and/or banning of access to specific funds of knowledge and ways of knowing like social media, library books, history, and curriculum.
Positive Role Models
Both main characters, Preen and Sav, showcase emotional growth as they learn what it means to be kind and a good friend. The two characters encounter situations where they learn to approach problems, listen to others, and ensure people feel appreciated and valued for their true selves. Through their learning and adventures, they fight for a world that values kindness, transparency, and true friendship.
Themes of inclusion and acceptance regardless of physical looks and abilities relate to the ideas of kindness within the story. In the accompanying graphic novel, the two main characters and several supporting characters have brown skin -- however, the topic is not something that directly comes up in the podcast version.
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Products & Purchases
Ads in each episode target parents with content that is safe for kid listeners. An option to skip ads is available when streaming through the podcast's website.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Rez is a futuristic sci-fi podcast from Gen-Z Media, great for tweens and teens. Psychologists and well-being consultants supported the show's development and its central theme around the importance of kindness by using research in social-emotional learning practices and child development. The story unfolds through the adventures of two main characters, Preen and Sav. They ultimately share their journey to understand the impact of kindness and empathy in society and relationships. While the podcast was developed as part of a larger project that includes a graphic novel and interactive website, it can also stand alone. The content is clean and filled with silly humor, making it appropriate for younger listeners. There's quite a bit of contextual understanding that requires strong critical thinking skills. Without visuals, it could be a challenge for younger kids to comprehend the more significant themes behind the story.
Is It Any Good?
The podcast is a standout for 9- to 11-year-olds who enjoy the futuristic sci-fi genre and/or graphic novels. The Rez was created specifically for this age range by taking into account humor, messaging, and comprehension based on child development and research surrounding the brain and learning at these ages. It's a great self-selected listen and could be great for guided listening or reading within a classroom. The story and its messaging lend themselves to writing, speaking, and listening learning standards or can easily be a springboard for social-emotional lessons. Several episodes pose questions about what kindness means and its importance in people's actions and relationships. Beyond kindness, other relevant topics surface through the story linking to media censorship and/or the banning of access to specific funds of knowledge and ways of knowing such as social media, library books, history, and curriculum.
The show's release was accompanied by a graphic novel and the launch of the website, where kids can have the opportunity to leave messages for characters and play games. Having both the book (currently free to download through a link on the website) and the podcast versions of the same story increases access for diverse and varied learners.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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