A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Kids can learn many lessons about respecting people and cultures, empathy, compassion, and communication. Social-emotional lessons clearly explained and morals and values are emphasized.
Great messages for the young listeners include showing empathy and kindness to others, inner strength, independence and respect. Strong examples of morals and values. Fairy tales are reimagined and stray away from the damsel in distress narrative, instead showcasing strong, independent characters that don't depend on gender roles or stereotypes. Some seemingly positive messages may be muddled. For example, after being abandoned in the forest (twice), Hansel & Gretel kill the witch and return home to their dysfunctional family where they buy a farm with gems stolen from the witch's house and live happily ever after. An unintended message is that money is more important than people.
Positive Role Models
Parents calmly and clearly communicate and explain lessons to kid characters who show strength and a sense of self while demonstrating empathy, communication, and compassion. Not all characters are relatable, and it may be hard for older kids to embrace. Characters in these reimagined fairytales break stereotypes and gender roles of those in more traditional tellings of well-known fairy tales. Many of the princesses and female characters are portrayed as strong and independent.
Story characters are accepting of others and don't follow stereotypical gender roles. Numerous examples of strong princesses from underrepresented backgrounds are introduced, including a Bolivian and South Asian princess, as well as a Muslim princess participating in her first fast for Ramadan. Different family structures are represented, like in the story of a single dad and an adoption experience (Ugly Duckling) as told in one episode. Names of main characters are diverse, allowing young listeners of all backgrounds to relate to the characters in the fairytales they love.
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Violence & Scariness
Common to fairy tales, some episodes tell darker stories that may be scary to young listeners. For example, Hansel and Gretel face near starvation, a father who cannot protect them from their cruel, unloving mother, and an evil witch who wants to shove them in a flaming oven before eating them.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bearily Bear Stories is a storytelling podcast that reimagines fairy tales with a modern twist. It turns the traditional stereotype of the helpless princesses on its head and instead offers characters that are independent problem solvers, impactful heroes, and strong both physically and mentally. Episodes have recurring themes of compassion and empathy. These lessons and morals can be felt through the open, honest and respectful communication child and adult characters have in many of the stories told. The podcast offers young listener more diverse and inclusive fairytales and characters. Stories include representations of different family dynamics (single parenting, adoption) and characters from different countries (Bolivia, India) and cultures. The retold stories also aim to use more diverse names for main characters that feel relatable to a wider range of listeners. As with most fairytales, some stories have darker themes and villainous characters that may scare some younger listeners. Adults may want to review episodes to make sure they're appropriate for their little ones.
Is It Any Good?
Miral Sattar's stories and reimagined fairytales aim to reflect kids of different backgrounds, experiences and families and the diverse world they live in. Bearily Bear Stories features retellings that shut down older fairytale stereotypes that paint female characters as damsels in distress and dependent on others. She's able to give these stories a more modern and realistic vision, while keeping the classic charm parents and kids love about these familiar fairytale stories.
The podcast models honest and respectful communication between kids and adults through interactions of characters, which can help caregivers navigate talking to their kids. This is a great listen for story time and also a nice wind down activity before bed time.
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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