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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Middle School Moguls is a four-part animated miniseries about students who attend an entrepreneurial school where they work toward business success in fields that reflect their personal passions. The main characters are four tween girls with vastly different backgrounds, abilities, and interests who forge strong friendships and always help and support one another's efforts. The series strives to promote inclusion in small but notable ways, such as a student with same-sex parents, a teacher who's non-binary, and a tween who designs fashion for body types that challenge runway industry norms. Kids who watch will see the characters learn to weather failure on their way to success, turning problems into opportunities and creating solutions for what stands in their way. The show's recurring messages about dreaming big and working hard will stay with viewers long after the story ends.
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What's the story?
MIDDLE SCHOOL MOGULS follows four newcomers to Mogul Academy, a unique school that caters to budding young entrepreneurs in fields like fashion, engineering, and food science. The story first introduces Val (voiced by Laurie Hernandez), an aspiring soccer star who invents a new kind of training shoe to improve her skills on the field. This earns her a spot at Mogul Academy, where she meets new friends with dreams as big as hers. There's Winnie (Daniella Perkins), a talented chef; Celeste (Jade Pettyjohn), a crafty techie with all kinds of gadget ideas; and Yuna (Haley Tju), a fashionista whose passion is creating clothing for all shapes and sizes. Together these budding entrepreneurs hope to realize their dreams of owning successful product lines of their own making.
Is it any good?
This four-part series inspires kids -- and girls in particular -- to embrace their passions and follow their dreams, just as they see the main characters do. Granted, Mogul Academy itself exists only in a CGI fantasy world (which is a real bummer, since the place seems AMAZING), but the core values of thinking big and working hard, which its instructors instill in the students, can translate to any situation. What's more, the show encourages the idea that problems aren't failures but opportunities for success, a theme that plays out over and over again in the students' various ups and downs as they get settled in school and develop their brands.
Besides its prominent inspirational messages, Middle School Moguls also promotes diversity and inclusivity with characters and content that challenge stereotypes about gender, race, and body image. There's a female student who's a tech whiz, a tween with two mothers, a non-binary teacher, and a budding designer who draws inspiration from her own atypical physique to create fashion choices for body types that run the gamut. With such attention paid to details like these, Middle School Moguls impresses in the messages it sends to young viewers about being unique, challenging stereotypes, and following your dreams.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about success. How would you define being successful? Is it a different definition for each person? If so, to what degree should we compare ourselves to others? In what ways do the characters find success in the story?
What people or circumstances in this story challenge stereotypes? Is the resulting message a positive one? How does challenging stereotypes differ from challenging authority? What aspects of these characters' lives reflect your own experiences?
What examples of teamwork and perseverance do you see in Middle School Moguls ? Do the characters ever get discouraged when they fail? Can you relate to that feeling? Why does it take courage to try again?
- Premiere date: September 8, 2019
- Cast: Laurie Hernandez, Jade Pettyjohn, Daniella Perkins
- Network: Nickelodeon
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Character strengths: Perseverance
- TV rating: TV-Y7
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: November 18, 2019
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