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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Xavier Riddle and the Secret Movie: I Am Madam President introduces viewers to the contributions of four women -- Sally Ride, Junko Tabei, Amelia Earhart, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee -- to history in their respective fields. Like its parent TV show and the original book series Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer, the movie follows three children who travel through time to tag along with the historical figures as they attempt to break records and gender barriers. Each encounter teaches viewers the importance of character strengths like perseverance and hard work, relating them directly to the subjects' various accomplishments and to Yadina's goal of becoming the first female president of the United States. This story presents the subjects' biographical information in very general terms -- typically with little context of specifics like time period, for instance -- which makes it more appropriate for younger kids and allows viewers to focus on the affirming message that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
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What's the story?
In XAVIER RIDDLE AND THE SECRET MOVIE: I AM MADAM PRESIDENT, Yadina (voiced by Zoe Hatz) decides to add a female president to a museum exhibit, but she's shocked to discover that there hasn't been one in all of American history. This inspires her to travel through time with her brother, Xavier (Aidan Vissers), and their friend Brad (Wyatt White) to meet several women and learn about how they became the first to accomplish something notable in history. As they tag along with the likes of Amelia Earhart (Markeda McKay) and Sally Ride (Kiaha Peters), Yadina, Xavier, and Brad discover that breaking barriers and setting new standards takes planning, discipline, and a lot of hard work.
Is it any good?
Like the TV series, this movie aims to make history engaging by introducing kids to the contributions of certain notable people, and in that sense it accomplishes its goal. Some of the figures Xavier, Yadina, and Brad meet in I Am Madam President may be familiar names to viewers, but even if that is the case, the story's format -- which has the audience meet them before their historical success -- gives a somewhat unique perspective on the women's efforts to change history in their respective ways.
What stand out above everything else in this story are the prominent messages about individual potential and the reminders of character strengths that facilitate success. Yadina collects bits of wisdom from each young woman she meets and sees firsthand how they help her new friends meet their life goals. These positive reminders of the value of perseverance, hard work, preparation, and methodical and unyielding effort are worthwhile for any kid but have particular meaning for girls because of the story's focus on female contributions in history.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how effectively Xavier Riddle and the Secret Movie: I Am Madam President teaches history. What specifically did you learn about the women in the story? Do their stories leave you with questions about them or their achievements?
Character strengths like perseverance, determination, courage, and industriousness stand out in these women's stories. Which one most inspires you and why? How do you see these strengths at work in how these women changed history?
What are some of your kids' life goals? Does being successful have to mean your accomplishments garner fame? How can a person's everyday actions make them a success?
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