It may seem an odd list, a hodge-podge of products and moments and events, some of it personal to my family, but here is my top 12 kids’ media things about 2012.
12. Hunger Games: The Movie
11. Caine’s Arcade
2012 is the year I, along with the rest of the world, discovered a 9-year-old named Caine Monroy who built a cardboard arcade in his father’s auto parts store in California. The short film, as well as all of the cardboard creations that followed as a result of the Imagination Foundation, have been an endless source of inspiration to me.
10. Chloe and the Lion
There are a lot of picture books I love, but few that I think about when I’m not reading them. Chloe and the Lion will pop into my head from time to time, and every time that happens, I’ll watch the video with Mac Barnett and Adam Rex for a laugh as they argue about who’s most important to a picture book, the author or the illustrator. It’s the perfect meta-book.
Over the summer, the family and I spent a fantastic day in Pittsburgh visiting the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I was particularly interested in visiting the Children’s Museum to see their Makeshop space, where Olive happily camped out making fabric art and puppets. I wish we lived closer.
8. Binders Full of Women
OK, this may not seem like a kid’s media thing, but bear with me for a second. In 2012, I couldn’t pry my eyes away from endless election coverage online. On convention, debate, and election nights, I was in a perpetual state of refreshing my browser. When memes like Binders Full of Women and Mitt Romney firing Big Bird spread instantaneously, I couldn’t help but feel a shift in the world. My little kids are going to grow up in this world of instant news, opinions, and memes. What’s that going to be like?
2012 was a big Skylanders year for us. We got hooked on the video game, and Olive had a Skylanders birthday party. (I’m still pretty proud of our Wrecking Ball piñata and our Portal of Power birthday cake.) Now we’re ringing in the new year playing Skylanders Giants.
6. Mars Curiosity Rover
The Mars Curiosity Rover has been an endless source of fascination, and showing Olive pictures of the surface of Mars has started many great conversations. When NASA was misquoted about finding “something for the history books,” the speculation of what the rover discovered ignited so many possibilities.
5. Animal Food Fight
This isn’t a card game you’ve heard of. It’s one that Tim Goldman and I designed with Olive’s 1st grade class over the course of several game design sessions. The kids designed a game that blends the animal food chain beautifully with the math concepts they’re learning, and I’m so proud of them. I hope to make it for sale on the blog in the new year.
4. Summer Olympics
This was the first Olympics where Olive was old enough to watch and be interested in. In 2024, she expects to compete in Olympic swimming, diving, and bicycle racing.
3. Harry Potter
I know what you’re thinking. It was 2012! What does Harry Potter have to do with anything. Here again is something that Olive was just old enough for — between September and December she read every book, watched every movie, became obsessed with the Lego and other toys (Hermione’s wand was her favorite Christmas present), and went to the Harry Potter exhibition with me. For me, it was the opportunity to read and see them all through new eyes.
At last, Pixar gave us a girl lead, and Merida is awesome. This movie exceeded my wildest expectations, and gave us a love story so rarely seen before, between a girl and her mother. I’m going to watch it every Mother’s Day.
1. Zita the Spacegirl
Ben Hatke released Legends of Zita the Spacegirl this year, the follow-up to the graphic novel we love, Zita the Spacegirl. Our enjoyment of the book set into motion the events that led to my favorite moment of the year. Olive and I made her a Zita the Spacegirl costume to wear to NY Comic Con this year. Then I learned that Ben Hatke was going to be there signing books. When my little Zita met Zita’s creator, it was pure joy. Then Ben Hatke made a comic about that moment from his perspective, which makes me so happy every time I look at it.
I hope your 2012 was filled with great moments like these. What was your favorite thing about 2012?
Happy New Year!