Friday, November 3, 2023


well versed

In election years like 2023 where Presidential, Gubernatorial, Congressional and State Legislative candidates aren't on the ballot voter turnout tends to fluctuate around 15%. Yet, there are still important issues to be determined via the ballot box such as mayoral, city council, and school board elections and millage approvals. While local issues don't attract as much attention as national and state elections, they actually can have a more profound effect on the daily lives of the average voter. 

These elections determine the people who will make decisions such as the staffing levels of local police and firefighting departments, whether zoning will allow a controversial business activity to take place in a community or if a neighborhood school will remain open or be shuttered. Millages approved or denied in these elections determine if public transit will operate, the hours museums are open, and the quality of parks and recreations facilities and services among other things. Local elections matter!  

To combat voter apathy in future generations, iCivics, a non-profit founded by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to promote nonpartisan civic awareness with young Americans, and Nickelodeon, Paramount's entertainment brand for kids, have created WELL VERSED, animated music videos about civics for kids. WELL VERSED has eight videos aimed for an elementary school aged audience ( 6 - 11 years old ) and four meant for preschoolers ( 2 - 5 years old ). These videos can be viewed for FREE on the Nick Music YouTube channel and iCivics website

Now Republic Records has expended on these music videos by releasing an audio soundtrack of the songs from WELL VERSED. Click here to listen to original pop songs that teach kids about democracy from music services that include Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud and more.

Told from a kid point of view, Well Versed centers on an animated group of diverse friends who introduce and musically explain a range of civics topics and concepts. The voice cast for Well Versed features: Tickwanya Jones (LOL Surprise: The Movie) as Jade, a funny 14-year-old who is passionate about community engagement; Mykal-Michelle Harris (Raven's Home, Disney Junior’s Ariel) as Ava, Jade’s optimistic seven-year-old sister; Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf) as Max, Jade’s easy-going pal who is often uninformed about civics; Jamila Velazquez (West Side Story, Empire) as Carla, a popular and studious 12-year-old; and Jacob Pham (A Christmas Story at Ahmanson Theatre, Sesame Street) as Johnny, Ava’s high energy and chatty friend who is curious about everything.

The civic topics covered in Well Versed include: 

● “Functions of Government” – Jade explains the functions of government, such as keeping citizens safe and protecting their rights, to Max. 

 ● “It’s All Local” – Jade outlines the importance of local government and how the people in the community are the best local decision makers. 

● “A Part of Something” – At the park, Jade gets recognized frequently for her community activism, inspiring Ava and Johnny to learn about different ways kids can get involved. 

● “Our Voices” – Carla compares voting for a school class party to voting in the larger world, explaining the importance of making one’s voice heard and having a say. 

● “Differences, Disagreements, and Democracy” – When Jade and Carla argue about the school mascot, Max explains that disagreements should always be civil and based on evidence with a goal of compromise. 

● “Rules” – On their way to school, Ava explains to Johnny that rules exist so everyone can stay safe and well. 

● “Differences” – While eating at a diner, Johnny explains to Ava and Jade that everyone has different tastes, traditions and identities that make them special. 

● “Disagreements” – When Ava and Johnny have a disagreement about what game to play next, she learns to take a breath and calm down. 

● “Do Your Part” – Johnny explains to Ava why it’s important for kids to be a good friend and neighbor, and how all contributions are valuable, whether big or small.

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