NEW YORK – Curious World, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s ever-expanding subscription service for early learners and their families, has partnered with award-winning producers Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley (creators of Emmy-award winning Peg + Cat) on the newest addition to its collection of original short-form videos.
Meet Melia and Jo – smart, spunky five-year-old best friends with a passion for imagination and adventure. Inspired by two groundbreaking women – fearless pilot Amelia Earhart and iconic singer and entertainer Josephine Baker – Melia and Jo capture the spirit of creativity and inspire young viewers to tackle challenges by thinking outside the box.
In each episode, Melia, a tech-savvy inventor who loves collecting junk and reimagining and engineering it, and Jo, a high-energy, natural performer who can take any idea to the next level, meet in Melia’s backyard lab to create something cool and use that creation to make the world better. Highlighting Melia’s super science skills and Jo’s artistic endeavors, the series weaves together themes related to STEM and the Arts to model and celebrate the power of collaboration.
"We always love doing shows about strong girls and the power of friendship,” says Oxley. ”But the timing of this show makes those things really urgent! Melia and Jo shows how kids can use their brains, their hands, their guts to change the world.”
“HMH is grateful to be working with such talented folks on Melia and Jo, as we know Jennifer and Billy share Curious World’s goal to make quality kids’ programming that is both educational and lots of fun,” says CJ Kettler, EVP and Chief of Consumer Brands and Strategy, HMH. “Melia and Jo are a STEAM Dream Team, showing that when science and art come together, the results are innovative and groundbreaking. Their exuberance is contagious and will no doubt inspire kids to get creative in their own environments.”
“All the elements came together so well,” adds Aronson. “The upbeat jazz, the goofy language, the gorgeous animation. And the girls we cast are so charming and hilarious! They have an awesome rapport that makes the Melia and Jo friendship really sing.”
Launched in 2015, Curious World’s mobile platform provides over 1,200 pieces of engaging kids’ content tied to key learning areas – all housed within a safe, trusted digital environment. From iconic HMH characters like Curious George to new friends like Melia and Jo, Curious World curates the best kids’ content, including original IP offerings and licensed programming from leading children’s media production companies, as well as original games and celebrated children’s books that can be accessed by users anytime, anywhere on iPhone, iPad or AppleTV.
Oxley and Aronson’s last creation, beloved PBS Kids preschool show Peg + Cat, has received numerous honors, including Emmy awards across the categories of design, music, acting, writing and “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Program,” a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Kidscreen awards for “Best New Series,” “Best Animated Series” and much more.
About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom. HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.Leah.Riviere@hmhco.com