Arts and Entertainment

‘Molly of Denali’: PBS kids show will have an Alaska Native lead character

An animated television series coming to PBS Kids next summer will be the first nationally distributed children's show to feature an Alaska Native lead character, according to a statement from PBS on Wednesday.

The new series "Molly of Denali" is an "action-adventure comedy that follows the adventures of feisty and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl," the release says.

In the show, Molly helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in a fictional Alaska village.

The show is for kids ages 4 to 8. The series will follow Molly, her dog Suki, and Molly's friends on their Alaska adventures. Each show will feature two 11-minutes stories interspersed with real footage of Alaska, according to the release.

WGBH Boston is producing the series, alongside creative producer Princess Daazhraii Johnson, who is Neets'aii Gwich'in and a resident of Fairbanks.

The series "showcases values paramount to all Alaskan Native cultures. These values will be woven into each storyline and provide important learning moments," Johnson said in the release.

"I'm especially excited that Alaska Native children will get to see themselves in Molly, who's such an inspiring role model for all kids. The project's Alaska Native advisers worked hard to ensure that our children will get to see our beautiful cultures in a respectful light," Johnson said.


Adeline Peter Raboff, Dewey Kk'ołeyo Hoffman, Luke Titus and Rochelle Adams are listed as an Alaska Native working group for the show; Adeline Peter Raboff, Lance X'unei Twitchell, Lorraine David and Marie Meade are language advisers. Nell Duke is an informational text adviser.

It was not immediately clear who would be voicing Molly. The show will feature Alaska Native scriptwriters, and Alaska Native voice talent in "key roles," including the lead character, the release says.

The show is being co-produced by Atomic Cartoons. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS Ready to Learn Initiative are developing the show with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the release says.

"Molly of Denali" will debut nationwide in the summer of 2019 on PBS stations, the PBS Kids channel and PBS Kids digital platforms.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.