Ni Hao, readers (that means “Hello, readers” in Mandarin). No, I’m not a native Mandarin speaker, but I learned the phrase after stumbling on a new television show scheduled to debut on Nick Jr. next week. The show, Ni Hao, Kai Lan, is a “play along, think-along series that weaves together Chinese language and culture, preschool-relatable stories, and interactivity” with Kai-lan as the animated protagonist.
The show is Dora the Exporer-esque, only instead of weaving in Spanish language, viewers will pick up some basics of Mandarin. This program will go a step further than Dora, however, in that it will weave in more cultural themes. From the show’s website:
Ni Hao, Kai-lan is the next generation of preschool television programming that introduces the psychology of biculturalism. If Dora and Diego popularized bilingualism, Kai-lan will weave together being bilingual and bicultural. Ni Hao, Kai-lan reinforces the idea that being bicultural and bilingual is being American. The show will familiarize the viewing audience with elements of Chinese and Chinese American cultures to promote multicultural understanding in the next generation and goes beyond featuring “culture” as only ethnic food and festivals. Instead, it celebrates growing up in an intergenerational family, having friends from diverse backgrounds, and “habits of the heart” that are Chinese American.
I’m particularly fond of the line: being bicultural and bilingual is being American. What an positive message to be sending out to young children, especially considering the growth of multicultural families in the United States. Learn more at Nick Jr., or catch the show’s premier on February 7th.