Caregivers and their children have always shared the rich experience of story time – whether it was around campfires, at libraries or in kids’ bedrooms. Now they have the opportunity to connect over timeless and beautifully narrated stories with Circle Round, a new storytelling podcast for youngsters ages 3-10 from WBUR, Boston’s NPR station.
Circle Round features carefully-selected folktales from around the world with an eye towards inclusivity. Stories are adapted for today’s families into 5- to 20-minute diverse episodes that delve into important and accessible topics such as kindness, persistence and generosity. A sneak-preview first episode starring Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame) is available now. The full podcast series will launch this fall with weekly episodes.
“Like so many parents, I’m always trying to find alternatives to screen time,” said Jessica Alpert, Managing Producer for program development at WBUR who’s overseeing the podcast. “And as we know, nothing grabs a child’s attention like a really great story — especially one you can listen to anywhere, anytime, like in a podcast. We’re hoping that Circle Round fills a void for parents while at the same time provides a thrilling experience for their kids.”
Circle Round casts some of today’s most exciting theater, film and TV talent to bring the story characters to life; original music and soundscaping draw the audience in further. The podcast will provide a diversity of storytelling experiences and a broad array of global and cultural perspectives. Each episode ends with prompts for discussion, giving children and their caregivers plenty of food for thought long after the story ends.
The podcast is being produced by WBUR in conjunction with Sheir & Shim founders Rebecca Sheir and Eric Shimelonis. Narrator Rebecca Sheir, a seasoned public radio host and reporter previously worked for NPR, Slate, WAMU, and WBUR’s Here & Now. She guides the listener through each story as Eric Shimelonis, an award-winning composer, creates the accompanying soundtrack and production. He has created music and sound design for more than 300 plays, films and documentaries and served as composer for podcasts and radio features at Slate and WAMU. Casting for Circle Round will be done by film and television casting veteran, Amy Lippens, CSA.