Sesame Street, celebs and learning to read….

Muppets, meet Michelle Obama. The First Lady dropped by the "Sesame Street" studios in Astoria, New York Tuesday and showed off her green thumb by helping Elmo plant a garden. <br><bR> "I never thought I'd be on Sesame Street with Elmo and Big Bird, and I was thrilled," Obama said later that day at the US Mission to the UN. "I'm still thrilled. I'm on a high." <br><br> "I think it's probably the best thing I've done so far in the White House," she added.

Over the years, a number of  performers, actors, musicians have visited Sesame Street, the traditionally trusted children’s program of choice ,  low these many years.  Sesame Street is an educational television program designed for preschoolers which combines education and entertainment in children’s television shows. As one of the longest running  shows in television history,  4100 episodes of the show have been produced in 39 seasons. It premiered on November 10, 1969 on the National Educational Television network, and later , the Public Broadcasting Service.

Sesame Street has earned the distinction of being

one of the world’s foremost and most highly regarded educators of young children.  The original series has been televised in 120 countries, and more than 20 international versions have been produced. In its long history, Sesame Street has received more Emmy Awards than any other program, and has captured the allegiance, esteem, and affections of millions of viewers worldwide.

As  Sesame Street  celebrates its 40th anniversary on November 10,  Mrs. Michelle Obama will be visiting the street to plant a garden with Elmo.  The street in which many have grown up on.

“I never thought I’d be on Sesame Street with Elmo and Big Bird, and I was thrilled,” Obama said later that day at the US Mission to the UN. “I’m still thrilled. I’m on a high.”
“I think it’s probably the best thing I’ve done so far in the White House,” she added.

What a great quote! I so love  what Mrs. Obama said.  Of course,  I began think of the many other  performers who have  made guest appearances on Sesame Street.  Appearances which promote  literacy and math skills to our youth.

It could be suggested that some performers  are furthering their own  public personas of  personal interests by adapting their signature song .  And yes, many young children, ages 3-6 years old really are not aware of  who these personalities are. However,   a  diverse  selection of talented people from the world of music, performance, activism etc.  do create more entertaining  show for children.  As does the  racial balance between the guests.  I can  fondly remember back to my childhood, watching Buffy Sainte Marie ( whom I met at an American Library Association Conference in 2001) counting with Cookie  Monster.  She was one of the first female  native ‘celebs’ who appeared on national television.   Over the years various  guests  from Johnny  Cash to Larry King,  from Tina Fey to Ray Charles,  from Joe Torre to the Harlem Globetrotters.  Thus,  all guests are presenting positive multicultural  role models for  the youth audience.

I think that Mrs. Obama is doing much of what Buffy Sainte Marie did in the early 70s, helping to educate  the next generation as well as provide a positive  model of success.