Tuesday, Sept 13, 2016
Sonia Manzano has affected millions of parents and children since 1971 when she joined the cast of Sesame Street, where 44 years as “Maria” afforded her a unique look at how children’s television has evolved. She retired from the iconic children’s show last year as one of its most recognizable faces and a role model for generations of young girls.
Her involvement in the arts was inspired by teachers who encouraged her to audition for the High School of Performing Arts. She was accepted there and began her career as an actress. A scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University, and in her junior year, she went to New York to star in the original off-Broadway production of Godspell. Within a year, she joined the production of Sesame Street, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series. She helped write the story lines for Maria’s marriage and birth of Maria’s baby, played for a while by her real-life daughter Gabriela.
She has won 15 Emmy Awards for her writing on the show, was nominated twice for her acting and received this year’s Emmy for Lifetime Achievement. Other awards include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award, the Bronx Hall of Fame and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education.
Manzano is also an acclaimed author. Her first children’s book, No Dogs Allowed!, was published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in 2004 and has been turned into a children’s musical. Her second book, A Box Full of Kittens, was published in 2007. Her first young adult novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, was a Pura Belpre Honor. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is a memoir published by Scholastic in 2015, and Miracle on 133rd Street is a picture book published by Simon and Schuster in 2015.
This informative presentation from one of the most knowledgeable people in children’s television will include Manzano’s thoughts on the way children are taught cognitive skills, the impact of how children are depicted on television and how 9-11 affected children’s educational curriculum on Sesame Street.
Free and open to the public. RSVP is encouraged but not required.
Questions? Call (850) 484-1200
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