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Jill Biden, Laura Bush help unveil Nickelodeon short series to teach kids civics

‘Well Versed’ brings the ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ vibes for a new generation.

The new animated short series "Well Versed" uses songs to teach kids about democracy.Nickelodeon

The goal of Nickelodeon’s “Well Versed,” a new animated short series set to launch Nov. 1, is to get kids to learn about civics through song. Sound familiar?

Remixing the “Schoolhouse Rock” approach for Gen Alpha, the collection of 12 musical shorts was unveiled during a National Civics Day event in Philadelphia on Friday, organized by Nickelodeon and ATTN. First lady Jill Biden attended the festivities to help announce the launch, while former first lady Laura Bush appeared in a video address to share her support for the initiative.

Each music video covers an aspect of American democracy — from the Bill of Rights to the three branches of government — from a kid’s perspective, using a curriculum developed by iCivics, a nonprofit civic education organization that supports students, parents, and teachers.


A scene from Nickelodeon's new animated short series "Well Versed."Nickelodeon

In a video introduction for the series, Biden praised “Well Versed” for using “music, imagination, creativity, and most of all, fun,” to help kids learn more about these often complicated topics.

“Democracy only works when all of us get involved and stay involved,” Biden said in the video. “So get ready to jump in, raise your hand, and let your voice be heard.”

The voice cast for “Well Versed” includes “LOL Surprise: The Movie” star Tickwanya Jones, “Raven’s Home” actress Mykal-Michelle Harris, “Teen Wolf” actor Michael Johnston, “Empire” actress Jamila Velazquez, and “Sesame Street” alum Jacob Pham.

Starting Nov. 1, “Well Versed” will debut across Nickelodeon channels and platforms, including its app, website, YouTube page, and Pluto channels, and will also be available to stream on Paramount+. The “Well Versed Official Soundtrack” album featuring songs from the series will also launch on music streaming platforms Nov. 3.

“The animated videos debuting here today will help young Americans understand how our government works and the importance of our democratic liberties,” Bush said in her video address on Friday. “Each of us has the duty to be informed, engaged citizens, so today I ask you to join us in this important work. The future of our country depends on it.”


Matt Juul can be reached at matthew.juul@globe.com.