Portland-based A Kids Company About to partner with Jim Henson Co. in TV venture

A man holds a copy of a book titled a kids book about racism

Jelani Memory says he founded his Portland publishing company, A Kids Book About, out of a "desire to make more challenging, empowering, important stories for kids just like mine."Courtesy of A Kids Book About


A Kids Company About, the Portland children’s book publisher, is partnering with The Jim Henson Co. to create a TV show for kids about hard topics.

The Portland company has over 80 children’s book titles on topics including systemic racism, body image, climate change and incarceration. The company aims to cover similar topics with the new TV series, titled “A Kids Show About,” for kids between the ages of 6 and 11. It will feature live-action segments, animation and puppetry vignettes.

It’s a major new undertaking for the A Kids Company About, which was known as A Kids Book About until it branched out into podcasts and other media.

“We started out in 2015 with a handful of books and have grown the collection quite a bit since then,” said Jelani Memory, the company’s CEO. “It didn’t take long for folks from major studios (and) production companies to reach out and want to work with us.”

The Jim Henson Co. is best known for its creation of Kermit the Frog and other Muppet characters.

The partnership with The Jim Henson Co. came about because they wanted to emulate the iconography of memorable characters created by the Los Angeles based company, Memory said.

The company is perhaps best known for its role in Sesame Street, the long-running kids show. But, Memory said his company was drawn to other memorable Henson characters, including those from children’s comedy “Fraggle Rock” and the darker fantasy films “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.”

“What I’m most excited about is ‘Can we create that next iconic kids show that empowers a generation of kids?’ so that when they become adults, they’re more thoughtful, they’re more empathetic and more inclusive,” Memory said.

The show will be produced at the Jim Henson Co. studios in Los Angeles by Henson CEO Lisa Henson and Executive Producer Halle Stanford. Memory and Executive Producer Dan Ilani of A Kids Company About will also be at the forefront of the project.

The episodes will be 20 to 30 minutes long, depending on the streaming service that purchases the show.

-- Adriana Gutierrez / AGutierrez@oregonian.com