Wikijunior/Kiki character

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  • This page is about creating a recurrent character for the Wikijunior project. For actual designs, see: Wikijunior/Kiki character/Designs
  • About Wikijunior:A while ago, the Beck Foundation approached the Wikimedia Foundation, inquiring about whether we would be able to use our resources to develop educational material for a younger audience. We responded that we would be interested in such a project, and that our materials can be adapted for children. A proposal was sent, and we received a small grant to develop the project (see October 16, 2004 board meeting). Thus was born Wikijunior. For more information see the project's page: Wikijunior here on meta and the actual project being developped here on wikibooks.

Hawaiian girl.[edit]

  • Oooh, yea I like that idea! -- Solitude 09:07, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • Me too. She should be a Hawaiian girl. This spelling is particlularly easy to remember. Theresa knott
      • Ever heard of Dora the Explorer? Ludraman - talk to me! 14:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
        • Dora is for preschoolers, and is a preschooler; this magazine is for "tweens", Kiki will be a tween/teen. Also, Dora is Hispanic. Granted, there is Lilo of Lilo and Stitch (www.liloandstitch.com), but as long as Kiki isn't too much of an outright non-conformist and/or short and pudgy, we'll be fine. We want to make sure she doesn't conform too much, so that we end up encouraging kids that's its great to be themselves. --user:zanimum
          • My point is that Dora is a girl who goes exploring with her audience for (semi) educational purposes. This is what our Kiki will be doing. I'm not a huge fan of the whole Kiki idea, though, as I think it works better for a younger audience, and might seem demeaning to tweens. Ludraman - talk to me! 18:58, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
            • Unlike Dora, Kiki wouldn't be throughout. That would require the thing to be a comic, which is way too intensive, and not good for information. She could appear occasionally just to deliver facts to the slighty younger part of the audience (that way we don't have educational materials where tigers don't talk), or we could have a say six page adventure, unlike Dora, the characters would have personality, the plot wouldn't be as predictable structured, and the "fourth wall" wouldn't be broken. Plus, we should still consider it as an alternative title, even if not a character. -- user:zanimum
              • Say, what if the main character is speaking animal (like monkeys, parrots, etc.) instead of girls? I think kids are more interested in animals than girls. 202.65.112.42 04:06, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
                • Well that was kinda my idea when I did the Wikijunior draft page layout a tiger for the big cat look, an alien for the solar sytem book. But some topics don't easily lends themselves to an obvious character like that. In those cases a girl might be very helpful. Also have one character appearing maybe once on every book/magazine will add branding to them. Children will easily see that these are all part of one series even though the topics may be wildly different. Theresa knott 13:10, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
                  • We certainly could have her interact with the big cats, aliens, bugs, in a natural but possibly even humorous ways (not in the Dr. Doolittle or Eliza Doolittle [The Wild Thornberrys] way). We'd never try and stress girl-power or anything to that end, as it would only irrate boys. She'd just be a curious girl-next-door type. She wouldn't be nerdy or geeky, or too over eager. She wouldn't be girly, but not toy-boyish. She'd just be a generally likeable peer. And she could have friends that appear occasionally, that she met over the Internet. There's infinite possibilities. Also, should we break this off the main page, as it's rather besides the point of the magazine name. Kiki could appear in a magazine of any name at all. -- user:zanimum

Race[edit]

  • Theresa knott suggested Kiki be Hawaiian. While I like the fact there aren't any political or social grudges from any region against Hawaii, so much as I know. However, Hawaiian are unusual to draw; they can't have general cartoon eyes, as that removes the Polynesian heritage evidenced in their faces. But you can't give them eyes that easily, as they'd likely turn out as Oriental eyes. Any thoughts? -- user:zanimum
    • Agree w/ Hawaiian. Fairly neutral, not often portrayed, and there is a good unbiased reason for it (Wikipedia -> Wikiwiki = Hawaiian for Fast-Fast). The actual drawing is but a minor detail.
      • Yeah, I agree. Hawaiian fits pefectly, but i wonder how hard we will have to stop stereotypes from happening (grass skirt?). But i defidently agree with Hawaiian. --Quadraxis 02:52, 1 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Species[edit]

  • I personaly think that an anthropomophic lizard/cat/alien/tiger/something not human, would be best. it would certainly appeal to me when i was a kid, more than a "boring" human. I personaly like the idea of a lizard, but maybe thats just me. The bellman 05:32, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • She might be a little out of place, the only "furry" in watching an Aztec reinactment, whatever. Maybe leave it up to the first artist to establish it. I'm going to do a "casting call" on various major cartooning and animation boards, for designers to submit work in general as illustration, and possible Kiki designs. -- user:zanimum
    • Also, it's not scientifically accurate to have talking animals. I would be in favor of an alien or computer/robot (foreign, accounts for NPOV, reasonably scientifically accurate)
  • How about erwin (the mac cube) from userfriendly The bellman 02:06, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • Could you point out a specific comic? And, if I know what you're talking about, I don't think many kids would know what a 1980s Apple Macintosh looked like. -- user:zanimum
    • Um... Erwin's an SGI O2. He hates Macs. 82.138.216.118 17:47, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Is Kiki age appropriate?[edit]

I have an intelligent 12-year old brother, and I am certain a Dora the Explorer-esque character or a talking animal would be extremely demeaning to smart kids of his age group. Why can't this project appeal to intelligent kids, as opposed to catering to the LCD? Andrevan 14:59, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

She's more Mary Jane than Dora. I wish Dora was never brought up. One is a procedural show, this is more The Wild Thornberries meets Indiana Jones. It's just every few pages she appears for a half page segment, total of five maybe. -- user:zanimum
If we're really aiming for a neutral-gender age 7-12 demographic, I think an exploring girl a la Eliza Thornberry or whoever you want to compare her to is not going to work - the concept is too patronizing and "kiddie." Andre (talk) 21:34, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
could i just add here that 7-12 is a massive demographic (a twelve year old is almost double that of a seven year old, and could often be in first year high school (in the aussie system at least)). IMHO we should be aiming for 9/10 year olds, while trying to make sure that we dont have anything so daggy that a 12 year old is gonna be completely turned off, or so high-fulutin' that a seven year old gets confused/bored. Also different cultures mature at different rates (i cite the movie city of god as a good a proof as any) The bellman 00:08, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Actually, the grant was for 8-11 year olds, but things got widened somewhere along the way. -- user:zanimum
Agreed, having a cartoon character makes it seem cheesy and tilts it toward the littler side of the scale (full disclosure, I'm 15). That said, if used in moderation it wouldn't be so bad. Perhaps use her for intros to each major section and the book itself. Overuse of Kiki will make the books seem kiddie.

If time and resources permit, selecting a few candidates and ask the real kids would be nice. I am still confused about the project's scope, but is this possibly or definitely international and multilingual publication? Tomos 11:00, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, this is definetly international and multilingual. It's just taking long to get off the runway than expected. -- user:zanimum
Actual children commenting: All of the kids here right now agree that it has to be someone smart, a smart character like "a scientist or a genius or a professor". (age 5,6,7,7,7,8,,11,12, and one 14 year old that says her vote shouldn't count) that's 8 kids that read all of this page, so they are kinda smart kids, one of them wanted to know what a demographic was, and there was some misunderstanding there, 2 of the kids thought it meant "the sample for the picture of the character" the others that knew said it was "what group of kids are supposed to read it" the kids are talking about what kind of scientist, seem to have reached the consensus that a good scientist would "know all different science stuff"... (so my personal thought is maybe she looks a little different in each segment, like with a microscope in one scene, test-tube in another, telescope as an astronomer, space suit for outer space , brushes and trowel for archaeology, etc.) (ok, none of the kids knew why a brush and trowel are for archaeology, they are reading over my shoulder.) Gonna let the kids get back to the computers...Pedant 19:58, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
So basically, they're fine with the general concept of having a smart cartoon character in the magazine?
I've got a slight revision to Kiki here, if you mind running this by them:
Kiki is a smart and curious, and in each issue, she asks some of the questions in the book to an "expert", who tells her more about the subject.
This change to her is so that she's smart, but she isn't a know-it-all, and with experts in it, we can maybe even get interviews with real experts on the topic. Imagine being able to interview Jane Goodall, and have her appear in a cartoon form? Anyway, enough excitement for me. I can maybe throw the Kiki concept past my Dad's younger art students, see if they mind her. Glad to hear the kids Pedant asked think she's okay. -- user:zanimum
or a cartoon hawking, or Lula, or Neil Armstrong or or... the mind boggles. The bellman 01:58, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You know, I bet we could even convince Hawking's people (I'm sure he's got agents and stuff) to let us include him as a character, and interview him for real. He's appeared on Star Trek: TNG, why not this Wikijunior project? And, NASA's always looking for free PR. Why not? We could even get interviews with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Lucio Gutiérrez about their jobs running Brazil and Ecuador, and have cartoon world leaders. -- user:zanimum
This is IMO a very good idea - a leap from demeaning talking animals to our hawaiian friend interviewing real people for the magazine - maybe the grown-ups will be taking a peek at this... Ludraman - talk to me! 23:15, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Maybe have her curiosity lead her to a possible answer of a question presented by the information on the same page. This answer could be based on a basic version of the scientific method - which while plausible is incorrect. A scientist (or a friend of similar age) can them point out a problem with her reasoning, which leads them to a better answer; all of this on the same page. A scientist could point out how "obvious" ideas in the past turned out to be wrong after reviewing new evidence. She should of course not be made fun of for making a mistake in her reasoning, but encouraged to be sceptical and to "throw away" ideas that are shown to be incorrect. I don't know if this is too difficult, or too dull an approach for 8-11 year olds. Instead of always rewriting, we could use some questions kids ask after reading drafts and their ideas of what the answers are. We could also leave some questions unanswered, but point them to possible sources or ways to find out with a safe experiment. — Jeandré, 2005-03-19t13:20z

I'm 15; a few years ago when I was in the target demographic, I would distrust books with cute annoying cartoon characters because they tend to cover up a lack of content. If it's a worthwhile source, and Kiki's humorous enough - not just bothersome "let's advertise to our mental picture of 'kids'" - then it might be acceptable. The cute character motif got trite by about 6. I know I'm above-average, but even considering that, don't expect a cartoon character to appeal to 10- and 11-year-olds just by being a cartoon character. Geoffrey 00:49, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Agreed completely. Andre (talk) 18:24, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, cartoons can be used to cover up a lack of content. But if handled right, they can illuminate concepts. I remember a grade 10 science text book. It had interviews with scientists that related to the study units. Frankly, you only saw them dorkily staring into the camera, as they told you about their jobs. I personally would have liked to seen what their work environment was like; hearing about the an observatory is one think, seeing it is another. This bridges that gap. We can show simplified visuals of the tools astronomers work with, and what they do. This isn't to say we can't also show photos, just that we have the option. -- user:zanimum
Same here. Think "Clippy" from Microsoft Office and you've got how children view cartoon characters in text books. BiomechZero
I, being 15 as well, disagree somewhat. Cartoon characters can be good if they are done well, and aren't demeaning to kids. The character can't be to much below them, and it helps if the character doesn't break the "fourth wall". I used to read the OWL Magazine, while i was 10-12, and the Mighty Mites (sciency cartoon characters that had a cartoon strip that helped kids learn about a topic, and would sometimes appear on other pages of the magazine) weren't demeaning, at least to me. In fact, they were the parts of the magazine i looked forewards the most to each month. I think that if it was well done, and had input from kids across the demographic, then it might be possible to create an interesting Kiki that won't be demeaning to kids. --Quadraxis 03:19, 1 Jul 2005 (UTC)


Ok, Lisa is here, she says she'll work on the project if I help her type, because as she says "I can think really fast but I can't type fast." I think she'll be one of the kids that decides to sign up for wikipedia accounts, after tha parents get a look at the project. Lisa is '10 and a half' and says Geoffrey is right, "just because it's a cartoon doesn't mean it can make kids interested in it" She says "kids are interested in everything! That's why we're kids!" ... "If she (Kiki) is really smart and really a kid, she would know what questions a kid would ask a scientist or expert" (I think that this might be a key point) "if a scientist is really good at teaching stuff, he knows how to explain it good enough for kids to understand, and she should be a kid that picks scientists who know how to teach, not just bla bla bla bla at kids"..."but not talk to us like we're dumb because we are kids" (she just mentioned that this seems like it's a project made by adults and that she doesn't think they will really listen to 'kids' ideas.) We're going to kick this idea around with the other kids, and write more later, when they are all here. For what it's worth, the students are at my house on most Tuesdays, as a big group, and on a few other days during the week depending on their school schedule. Only one of the children has ever attended school, so this might not be the most ideal focus group to depend on... more later this afternoon or evening Pedant 18:42, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, lets get some kids in here when we have some stuff, and let's "listen to 'kids' ideas"! I'll see if i can get my hands on some kids who would be interested. --Quadraxis 03:19, 1 Jul 2005 (UTC)

I don't think a single human character is the best idea- if they're a girl, then that might turn off male readers, while a boy is politically incorrect. I'd suggest: -have a boy and girl as recurring charactors or -have the charactor be of a nonexistant species (robot, ghost, AI, amorphous blob, etc.) Just my $0.02. -128

My two one-hundreths of a dollor, this might be a way to have someone/thing/s known to the readers lead in and out. 1 page of "Kiki" at the front as an intro to the topic (like, in one about astronomy she could say a little thing about distances or something?) and maybe an interviewer. the hardest part would be keeping personality strait, as this is writen in a wiki... (i am slow today, i just notaced Wiki is one letter off from Kiki!) --KinkoBlast 00:16, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I suggest making it so that the Kiki appears on the first and last page. The first page as a bit of an intro, and then on the last page as an interview with a real scientist, maybe?--Quadraxis 03:19, 1 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Tossing in my cents - Kiki needs character. I'm weel past the demografic here, but I remember usually detesting the explanatory cartoon characters, unless they were interesting in themselves - only example I can think off is that show with the school bus that would go everywhere. If Kiki were a toally dull, stereotypical character, I think everyone will be heartily sick of her quite soon. Some humor, personality, eccentricity, etc, might help alleviate that. Otherwise, the concept as it's been developes so far sounds great. 80.178.83.109 07:02, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Kiki is a nude model[edit]

The kids just showed me the [article about Alice Prin on the english wikipedia, which they found by typing Kiki into the search box. Apparently she was a 14 year old nude model, and famous for being photographed by Man Ray, etc...

I'm wondering if "Kiki" is an appropriate name after all? User:Pedant

Oh, that's not great. I liked the name Kiki, but we should maybe look for something else. -- user:zanimum

Umm... thats not good. At the very least, we have to delete that redirect. It would solve the problem of turning off boys though... Err, bad idea! --KinkoBlast 00:06, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Kiki is a totally normal girls name in Germany. But the word can also mean "fun stuff". So, this would be a great name. -- 80.171.72.182 12:43, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

How about Niki?[edit]

Is that an okay name for an Hawaiian girl?[1] [2] — Jeandré, 2005-03-19t13:20z

Anyone not in favour of "Niki", "Nikki", or "Nicki", say now or forever hold your peace. -- user:zanimum (I think those links refer to a Chinese woman, based on the last name. Really, anyone can be named anything in this day and age, so any name will go with any culture.)
The first two hits for Nikki on Wikipedia search are Nikki Nova and Nikki Park, two adult film actresses. Andre (talk) 23:19, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Gah! Is Niki okay then? They're going to have their own seperate encyclopedia, once we get the ball rolling. They'd know Nikki/Niki was fake, and not expect to find an encyclopedia article on her in the full adult Wikipedia. -- user:zanimum

We can dig up dirt on any name. notthe9 00:23, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

We can do it the other way, first search on Wikipedia for people good for children and whose name is not trademarked, and then we could choose a name for the girl. DrJones 09:46, 12 July 2005 (UTC)


I think that whatever catchy-sounding kids name you come up with will already be taken by a porn star (they seem to pick their names by much the same characteristics). I really don't think Kiki's that bad. The Wikijunior readers are not going to throw themselves into a life of sin because a cartoon character from one of their educational books has the same name as an early 19th-century woman who did nude modeling for artists. No name is clear if that sort of thing is too much. Kiki is a great name, with a good meaning to boot. We shouldn't let one silly little reference to Parisian subculture get us down. Besides, if Kiki does become a cultural icon, she'll have a wikipedia article too. :) I did some sketches a couple of months ago. I'll see if I can find them and get them scanned. Risk 19:50, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

In Spain, Kiki is one of the names of the vagina. That's why en:Kiki's Delivery Service was changed to Niki in the spanish version. So, I would say it is more than a silly reference to Parisian subculture. I was thinking more in Sarah (or Sally) as a more fitting name for the character. DrJones 10:05, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Ah, that's a bit more serious. We could choose one or two names and have every version (language/culture) of WikiJunior choose their prefered version. With our luck, Sarah will turn out to Russian for fecal matter. :) Risk 12:45, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
No, Sarah's not fecal matter, just a street name for cocaine. The name Sally's short for Salvation Army, which could be associated with poorness, the modern stereotype of the Hawaiian is that they're poor. Also, to Sally is to make a sudden attack on an enemy from a defended position. Alternatively, it's also "To make a quick and witty statement or quip", which is actually quite cool. I think Risk's right, it would be easier to just alternate between two names. Every dubbed show does it, even Sesame Street. I'd hate to have to name a real-life baby, must be so stressful. -- user:zanimum
How about Lola, Sandra, Reera, Ella or Faro.


What about 2 characters?[edit]

Probably going to cause more confusion than I would like, but if the idea of a Dora-type character being demeaning to older, smarter kids is a problem, how about one character aimed at pointing younger kids towards stuff of interest to them, and a slightly older kid pointing older/smarter kids at stuff which would be of use to them??? Laid out properly, that would prove to be a very useful little signposting tool for the readers. One of each sex, obviously, say Niki for the girl and something like Nolan for the boy. I will work on designs and post a couple up somewhere on here. Tmalmjursson 05:16, 15 January 2006 (UTC) Talk with me

I think this is a good idea. Perhaps they could be brother and sister.--172.214.209.185 19:23, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Kiki Designs[edit]

Wikijunior/Kiki character/Designs --SV Resolution 13:11, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Inanimate?[edit]

We could also do a talking Wiki logo, simply known as Wiki. Simple, easy name, gender-neutral, etc. Scienceman123 23:30 3 March 2006 UTC