Meeting the Need for Diversity in Content
Publishing giant Scholastic has released the findings of its biannual survey, the Kids & Family Reading Report*, which explores family attitudes and behaviors around reading. One of the key findings is the emphasis placed on diversity by both kids and parents.
When it comes to parents, 73% of them define diversity in books as “people and experiences different than those of my child,” while 68% say it includes “various cultures, customs or religions,” 51% cite “differently-abled people” (physical and/or emotional) and 47% say it includes “people of color.”
The desire for diversity is broad, but is especially true for Hispanic and African-American parents, who are more likely to seek out ethnically diverse storylines and characters.
One of the reasons Splashworks is so passionately committed to the Hearts For Hearts Girls brand is that it celebrates diversity. It has deliberately created—through its dolls and their digital content—characters from vastly different parts of the world, including Ethiopia, India, Laos, Mexico, Belarus, Nepal, and more—as well as girls from the U.S. that come from Native American and bi-racial backgrounds.
The brand’s mission is to “change the world, one heart at a time” by encouraging girls to compare and contrast their own lives with the lives of girls in other cultures. And since $1 of a doll’s purchase price is donated to programs that aid children (through charitable partner, World Vision), doll owners are actually making a difference in the real world.
Another key finding from the Scholastic report is that characters who are “smart, brave or strong” or who “face a challenge and overcome it” are the most popular among kids and parents.
Hearts For Hearts Girls goes beyond beautiful dolls to include rich storytelling about each character. All four of the dolls launched in 2016 have year-long, first-person diaries recounting the challenges each girl faces in her family, community, and culture—and how her courage, compassion, creativity and determination help her triumph against these obstacles.
What’s also true is that, today, successful products are a triumvirate of written, digital, and physical content. So when Splashworks requested the license to create a mobile app for Hearts For Hearts Girls, we saw how the brand’s storytelling could be increased through interactivity. Soon, girls will be able to meet and help the HFHG characters overcome their challenges instead of just reading about them. And, since we’re also partnering with World Vision, players will have the chance to impact real lives through IAPs.
It only makes sense that parents and kids who long for diversity in reading are looking for the same qualities in games. We think they’ve been woefully underserved—and we believe our HFHG app will help change that.