Amy Jussel – Digital Dogs Media Literacy Books – The Secret of the Vanishing Bones: Tracking the Data Trail – 440

By Steven Miletto

Teaching Learning Leading K12 provides resources for classroom teachers and school-based administrators.

Amy Jussel – Digital Dogs Media Literacy Books – The Secret of the Vanishing Bones: Tracking the Data Trail. This is episode 440 of Teaching Learning Leading K12, an audio podcast. 

Amy Jussel, the founder of Shaping Youth, has authored a first of its kind children’s book series building on her national media literacy education expertise to embed digital savvy into K-5 storytelling.

 With screen time doubled via online learning, now more than ever critical thinking skills specific to media and devices are a necessity to help kids navigate the ever-changing influences of the digital landscape.  The first book in the series, “The Secret of the Vanishing Bones: Tracking the Data Trail” centers around data privacy as a playful pack of pups sleuth, sniff around and dig deeper into questions about media messages and the technology being used. Readers build core inquiry habits and develop digital detective skills while solving the mystery.

Unlike any other in the “kid lit” genre, each book embeds both digital and media literacy into the storyline, so kids develop the ability to detect, discern and reflect on the media coming their way, instilling healthy, habit-forming questioning of all content. Who made this and why? What does this want me to think about? Why does this site know what I like already? Through subtle, seamless storytelling kids pick up life skills and tech tips, raising awareness of media and influences online and off.

“I strongly feel media literacy should be taught in every classroom as early as kindergarten, but we can’t wait around for that legislation,” Jussel said, “…informal learning through stories, activities and hands-on fun gets us there faster. Whether it’s delivered by parents, educators, siblings or a read aloud group, kids need these inquiry skills, yesterday.”

Amy spent over 20+ years as a writer/producer in print, broadcast and film, (e.g. cable, travel documentaries for Reader’s Digest/Sunset Films, etc.) She began in television news writing for the ABC affiliate in Honolulu (KITV), wrote/produced a public affairs radio show at KCSB, Santa Barbara (Women’s Radio Forum), freelanced for international media magazines & print pubs (inc. Condé Nast’s Mademoiselle/guest editor program) and shifted into advertising to become an award-winning copywriter and creative director. She opened her own business, Copy/Concepts in 1984.

Amy Jussel was honored to represent the United States as one of the chosen delegates for Women Leaders for the World in 2007, through the Global Women’s Leadership Network, ( earn a coveted global semifinalist spot for the Echoing Green Fellowship in 2008, contribute as an author in the 3-book global collaboration Age of Conversation series to benefit Variety, The Children’s Charity, and a guest contribution to the new 2014 release Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween.

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Length – 01:04:23