Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Voice of Kai-lan

Girl gives voice to new Chinese-American cartoon
Nickelodeon picks 10-year-old from Wauwatosa after nationwide search

Jade-Lianna Peters steps into an audio recording booth at I V Media in Brookfield.

Half a continent away, at Nickelodeon Studios, an animation production team marvels at the 10-year-old's voice, one that is as natural and light-hearted as a songbird's, with a sandpapery edge that adds just a rasp of mischief. It's the pitch-perfect tone for Kai-lan, the lead character of "Ni Hao, Kai-lan," a preschool series coming to Nickelodeon in August. Executives at the children's network hope the half-hour episodes will be to Mandarin Chinese what "Dora the Explorer" has been to Spanish...

Four years in the making, "Ni Hao, Kai-lan" is about what it's like to be bicultural in America, as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive 5-year-old Chinese-American girl living within a multigenerational household...

Her story begins in the south of China...

There, Gao Jian was abandoned at a shrine. A note pinned to her clothing had on it a calendar date, and nothing more. Whoever left her there, out of fear, or shame, or desperation, or panic, wanted Gao Jian to someday know her birthday...

It was 1997, a time when interest in Chinese adoptions was about to surge in the United States among childless couples such as the Peterses.

Kathleen, an exuberant redhead known to many as Candy, is just shy of 6 feet tall and a woman who won't settle for a handshake when a hoist-you-off-the-floor hug will do.


Husband John, 6 foot 3 and considerably more circumspect, is a mail-sorter for the U.S. Postal Service. Back then, the couple used to work side by side at the post office.


After years of trying to conceive, the Peterses decided to adopt. Growing up, Kathleen had a fascination with all things Chinese, so no one was surprised when she and John decided to look toward the Far East for a child.

2 Comments:

Blogger Monica said...

I really enjoyed reading this article and the follow-up article to it at the top of your blog!

After I finished reading them, my eleven year old daughter took over my computer to read them herself!

Thanks for bringing interesting articles together in one handy location!

~Monica

12:56 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

Not a problem!

4:15 PM  

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