Who is Anni Zola? Well, that’s a little complicated. She’s an animated teenage singer who is part Barbie, part pop princess, and she’s out to change the world. Lucky for the world, she wants to make it a better place.
Anni Zola – My Story is also a little complicated. It’s an enhanced CD full of peppy, optimistic songs aimed at tweens and young teens, especially the ones who have entered that gray area where Barbie and Britney overlap. It’s also an audio book in which Anni tells her story—and what a story it is (more on that shortly). There is a music video of Anni’s song, “Share My Dream,” filled with vibrant images, positive messages, and a driving beat, calendars, and wallpaper. Anni’s message to her fans is “You can be anything you want to be.” The CD includes a number of extras including bonus videos and production images.
The Anni Zola website is filled with activities in which kids can submit their designs and ideas and may become contributors to the site. Anni has a blog, and kids can comment on her posts, as well as connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, And MySpace. Currently Anni's website is running a “BYOB Water Bottle Design Challenge” for kids aged 9 through 19.
Anni is complicated and has a purpose: "Anni Zola (which means 'beautiful earth') is from the planet Orfea (Greek for 'beautiful voice'). Anni Zola is a 14-year-old virtual idol/performer singing pop music with clean lyrics aimed at kids 9 to 15, who sings, dances, talks about dreams, and encourages peers to live a meaningful life. She encourages kids to keep the planet safe, live a ‘green’ lifestyle, volunteer for causes, and be more responsible.” This teenage alien (who sounds exactly like a young earth teenager) comes from a planet of peace and beauty, and is here to teach our youth how their planet can be like hers.
Bombarded with messages about social responsibility, kids very successfully learn to tune out all those public service announcements. While Anni Zola – My Story promotes responsibility to the planet and those that inhabit it, it does so with attractive images and infectious music. It is such a relief to hear songs that don’t require explanations or censorship; parents don’t need to chaperone their children listening to this CD.
Anni Zola – My Story boosts kids’ self-esteem through positive “you can do it” messages and fosters responsibility for their environment and society, without being sickeningly sweet or preachy. The enhanced CD is available now at the Anni Zola website and will be released nationally on June 29 at Amazon.
Bottom line: Would I buy Anni Zola – My Story? Yes, it combines things kids want to hear with things they need to hear in a fun fantasy. You can even dance to it!