Nancy O’Dell Releases App Designed to Teach Kids Compassion

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Can an app teach our kids important lessons about friendship, morals and the importance of compassion?

Nancy O’Dell believes the answer is yes.

Just in time for the holidays, the Entertainment Tonight co-host has released a fun new educational app called “Little Ashby: Star Reporter – Santa’s Big Premiere.”

It’s an animated storybook that entertains little ones with engaging activities and games and helps them learn some life lessons along the way.

Children follow the story of Little Ashby, a cub reporter who goes to various places on assignment with her FUNtastic crew. Her first assignment is a big one! Ashby will go to the North Pole to interview Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Not only will she discover tons of neat facts about Alaska and the North Pole, she’ll come back with the story about what the holiday spirit is all about!

So what inspired O’Dell to create the app?

“I always say I love being a reporter because I learn so much from the various places and people I have to cover. I want kids to have that same opportunity to travel the world while learning so much in the process.”

But she didn’t do it alone – this mom had some help from her five-year-old daughter, who acted as her reviewer.

“She had some great points! There was one page which shows Ashby and Arty standing by themselves looking out over Alaska after they land there on their way to the North Pole. She said ‘Mommy, Ashby and Arty can’t go there without adults!’

Even though these are cartoon characters, I realized that was something other kids might think of. That’s when I made Shine and Mike the SENIOR crew members, so that they do have adults watching out over them the whole time on their adventures.”

O’Dell’s daughter also helped name the title character… after herself!

“I asked my daughter what I should name the little reporter and she said her name, of course!”

So cute.

Best of all – the app doesn’t just teach compassion through the storyline – it also practices what it preaches. A portion of the proceeds for the app will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in honor of Bryson Foster, MDA’s 2012 National Goodwill Ambassador.

O’Dell’s mother passed away from ALS, so it’s a cause that’s very close to her heart. “Bryson is one of the most adorable little boys you will ever meet with the cutest Southern accent and personality,” she said. ” I knew immediately I wanted him to be the voice of Arty, Little Ashby’s cameraman and best friend.”

“Little Ashby: Star Reporter – Santa’s Big Premiere” is available on Apple devices now for $2.99.

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