My Top 15 Best Telenovelas for Children

Carolina

Carolina

Argentinian Carolina has an extensive movie background in the cinematic universe. She is our resident TV analyst and a seasoned expert in global streaming platforms. She showcases her comprehensive knowledge through her love for Netflix 'Originals', Frozen, The Good Place, and The Dragon Prince.

Telenovela for children is a completely separate subgenre in the telenovela universe.

Although there has been these kind of shows in most Latin American countries, Mexico and Argentina have been the major producers.

Brazil has some productions as well, but most of them are based on Mexican or Argentine telenovelas.

As it happens with telenovelas in general, the ones aimed at children and teens have been the target of negative criticism. Sometimes this criticism has been right because of the wrong stereotypes portrayed in these stories.

This type of telenovela began to be produced in the 70s with great success. Then, in the 90s there was a new wave, mainly in Argentina, with a new format.

Currently, these kinds of shows are popular on streaming services like Disney Plus and Max.

Despite the good or bad criticism, these telenovelas left a mark on the childhood of several generations including my own and became huge successes around the world.

Some of them were part of my childhood and sparked good memories from a time when everything was simpler and happier.

So let’s jump in and see what some of the best were all about.

1. Señorita Maestra (Argentina – 1982)

Family, Comedy, Drama199 episodes

I remember that I was starting primary school when Señorita Maestra began airing.

1982 was a heavy year for Argentina, war and the end of the military dictatorship, so anything aimed at children that could somehow distract them from reality was welcome.

Created by Abel Santa Cruz, one of the most prolific telenovela writers of his time, Señorita Maestra is a remake from another Santa Cruz series from 1966, Jacinta Pichimahuida, la maestra que no se olvida (Jacinta Pichimahuida, an unforgettable teacher).

Set in a primary school, the story follows Jacinta Pichimahuida, a teacher who is known to be good and kind to her students. The series also shows the relationship of the students and their problems with their families.

The success of this telenovela spread to other Latin American countries like Mexico and Brazil that made their own adaptations.

2. Un mundo de muñeca (A Doll World) (Argentina – 1986)

Drama, Romance135 episodes

This was another telenovela that marked my childhood and I didn’t miss a single episode.

Again created by Abel Santa Cruz, this version is a remake of Papá Corazón, also written by Santa Cruz and produced in the 70s. The story follows Angélica, a little girl who lost her mom and she’s sent to a boarding school.

There, she has a lot of adventures and she befriends some of the nuns at the school. She creates a fantasy world to cope with the loss of her mom and little by little starts opening her heart to her dad.

The success of the original telenovela spawned several remakes besides this one: Mundo de Juguete (Mexico) with more than 600 episodes, Papai Coração (Brazil), Carita de Angel (Mexico), Papá del corazón (Paraguay), Carinha de Anjo (Brazil).

3. Violetta (Argentina – 2012)

Drama, Family, Music240 episodes

Violetta was a huge international success co-produced by Pol-Ka Producciones and Disney Channel Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

This was the vehicle to launch Martina Stoessel, commonly known as Tini, to fame. Violetta opened the door to the telenovela format on Disney Channel.

Besides the series, there were live concerts around the world, and the series finale was a movie released in cinemas in Europe and Latin America.

The story follows Violetta Castillo, a teen girl who goes back to Buenos Aires, her birthplace, after living in Madrid for several years.

It’s in Buenos Aires where she finds her passion for music, something she has to hide from his father who still can’t recover from his wife’s death in a car accident during a musical gig.

The telenovela is divided into three seasons available worldwide on Disney+.

4. Soy Luna (I Am Luna) (Argentina – 2016)

Comedy, Family, Music220 episodes

After Violetta’s success, Pol-Ka Producciones and Disney Channel Latinoamérica embarked on this telenovela that was a huge international success as well.

Aimed at children and teens, the appeal of the series is the musical numbers and songs. The story follows Luna Valente, a 16-year-old girl who loves roller skating and lives in Cancun, Mexico, with her parents.

When her parents receive a job offer they can’t refuse, they must move to Argentina. This change turns Luna’s life upside down because she must leave behind her friends, school, and hobbies.

Once in Argentina, she must adapt to a new life, however, she finds solace in a skating club, where she can test her skating and singing skills. Soy Luna has three seasons, and it’s available worldwide on Disney+.

5. Carrusel (Mexico – 1989)

Drama, Family358 episodes

Carrusel is the Mexican version of the Argentine telenovela Señorita Maestra. This version has been more popular in the whole continent and the longest one.

The story follows the second-grade teacher, Ximena Fernández and her students. Ximena is kind and understanding with the children at the same time she’s strict when they misbehave.

As happens with many Mexican telenovelas, Carrusel also portrays the social and ethnic differences of the society, and it’s set in a Catholic school. Carrusel is available on Vix.

6. Bia (Argentina 2019)

Action, Comedy, Drama120 episodes

Bia is the third original telenovela created by Disney Channel. However, this time the main target audience was teenagers instead of children.

The story follows Beatriz Urquiza (nicknamed Bia), played by Brazilian actress Isabel Souza, a Brazilian-Argentina girl who loves music and drawing. Bia misses her sister Helena, a singer and a composer who tragically died in a car accident.

Since then, Bia has treasured music as a way to keep the memory of her sister, but at the same time is unsure about going back to the music world. With the help and support of her friends, Bia will find the courage to face her fears and release her creativity.

Bia is available worldwide on Disney+.

7. Chiquititas (Argentina – 1995 – 2001)

Musical, Family, Comedy7 seasons1018 episodes

Chiquititas was one of the greatest successes in Argentine TV and one of the longest, surpassing the 1000 episodes.

Chiquititas was divided into 7 seasons, becoming a pioneer in the field of telenovelas by mixing the traditional format with the one of a TV series.

Created by prolific artist Cris Morena, Chiquititas aimed at an audience target that was kind of forgotten: the tweens.

With musical numbers and unforgettable songs that spawned CDs, live shows and merchandising, Chiquititas follows the lives and adventures of a group of children living in the orphanage Rincón de Luz.

Through the different seasons, the series changed the cast and also the genres including fantasy and adventure.

A spin-off called Rincón de Luz was released in 2003 with 199 episodes, and then a sequel with 170 more episodes called Chiquititas 2006 was aired on Disney Channel.

Chiquititas is available on its channel on Pluto TV.

This telenovela was the vehicle to fame for a whole generation of young Argentine actors, who currently have long and rich careers in TV, films and theatre.

8. Patito Feo (Patty’s World) (Argentina – 2007)

Comedy, Family, Drama2 seasons304 episodes

After the success of Cris Morena’s telenovelas aimed at children and teens, other companies tried the format. Patito Feo was the proof that the formula was still welcome and became a huge international success.

Produced by Ideas del Sur and Pol-Ka initially it aired on Channel 13 with reruns later on Disney Channel across the whole of Latin America.

This musical telenovela follows Patricia, who is nicknamed Patito (Patty in the international version), a girl who must leave behind her peaceful life in Bariloche to go with her mom to Buenos Aires to receive medical treatment.

Patty has a passion for music and gets a scholarship to an exclusive private school, Pretty Land School of Arts. There, Patty meets Antonella, the queen of the school. Both become frenemies, with more in common than they think.

Pursuing their dreams of music and singing, they also share their curiosity to find their dads.

9. Cebollitas (Argentina – 1997)

Comedy, Family, Sports2 seasons458 episodes

Cebollitas was a huge success on air for almost two years without interruption. The story follows a group of kids who play football in a local club.

The name “Cebollitas” is a homage to the junior section in Argentino Juniors club where Diego Maradona played when he was a kid.

The series includes songs, and music, focusing on the friendship shared by the kids. The songs were written by Cris Morena, the creator of Chiquititas.

10. Floricienta (Flinderella) (Argentina – 2004)

Comedy, Music, Family2 seasons361 episodes

Floricienta is a telenovela aimed at children and teenagers created by Cris Morena and based on Cinderella by Charles Perrault, borrowing some elements from the film The Sound of Music.

This became the greatest success of Cris Morena, surpassing her other telenovelas like Chiquititas, Casi Ángeles, and Rebelde Way.

The story follows Florencia Fazzarino, played by Florencia Bertotti, an orphan girl who tries to survive working in a greengrocer while in her free time she’s part of a band.

When the singer leaves the group, Florencia takes her place.

When they get to give a show at a party at the Fritzenwalden family mansion, Florencia’s life will change forever. The international success of Floricienta has been the greatest one for a telenovela created for a free-to-air television network.

Floricienta was also aired in Latin America on Disney Channel. Currently, it’s available on Max in Latin America.

11. Niní (Argentina – 2009)

Comedy, Family, Music137 episodes

Niní is a telenovela aimed at children starring Florencia Bertotti (Floricienta), who also served as producer. Produced by Endemol and Telefé Contenidos and aired on Telefé, Niní was a success that allowed Telefé to win the audience over the competition.

The story follows the titular character, Nina Gómez who is nicknamed Niní, an orphan innocent girl. She lives with her grandpa Héctor, a gardener at the Santa Julia Embassy.

When a new ambassador, Tomás Parker, arrives with his four adoptive children, Niní’s life changes, feeling a great affection for the kids. To stay in the embassy near them, she creates a male alter ego named Nicolas Zampano and starts working as the Parkers’s driver.

The telenovela went through some issues because Cris Morena sued Florencia Bertotti and her husband. After all, Niní took many elements from Floricienta, making it look like plagiarism.

12. Amigovios (Argentina – 1995)

Family, Adventure, Comedy – 248 episodes

Amigovios is a word that joins two Spanish words: amigo and novio, friend and boyfriend/girlfriend, so it’s hard to find an equivalent in English in the context of a telenovela aimed at children.

This telenovela started airing in the summer of ’95, and it was originally planned to be a summer series, however, the success was so huge that the creators had to find a way to continue it.

The story is about a school that opens a summer camp for its students and allows kids outside the school to attend it.

The telenovela follows a group of 10-year-old children while they spend their vacations at the summer camp, with friendships, first loves and all kinds of adventures.

13. El diario de Daniela (Daniela’s Diary) (Mexico – 1998)

Comedy, Family, Music – 100 episodes

This Mexican telenovela follows the titular character, Daniela Monroy, a sweet girl who lives with her dad, mom, and two siblings. Her dad, Enrique is the owner of a theatre where Daniela spends most of her time along with her friends.

However, their happy lives meet tragedy when Leonor, Daniela’s mom, tragically dies in an accident.

At the same time, Martín Linares, a handsome and intelligent boy who is facing his parents’ divorce, tries to escape from his harsh reality.

Daniela and Martín end up developing a tender friendship with the signs of their first love.

14. Luz Clarita (Mexico – 1996)

Comedy, Drama, Family – 105 episodes

This Mexican telenovela is a remake of the telenovela from 1982 Chispita, which is also a remake of Argentine Andrea Celeste from 1979 starring Andrea del Boca and written by Abel Santa Cruz.

The story follows Luz Clarita, an 8-year-old girl looking for her mom. In her search, she meets the De la Fuente family with whom she starts living, and through her experiences with them, her life will change forever.

15. Alegrijes y rebujos (Mexico – 2003)

Family, Fantasy, Music – 137 episodes

This telenovela produced by Televisa follows a group of children who dare to enter a haunted mansion in their neighbourhood. The story centres on Sofia, a girl who lost her mother and lives with her dad, stepmother and younger brother.

While her dad is working all day in a laboratory, her stepmother and brother make her life miserable. One day with her friends Sofía enters the haunted mansion near to her home, which is the beginning of a great adventure.

Alegrijes y Rebujos can be found on ViX in the US and Latin America.

Summary

Telenovelas for children have been a trend since the 70s. Mexico and Argentina have been the two leading countries in producing this subgenre.

Although the genre is now becoming a niche on streaming platforms, during the 70s, 80s and 90s several telenovelas aimed at children and teens were major successes around the world.

In this list, I choose the ones that marked my childhood and the ones that still are part of our popular culture.

Have you watched any of these? What’s your favourite? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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