Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 10+
Inspiring story of a boy's efforts to help homeless kids.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Little Red Wagon is a 2013 movie inspired by the activism of a young Florida boy named Zach Bonner, who collected supplies for those who lost their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, and then later dedicated his time and efforts to helping homeless children and calling attention to their plight. The biggest concern for parents is the side story in which a mother and her young son lose their home and have no choice but to sleep in their car, dumpster-dive, and shoplift from a grocery store; while intended to provide a concrete example of the tragedy of homelessness, some of the scenes -- including one in which the young boy injures his arm while dumpster-diving -- could be too intense for younger viewers. Also, some of the shouted arguments between the mother and teen daughter could be difficult for some. Finally, during one scene in which Zach and his mother are in the middle of their walk to Tallahassee from Tampa to raise awareness about child homelessness, Zach vomits on the side of the road. Otherwise, this film is an inspirational story of what one person can do to try and make the world a better place, and should lead to thoughtful discussions about activism in our society.
- Families can talk about activism. How is Zach Bonner's emerging activism conveyed in the movie? What causes are important to you?
- Why do you think the side story about the mother and son who lose everything they had was included in the movie? What would have been lost had it not been in the movie?
- How do the problems shown between Zach's mother and his teenage sister underscore universal problems of balancing the time to help those in need while taking care of one's own day-to-day financial and personal issues?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Through talk and through example, the power of one person to bring about positive change in the world is shown.
Positive role models: Zach Bonner is a young boy who does everything within his power to help homeless children, and goes to tremendous lengths to spread the word about the plight of homeless children in Florida, and throughout the rest of the United States.
What to watch for
Violence: While dumpster-diving with his mother, a young homeless boy falls out of a dumpster and injures his arm, resulting in blood and a traumatic wait in the ER waiting room.
Sexy stuff: Not an issue
Language: A teen girl calls someone a "d-bag," and later makes reference to having to wake up at the "asscrack of dawn."
Consumerism: Reference is made to companies and brands who helped Zach and his emerging charity: Lazydays RV, Build-a-Bear, and Chef Boyardee.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: A woman drinks a glass of wine after coming home after losing her job, but does not act intoxicated.