Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
Created byKaren Chau
Developed byMary Harrington
Karen Chau
Judy Rothman
Sascha Paladino
Written bySascha Paladino (Head Writer)
Bradley Zweig (Staff Writer)
Directed byDavid Marshall
Voices ofJade-Lianna Peters
Clem Cheung
Ben Wang
Jack Samson
Khamani Griffin
Angie Wu
Beverly Duan
Terence Hardy
Hsiang Lo
Theme music composerMatt Mahaffey
Opening themeTheme song composed by Matt Mahaffey, lyrics by Sascha Paladino
ComposerDoug Califano
Country of originUnited States
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes42 (list of episodes)
Executive producerMary Harrington
ProducersSascha Paladino
Supervising Producers:
David Marshall
Jeff DeGrandis
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesHarringtoons Productions
Nickelodeon Animation Studio[a]
Original release
Nick Jr. Channel
ReleaseFebruary 7, 2008 (2008-02-07) –
August 21, 2011 (2011-08-21)

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is an American animated children's television series produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio. It began as a series of three interstitial shorts on Nick Jr. called Downward Doghouse.[2] The first full episode was initially set to premiere in fall 2007[3][4] on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block in the United States, but it was pushed back to February 7, 2008, coinciding with Chinese New Year.[3]

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is based on the childhood memories of the show's creator, Karen Chau, who grew up in a bicultural (Chinese-American) household.[5] "Ni hao" (你好 nǐ hǎo) means "Hello" in Mandarin, and Kai-Lan (凯兰 Kǎilán) is the Chinese name Chau was given at birth, which was later anglicized to Karen.

The first two seasons had 20 episodes each. The third season consisted of a two-part series finale. Sascha Paladino was the head writer and developer for the show.

The entire series was released on Paramount+ (at the time CBS All Access) on January 19, 2021.


The series follows the adventures of Kai-Lan and her group of talking anthropomorphic animal companions. The group consists of Kai-Lan, a 6-year-old Chinese-American girl; Rintoo, a yellow 6-year-old Bengal tiger; Tolee, a gray 5-year-old koala; Lulu, a light pink 5-year-old rhinoceros; and Hoho, a white 3-year-old monkey. Each episode is based around a series of events that occur during Kai-Lan's day, along with obstacles that she and her friends are forced to overcome (with "assistance" from the viewing audience) relating to riddles, playing games, and working together. Common rituals may involve Kai-Lan resolving conflicts with her friends when they feel negative emotions. To help them, Kai-Lan has the audience help her figure out why they are having difficult situations. Usually, once Kai-Lan's friends discover that their actions are wrong, they apologize and promise to work together better. The audience is usually presented with two musical sing-alongs where Kai-Lan sings about what must be done to overcome her and her friends' challenges. The episode always ends with Kai-Lan successfully helping her friends and everyone getting along. At the end of all episodes, Kai-Lan thanks the viewer for helping her and adds, "You make my heart feel super happy!", saying it again in Chinese in Season 2 onward before saying goodbye. In the Season 1 finale, it is stated that they all live in California.

Other aspects generally featured in episodes are breaking the fourth wall, 11 minutes of interactivity,[6] a target word that is repeated multiple times,[7] a few words of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, and before saying goodbye (at the end of each episode), Kai-Lan says, "You make my heart feel super happy." Later installments added Kai-lan saying this phrase in Mandarin after she said it in English: "Ni rang wo hao kai xin." Ni Hao, Kai-Lan introduces its viewers to the Mandarin Chinese language, along with elements of Chinese culture and values, and intergenerational families (e.g., Kai-Lan and her relationship with Ye-Ye).


Main article: List of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
120February 7, 2008 (2008-02-07)August 14, 2009 (2009-08-14)
220February 2, 2009 (2009-02-02)October 8, 2010 (2010-10-08)
32August 21, 2011 (2011-08-21)August 21, 2011 (2011-08-21)



Other, grown-up, and minor characters

DVD releases

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan home video releases
Season Episodes DVD release dates
Region 1
1 2007–08 20 Volume 1: Super Special Days: August 12, 2008[8]
Episodes: "Dragonboat Festival" • "Beach Day" • "Twirly Whirly Flyers" • "Everybody's Hat Parade"
Volume 2: Celebrate with Kai-Lan: January 6, 2009[9]
Episodes: "Safari Pals" • "Tolee's Rhyme Time" • "Kai-Lan's Campout" • "Happy Chinese New Year!"
Volume 3: Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China: July 14, 2009[10]
Episodes: "Kai-Lan's Trip to China" • "Rain or Shine" • "The Ant Playground"
Volume 4: Kai-Lan's Carnival: October 6, 2009[11]
Episodes: "Kai-Lan's Carnival" • "Lulu Day" • "Roller Rintoo" • "Wait, Hoho, Wait"
2 2009–10 20 Volume 5: Princess Kai-Lan: October 5, 2010[12]
Episodes: "Princess Kai-Lan" • "Lulu's Cloud" • "The Moon Festival"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2008 Artios Award Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animation TV Programming Sarah Noonan and Meredith Layne Nominated
2009 Annie Award Best Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production Notes[13] Nominated
2010 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Sascha Paladino, Mary Harrington, Jeff DeGrandis and Andrew Huebner Nominated

Related media

Video games

The success of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan spawned its own video game series, supported by various gaming consoles and platforms:

The show's success also spawned merchandise from 2007-2014. Kai-Lan also made appearances in Nickelodeon Fit, Nickelodeon Dance, Nickelodeon Dance 2, Dora and Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter, and Team Umizoomi & Dora's Fantastic Flight.


  1. ^ "Monday, January 14th, 2008". Cynopsis Media. January 14, 2008. Archived from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "'Ni Hao, Kai-lan': Tigers and Dragons and Mandarin Lessons". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on 2021-05-25. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  3. ^ a b Hale, Mike (February 7, 2008). "A Pint-Size Peacemaker With a Lot to Teach". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  4. ^ Davis, Micheal (April 15, 2007). "Cartoons With Heart ... and a Little Mandarin". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "HOW 'KAI-LAN' GOT HER GROOVE". Hartford Courant. March 9, 2008. Archived from the original on 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  6. ^ Strike, Joe (2007-12-04). "Ni Hao, Kai-lan: Tigers and Dragons and Mandarin Lessons". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on 2009-06-27.
  7. ^ Liu, Ed (2008-01-21). "Toon Zone Interviews Nick SVP Teri Weiss About "Ni Hao, Kai-lan"". Toon Zone. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20.
  8. ^ "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – Super Special Days". August 12, 2008. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – Celebrate with Kai-Lan". January 6, 2009. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  10. ^ "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China". July 14, 2009. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – Kai-Lan's Carnival". October 6, 2009. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  12. ^ "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – Princess Kai-Lan". October 5, 2010. Archived from the original on March 6, 2023. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Crump, William D. (April 4, 2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland. ISBN 9781476672939. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Liu, Jonathan (February 6, 2010). "Have a Super Game Day with Kai-Lan". WIRED. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  15. ^ Healy, Christopher (June 19, 2019). "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: New Year's Celebration". Common Sense Media. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2020.


  1. ^ Animation outsourced to Wang Film Productions[1]