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Karen Tao's 10 Tips

Let’s Talk host, Karen Tao, is a Counseling Psychology Assistant Professor at The University of Utah. She’s done a lot of research on how to talk to kids about race and racism and developed these 10 Tips to help parents, caregivers, and teachers along the path of initiating and continuing conversations around race and racism.

Book Lists

Books are often the very first windows and mirrors kids use to see a world outside their own and to see themselves represented. Here are a lists of books, as well as non-profit organizations, that feature and promote diverse books in which all children are reflected and represented.


Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance’s mission is to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy. Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators — teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners — who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.

Parents For Diversity

Parents For Diversity is a collective of parents committed to achieving inclusive and non-discriminatory learning environments that allow children to fulfill their true potential in this world. They advocate for schools and families to promote diversity and inclusion and to take meaningful steps to address and eradicate discrimination and bias.

The Conscious Kid

The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. They partner with organizations, children’s museums, schools, and families across the country to promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.

My Reflection Matters

MRM’s mission is to provide the tools necessary to support and nurture the development of healthy racial and ethnic identities of Black and Brown children and older youth.  It is their hope that through the thoughtful use of the resources shared and services offered via MRM, this engagement will foster self-worth in youth, a love for humanity, and develop in them the ability to think critically about the injustices they and others experience empowering them to combat internalized and institutional racism and oppression in American society and around the world.

Articles From NPR's Series Life Kit

NPR LifeKit: Talking Race With Young Children

Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here's how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.

NPR LifeKit: Why All Parents Should Talk With Their Kids About Social Identity

There is all sorts of research that suggest that children very early on notice definitely physical differences between different people and they make meaning of those differences. And there's discrimination very early on. How early on? Try six months old.

NPR LifeKit: Kindness Vs. Cruelty: 
Helping Kids Hear The Better Angels Of Their Nature

What gets in the way of kindness? Lots of things. For one, young kids are naturally self-centered. The ability to take others' perspective is something they have to develop through experience. But there's another, more disturbing barrier to kindness: Tribalism. Not just a preference for those who look and act like us but even a desire to see those not like us treated badly.

PBS Resources

PBS continually offers media, programming, learning materials, games, blog posts, and more on the topic of talking about race, diversity, and cultural ethnicity with kids. Here are just a handful of links we’ve identified to get you started on your journey.

PBS KIDS for Parents

Explore parent resources to help you raise kind, curious and resilient children. Find parenting tips, hands-on activities, games, and apps featuring your favorite PBS KIDS characters!

Talking to Your Child about Diversity and Boosting Cultural Awareness

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment where your child (maybe quite loudly) asked about the characteristics of another person? For example, “Mommy, why does that woman look like that?” The typical parental reaction is to attempt to quiet the child and move on as quickly as possible. By helping your children understand and respect the similarities and differences of others, you will also help them understand who they are in the context of your race, ethnic group, culture, religion, language, familial history and more. Use these tips to spark your children’s curiosity about who they and others are in their world!

Teaching Your Children about Black History Month

This article suggests fun learning activities to do with your kids during February’s Black History Month. Also included in the article is a list from children’s book author Cheryle Willis Hudson on ways to connect your children to Black History month throughout the year.

Learning to Appreciate Diversity through Play

Comparing differences between each other can be a fun way for children to learn that their differences are what makes them unique. This is a game where children will explore similarities and differences between themselves and others.


PBS Learning Media

A Tapestry of Multicultural Diversity | Global Oneness Project

With a long history of immigration, New York City contains one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world, representing a wide variety of religious and faith communities. Students view a photo essay, "Belief," by Caleb Ferguson, which explores photos of New Yorkers celebrating various cultural festivities. In this lesson, students discuss multiculturalism and the ways in which they celebrate diversity. Students view the photo essay in pairs or small groups and are given reflective writing prompts for students to demonstrate their understanding of the story.

Schools and Diversity in a Changing America | America by the Numbers

Coeur d'Alene is a majority-Caucasian community in northern Idaho. Find out how schools in the area have tackled issues of diversity, in this clip from America by the Numbers. Learn about the public middle school that uses education to promote tolerance, but has faced backlash from the community. You will also hear from teachers at a private Christian school who say they want to guard against a loss of religion in their classrooms.

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Diversity in Latino Culture

In this interactive lesson, students explore the rich diversity within Latino culture using WGBY’s bilingual program Presencia. The lesson explores the variety found within Latino food, music, and art and introduces individuals who honor and celebrate their culture. Students build their vocabulary with Spanish words and expressions and grow in their appreciation of how diversity can enrich society.

Global Oneness Project: Bringing the World to Your Classroom

The Global Oneness Project collection features films, photo essays, and accompanying lesson plans which explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens. These multimedia stories explore the world through real life experiences and provide students with an authentic approach to global learning. The curriculum content makes personal and interdisciplinary connections and fosters the development of active, critical thinking.

Muslim Diversity

Roughly half of the Muslims in the United States are African American and the other half are immigrants and their American-born children. The Muslim American Society represents African American Muslims and the Islamic Society of North America represents Muslims who are mostly from Africa and Asia. This video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly examines the differences between the two groups and whether the two communities can bridge the cultural gap that divides them.

PBS Kids

African American World for Kids

An interactive website where kids can learn about famous African Americans, play games, send e cards, and interact.

PBS Food

Kid-Friendly Recipes from "Around the World"

Looking for an easy, delicious way to introduce your kids to new foods? Watch this recipe video of three different rice dishes from three different cultures for you and your child to make together. Rice is a staple part of the diet in many countries around the world and there are countless ways that each culture prepares their traditional version. Use this activity to open up a discussion with your child about what similarities and differences exist with each dish.

Additional PBS Resources

Precious Children (KCTS)

As a parent and an advocate of early childhood education, Washington State First Lady Mona Lee Locke embarked on a project close to her heart: encouraging a cross-cultural exchange on early education by leading a delegation of 60 U.S. teachers to China. KCTS-Seattle producer Susan Han and videographer Valerie Vozza document the 10-day visit in Precious Children, a one-hour presentation that reveals how this nation of 1.2 billion people is preparing its children for the future.

Read More

Presencia: Many Voices One Community (WGBY)

Presencia is a bilingual (English/Spanish) program capturing the stories of the Latino communities of western New England. Presencia is designed not only to inspire and inform the region about the growing Latino population, but also to engage and enhance the social spirit. “We will create a platform for dialogue that will result in uniting and engaging the community,” says show host Veronica Garcia.

PBS KIDS Programming

Daniel and His Friends
Sometimes feeling different can make kids feel sad. It’s important to teach kids that it’s alright to be different and that in many ways people are also the same. In this interactive storybook, kids can read along with Daniel Tiger as he thinks about ways that he is different from his friends and ways that he is the same as his friends.
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Lupita Nyong’o: Skin
It’s important that kids love the skin they’re in. All animals and people are covered in skin. Skin protects us, allows us to touch and feel, and comes in lots of beautiful shades and colors. In this video, Elmo and Lupita talk all about skin.
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Anyone can be Friends
Anyone can be friends. Even though we are all have our distinct characteristics, making friends with people who are different than us can be easy. In this video, Elmo sings a song about how we are all different, but anyone can still be friends.
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Whoopie’s Skin and Elmo’s Fur
Everyone is different. It’s important to teach kids that they should be happy with who they are, while also being accepting of others. In this video, Whoopie and Elmo compare her skin and hair with his fur.
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Same and Different
It’s important to teach children that in ways we are the same, while we are also very different and that’s okay. In this video, Big Bird and Zoe talk about their differences, as well as things that make them the same.
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Molly of Denali
This is a newly animated series on PBS Kids that follows the adventures of feisty and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. The show focuses on kid-related issues such as meeting new people, getting from one place to another, solving a problem, and mastering a skill. Each episode follows Molly, her dog Suki, and her friends Tooey and Trini on their daily adventures in Alaska, from fishing and building snow forts, to learning Native songs from the village elders.
Read More >


Additional Resources

Understanding Diversity: What’s a Parent to do?’
Harvard School of Education
H. Richard Milner IV
"In this article, I provide what can be considered some strategies or suggestions for parents to help their children more deeply understand human diversity. A central theme of the article is captured in the title: What’s a Parent to Do? Perhaps more than a set of strategies or suggestions is the importance of parents having the mindset to lead their children in ways that are welcoming and supportive of all people in a school community."

Parent Toolkit: How to Talk to Kids About Race and Racism
There’s no question: talking about race can be sensitive, and yes, even a bit messy. And “choosing” whether or not to talk to your kids about race is an option many parents, specifically those of color, don’t have; some children may inevitably learn about it by confronting racism in their everyday lives.