Talking about Poverty with Children

By | October 6, 2011

Sesame Street is debuting a new muppet, a seven-year old girl named Lily, who is dealing with what is euphemistically called “food security issues”. Currently she is scheduled to appear in only one show.  Sesame Street and other PBS shows seems to be a rare area where people living in poverty as well as the affluent and educated share an interest. Will this character reach children who don’t understand hunger as well as the kids for whom hunger is a regular concern?

In 2002, Sesame Street introduced an HIV positive muppet in South Africa and Kenya. Kami’s struggle with the loss of her mother to AIDS as well as her own illness might seem like a rough topic for a children’s program, but with so many children similarly suffering, doesn’t it make sense to give them someone to relate to?

So many children in the U.S. going to bed hungry, we’ll be watching to see how children respond to this new character.