Sesame Street: Making Every Kid Feel Included


Photo Cred: The Wrap

Makayla Kennedy, OwlFeed Lifestyle Reporter

Do you know how to get to Sesame Street? The longest-running kids’ show is still going, now including some new characters! These fun puppets are now all-inclusive, with a family of color, a sweet girl with autism, a kid in foster care, and much more. 

Sesame Street has been up and running for 50 seasons. Most people know the iconic characters like Elmo, Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch, but new people have moved into the colorful neighborhood. 

It all started with Julia. In 2015 Sesame Street debuted a character with red hair, green eyes, wearing a pink shirt and green pants. We soon learned that Julia had autism, making her the first Sesame Street character of her kind. In an interview with the Smithsonian Magazine, Sesame Street scriptwriter Christine Ferraro said, “My goal was to help clarify and destigmatize autism for viewers.” 

Another character helping break the children’s show mold is Karli, a fuzzy green puppet with yellow hair. We meet her in an episode of Sesame Street with her foster parents, or “for now parents.” We learn that Karli’s mother is going through a hard time so she is placed in foster care with Clem and Dalia, who said, “Changes like this can be really rough for kids. And for adults too.” 

The newest addition to Sesame Street is Wes and his dad Elijah, a black father and son. They were introduced last week in a video with Elmo and taught Elmo about race and melanin. Elmo pointed out how a fallen leaf was the same shade as his fur and how others were like Wes and Elijah’s skin. Wes went on to tell Elmo about how “melanin is something that we each have inside our bodies that make the outside of our bodies the skin color that it is.” 

There have been a lot more representations in Sesame Street, including many different colored Big Birds, an HIV-positive puppet in the South African version, and a wheelchair user in the Canadian series. 

It’s very refreshing to see Sesame Street tackling topics deemed “taboo” for children. They teach all topics in a positive understanding way for kids and show that it’s okay to be different.