U.S. Parents and Teachers See an Unkind World for Their Children, New Sesame Survey Shows

by Ricardo Castillo

Both Agree that Kindness Is Essential for Future Success, Even More Than Good Grades 


NEW YORK, NY -- Parents and teachers in the United States worry that their children are living in an unkind world, that people do not go out of their way to help others, and believe that children need strong social-emotional skills to succeed in life, according to a new survey commissioned by Sesame Workshop called “K is for Kind: A National Survey On Kindness and Kids.” 

Nearly three-quarters of parents and almost four-fifths of teachers say they “often” worry the world is an unkind place for children. At the same time, parents and teachers clearly see the importance of having strong social-emotional skills. Almost three-quarters of parents believe it is very important for their child to be accepting of others, to be polite and to have manners while about three-quarters of both parents and teachers prioritize kindness over academic achievement. “Getting good grades” was one of the least important attributes for children with less than half of parents and only about a tenth of teachers describing it as “very important.”

“Sesame undertook this study because we, ourselves, felt that the world seemed to be lacking in empathy and were concerned what the long-term impact of that would be on children and society 

as children grow older,” said Sesame Workshop CEO, Jeffrey D. Dunn. “This survey confirms our concerns. It is time to have a national conversation about kindness. We hope that this is a first step towards doing that.” 

What does kindness mean, exactly? Parents and teachers rank children more highly on being generally “kind” than they do on actual behaviors of kindness, including being “thoughtful” and “helpful.” Furthermore, parents rated being polite as more important than being considerate or helpful, and more than half of the parents surveyed ranked manners more important than empathy.    

“This suggests that we need to focus more on practicing the actual behaviors involved in being kind, not just encouraging an abstract concept of kindness,” said Dr. Jennifer Kotler Clarke, Vice President of Research and Evaluation at Sesame Workshop.

Who is responsible for teaching kindness? Teachers believe parents are not doing enough to cultivate kindness. Less than half of teachers believe that “all” or “most” parents are raising their children to be respectful and only about a third believe “all” or “most” parents are raising children to be empathetic and kind. 

But parents report they are actively teaching kindness to their children. Three-fourths of parents report that they talk to their children at least a few times a week or more about seeing things from other people’s points of view.  As a result, nine in 10 parents describe their own child as kind, and over half of the parents report that their child is more kind than the average child.

Ultimately, most respondents agree that it is incumbent upon all of us to make the world a better place. Over four-fifths of both parents and teachers believe that people are responsible for both their own families and others in society, not just their own families. 

“Many years of research have shown that social-emotional skills – like empathy, kindness and social skills – are critical to success across a variety of different measures as children develop,” said Dr. Stephanie Jones, the Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Making Caring Common Project at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. “These findings can help spur much needed conversations about how to raise caring and emphatic children.”

For more information on the survey, visit kindness.sesamestreet. org, and to join the conversation on social media, follow #Teach-Kindness. 

…Read Any GOOD BOOKS Lately

by Ricardo Castillo

Good nutrition habits can come from many places—including from an aardvark.  To be fair, however, this is no ordinary aardvark but the beloved star of the children’s book series and the now 20-year-old Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning PBS Kids series “Arthur.”  Entertaining and educational, Arthur and his friends have taken on a variety of important topics, and Arthur’s part of the PBS Kids’ website includes a section on family health that has a list of books where children can learn more about eating right and even about cooking.  So, in honor of our nutrition issue and “Arthur’s” 20th anniversary, we have selected 10 of these books to highlight in this month’s school library.  To view the full reading list, visit http://pbskids.org/arthur/health/nutrition/resources.html

by Marc Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0316110488

Arthur’s little sister, D.W., has a long list of foods that she doesn’t like.  “I don’t eat anything with eyes, or pickles, tomatoes, mush-rooms, eggplant, pineapple, parsnips and cauliflower.  Well…and maybe a few other things.”  Soon, D.W.’s picky eating habits lead to her sneaking her Hawaiian shrimp to the family dog during dinner and telling her father that the sandwich he made her accidentally fell in the dirt.  When she flings her salad, it looks like her dining out days are over.  Will her attitude towards food and her table manners improve in time for Grandma Thora’s special night out?


by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Publisher: Random House Books
ISBN-13: 978-0394872179

For the Bear family, Bear Country is a happy, healthy place with plenty of good foods like fruits, milk and vegetables.  Unfortunately, Brother and Sister Bear don’t like to snack on any of those things, preferring junk food like potato chips, popcorn and candy.  Although Mama Bear didn’t pay much attention to their snacking at first, she began to notice that “any-time was snack time” for her cubs.  And that’s not all.  Soon, she learns that Papa Bear is also eating too much junk food and decides that her family needs to change their eating habits—whether they like it or not. 


by Dr. Alvin Silverstein
Publisher: Children's Press(CT) 
ISBN-13: 978-0531165072

Nutrition can be a complicated subject, but this book, which is written for eight- to 11-year old, explains the importance of eating healthy in simple, straightforward terms.  Topics discussed include what is in different types of food, how the human body uses food and what is the right and the wrong amount of food to eat.  This book also includes a glossary that covers a wide-variety of health-related terms like carbohydrate, blood vessel, nutrient, small intestine and vegetarian, as well as a list of other books and websites where children can continue to broaden their knowledge about health and good nutrition.


by Lois Ehlert
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0152325800

This colorful picture book walks the reader step by step through not only how to make vegetable soup but also how to grow its ingredients.  Objects such as a seed package, a rake and a shovel are all clearly labeled to help children with their vocabulary.  The names of plants including pepper, tomato, cabbage, green bean, broccoli, zucchini squash, potato and carrot are also shown, and the book illustrates simple scientific facts such as sunlight helps plants grow.  The recipe itself while still requiring adult supervision is simple enough that a child can assist in making delicious, healthy vegetable soup.

by Lizzy Rockwell Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0064451741

Written especially for kids, this practical, hands-on guide to children’s nutrition explains everything from carrots to cookies.  In this book children learn about the nutrient groups—carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals—as well as about topics like which foods contain which nutrients, each nutrient’s function, how much of each nutrient children need everyday and how the body digests food.  It also includes kid-friendly recipes such as Alphabread and Full ‘o Beans Soup and even shows children how to test their food for fat.  “Good Enough to Eat” is recommended as a useful tool for parents, educators, librarians and doctors.


by Natasha Wing
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0689805301

Monday is International Day at Pablo’s school, and he’s not sure what to do.  “My teacher told us to bring something from our culture,” he explains.  But Pablo has two different cultures in his background: his mother is Mexican, and his father is Jewish.  Fortunately, his mother has the perfect solution: he can bring something from their bakery.  Told in first-person, this book introduces children to a variety of international foods including pan dulce (sweet bread), empanadas de calabaza (pumpkin turnovers), challah (braided bread prepared especially for the Jewish Sabbath) and lox (smoked, thinly-sliced salmon).  Includes both a Spanish and a Yiddish glossary.


by Edward Miller
Publisher: Holiday House
ISBN-13: 978-0823421398

This informative and lively book tells children how to pick the most nourishing food and get into wholesome habits while at the same time avoiding unhealthy ones.  Concise discussions of each food group and the newly redesigned food pyramid, along with vivid illustrations, clearly explain why some foods are good for you and why others should be saved for special occasions.  Beyond nutrition, this guide also includes sections on exercise, drugs and self-esteem.  Filled with sensible advice, this book is designed to arm youngsters with the knowledge they need to work toward healthy lifestyles and feel physically, mentally and emotionally terrific. 


by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova
ISBN-13: 978-0153143250

Mama Provi lives on the first floor of an apartment building, and her granddaughter, Lucy, lives on the eighth floor.  When Lucy has the chicken pox, Mama Provi decides to make a trip upstairs with a pot of her tasty arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). But on her way up, she meets a neighbor on every floor, and soon, her rice with chicken is joined by Mrs. Landers’ crusty white bread, Señor Rivera's frijoles negros (black beans), Mrs. Woo's tea and still more until by the time she arrives at Lucy's door, Mama Provi has with her a tremendous feast!


by Eric Carle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0887082757

It’s very early in the morning, and Jack is so hungry that what he really wants is a large pancake for breakfast.  But first, Jack’s mother needs flour from the mill, which means Jack is going to need to take a sickle, cut wheat and have the miller grind it into flour. But that’s only the first of the tasks Jack must perform to get his large pancake.  His mother still needs an egg from the black hen, milk from the spotted cow and butter churned from the fresh cream.  Will it ever be time for breakfast and that large pancake?


by Mollie Katzen
Publisher: Tricycle Press
ISBN-13: 978-1582461410

Welcome to the delicious world of “Salad People” where children as young as three and as old as seven can roll up their sleeves and (with an adult’s assistance) cook real food.  Recipes are all child-tested and include Counting Soup, Tiny Tacos, Chewy Energy Circles, Rain-bow-Raisin Cold Slaw, Focaccia, Sweet Potato Surprise, Corny Corn Cakes, Sunrise Lemonade, Miso-almond Dipping Sauce, Mango-honey Lassi, Egg Salad, Broccoli-cheese Quiche and Polka Dot Rice.  Information about conversions for both measuring dry and liquid ingredients, as well as basics about oven temperatures and common cooking terms is also included at the beginning of the book.




Marc Anthony Named 2016 Latin Recording Academy® PERSON OF THE YEAR

by Ricardo Castillo

In keeping with Anthony’s passion for children’s causes, proceeds from the tribute gala and concert will benefit the charitable work of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation®

Marc Anthony was honored as the 2016 Latin Recording Academy® Person of the Year last month at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The star-studded gala and tribute concert featured renditions of the award-winning singer's renowned music catalog by an impressive array of notable artists and friends. A significant portion of the net proceeds from the gala will benefit the charitable work of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation®, which provides assistance through scholarships, fellowships, grants and educational programs year-round to music students.

“Marc Anthony is synonymous with excellence and commitment to perfection," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy in announcing the award. “His impressive stage presence, astonishing vocal range and salsa-inspired rhythmic sound stems from his Caribbean roots. The world knows him as a music king; however, now the award-winning singer will not only be honored for his musical legacy but also applauded for his relentless humanitarian efforts, which speak to his generous spirit, passion and commitment to making a positive impact on more than just the stage.” 

“I was ecstatic when I received the news about this special recognition from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.  It is an honor, and I am humbled to be selected as The Person of Year recipient for my contributions as a music ambassador and my humanitarian efforts.  I am looking for-ward to an unforgettable evening at this year’s gala benefiting the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation and can’t wait to celebrate in the company of family, friends and our music industry peers,” said Marc Anthony at the time he was informed of this honor.

In April 2015, Anthony announced the formation of Magnus Media whose operating units include an artist management company, music publishing, digital content creation, film and television, music label, sports division and an entertainment-centric marketing practice focused on leveraging the power of top Latino content creators worldwide.

As the 2016 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Anthony joins a distinguished list of past recipients that includes Miguel Bosé, Roberto Carlos, Plácido Domingo, Gloria Estefan, Vicente Fernández, Juan Luis Guerra, Carlos Santana, Joan Manuel Serrat, Shakira and Caetano Veloso, among others.

The Latin Recording Academy is an international, membership-based organization comprised of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking recording artists, musicians, songwriters, producers and other creative and technical recording professionals. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for Latin music and its makers.