Tag Archives: Nick News

Anti-Racism and Social Justice Programming for Parents and Children

By Tracey Dowdy

Much of the news over the past year has centered on issues of race in America. Facing your child’s questions through open conversation is the first step in raising an anti-racist child. 

It’s essential to address these complex and sensitive issues in age-appropriate ways. If you’re unsure how to initiate the conversation or put current events in their historical context, these programs can help. 

Sesame/CNN: Standing Up to Racism

CNN’s Van Jones and Erica Hill partnered with “Sesame Street” for Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism,” a town hall for kids and families. Split into two parts and geared to parents and kids, the videos feature leaders like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Sesame Street friends like Big Bird and Abby Cadabby. The videos tackle complicated concepts like racism, protests, and speaking out against unfairness in language children can understand. 

(Best for ages 3+)

Kids, Race, and Unity: A Nick News Special

Alicia Keys hosts discussions with leading experts on race and racial injustice. The panel looks at movements like Black Lives Matter and examines the language around systematic racism so that kids can get past euphemism to find clarity. Parents should be aware high profile deaths of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor are briefly discussed, and the n-word is addressed but not spoken. As usual, Nick does a remarkable job balancing facts with age-appropriate information. (Best for ages 8+)

We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest

Hundreds of pre-K through 12th-grade students perform a mix of published and original poetry and speeches in the Martin Luther King Oratorical Festival in Oakland, CA. The documentary follows students in the months leading up to the 40th annual competition. “We Are the Dream” is a beautiful portrait of young people embracing their history and dreaming of a better future through social justice, immigration reform, and the fight for equality. (Best for ages 8+)

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story

This unscripted six-episode documentary looks at the life, death, and legacy of Trayvon Martin. Through interviews and home videos, family photos, and news footage, it’s an unflinching look at cultural and societal issues reflected in his death and verdict. (Best for age 14+)

When They See Us

A four-part dramatized series, “When They See Us,” is based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case. Five male suspects were falsely accused, then prosecuted though later exonerated through DNA evidence and a confession from convicted rapist Matias Reyes. Charges against the five men were vacated, and they eventually received a $41 million settlement. (Best for age 15+)

The Loving Story

Richard and Mildred Loving’s interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia sparked a legal battle that ended with the Supreme Court’s historic 1967 decision Loving v. Virginia. This documentary transforms their story from two-dimensional newspaper clippings and brings their story to life. (Best for age 14+)


13th takes an in-depth look at the American prison system and exposes our history of racial inequality. The documentary discusses uncomfortable truths like the fact that the U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population but has 25% of the world’s prisoners. (Rated TV-MA)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

5 Top News Sites for Kids

By Tracey Dowdy

Crossing the Atlantic once meant spending weeks onboard a ship; now we can be dipping our toes in the Mediterranean in a matter of hours. Geography and limited technology meant we had to wait for news to come through a letter. With the advent of radio the world got a little smaller and then smaller again with the arrival of TV.

Today, with the entire world before us on our laptops and smartphones, the world seems a much smaller place indeed. Events as important as the Ebola outbreak or the conflict in Syria, and even something as mundane as the score of last night’s game, are just a few clicks away.

When I was a kid and my parents turned on the news, I took that as my cue to go read a book. The news was dead boring to me and I had little interest until I was an adult. In contrast, today’s kids are global citizens. They have a much better awareness of world events and, because the world is a smaller place, it’s more important that they have an understanding of the world around them.

These sites make the news accessible, while being mindful of what’s appropriate for different age groups. They cover everything from politics to technology, providing a valuable resource for keeping kids informed. As a bonus, stories are broken down to make it easier to understand complex issues, something that often comes in handy for adults as well!

News-O-Matic is a newspaper style website for kids 7-10 years old. Every day five stories are written by experts and screened by a child psychologist to ensure age-appropriate content. Kids can choose from stories, puzzles or a word game, and the “Read to Me” feature is ideal for kids who struggle with auditory processing or verbal skills. Enabling location services allows the silly but entertaining distance tracker to measure the distance between your location and the location of the story. For example, the distance from your house to the Vatican can be measured in pope hats. (Ages 7+)

Scholastic Kids Press Corps features news stories from a group of 50 kids ages 9-14. Kids apply for the position and are chosen based on their reporting and writing skills. Stories, videos and blogs cover a variety of topics from current events to pop culture or movie and book reviews. Users can choose content by subject or by reading level and because it’s written by kids it’s always at their level. (Ages 9+)

Tween Tribune is focused on getting kids to follow the news. Content covers current events as well as pop culture and is divided into different sections by age group as well as a section dedicated to Spanish content. This isn’t a hard-hitting news site. The focus is on human interest stories, technology, fashion, health, and sports. (Ages 10+)

Nick News features content from “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee.” Story content ranges from lighter topics like The National Spelling Bee to heavier subjects like the conflict in the Middle East. All subjects are explored with the audience in mind, so even difficult stories are covered in a manner that presents facts without overwhelming or frightening users. (Ages 11+)

The Learning Network takes stories from the New York Times and breaks them down for kids. Readers get stories, quizzes and crossword puzzles, learn a word of the day, and go back in time with “On This Day,” which features front page stories from the past. Parents should be aware content is from the Times so tough subjects like war and poverty are frankly discussed. (Ages 12+)

This is by no means an exhaustive list. TIME magazine, NBC News and CNN all feature news geared to kids and teens. The most important thing is to get your kids reading. Use the content on these sites to start a conversation and teach your children critical thinking skills. Help them to see themselves as global citizens so they can understand the world from a broader perspective.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.