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Kids Like Us

Kids Like Us: Using Persona Dolls in the Classroom by Trisha Whitney

Many people today are concerned about children’s social problems, from low self-esteem to bullying to violence. Studies confirm that the social environment has a powerful impact on learning and development. But parents and educators sometimes despair of solutions, concluding that children must inevitably be cruel to each other.

There is hope! It is possible to create a positive, supportive “child culture” in which teasing, bullying, and exclusion are nonexistent, in which each child can feel proud of her identity, in which empathy and mutual encouragement are the norm.Doll in wheelchair

Kids Like Us: Using Persona Dolls in the Classroom introduces one of the most effective ways to teach social skills in the classroom. Persona dolls, each with its own unique identity, come to the children with stories of their experiences and problems. Discussing and problem-solving at one step removed from reality enables the children to practice social skills like empathy, problem-solving, and standing up against bias. The dolls’ unique identities (family, culture, religion, race, likes and dislikes) reflect the children in the classroom and introduce diversity in a natural, comfortable way.

Trisha Whitney’s acclaimed book makes it easy to start using persona dolls with children from toddlers to primary ages.Large doll

Easy to use.

  • Clear five-step method
  • Rich with real-life examples
  • Worksheets for persona creation and story invention
  • Tips for working with children

Helps to teach a wide range of important skills.

  • Identifying feelings
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Doll in overalls

  • Comfort with diversity
  • Pro-social skills like sharing and cooperation
  • Self-esteem
  • Recognizing and standing up against bias


Doll with red hair and glasses

Kids Like Us book $20.00

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Praise for Kids Like Us

Kids Like Us is a new, needed, and outstanding resource for any adult who wants to nurture children’s healthy identity, attitudes toward differences, and skills for standing up for themselves and others in the face of unfairness. Guiding us step-by-step through the process of using storytelling with dolls, Kids Like Us wonderfully meets the most often made request from anti-bias education early childhood teachers.” –Louise Derman-Sparks

Kids Like Us presents a wonderful opportunity for early childhood teachers and providers to develop skills in delving deeply into the emotional lives of children. Teachers can explore any area of concern or interest to children through the safety of a doll’s experience. Whitney also offers a structure for thoughtful planning, as well as ideas for dialogue and responses to children’s questions about difficult topics.” –Cecelia Alvarado