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Sesame Street's Grover Helps Kids Adapt To Life During Pandemic

NOEL KING, HOST:

This is a confusing, stressful time for kids. And kids, you know what I'm talking about. So Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner from our podcast Life Kit got together with a special guest who wants to help make you a little less nervous. Here they are.

CORY TURNER, BYLINE: The past few months have been hard and weird. Right?

ANYA KAMENETZ, BYLINE: Yeah, schools have been closed. People are wearing masks.

TURNER: Your parents are super grumpy. Well, we've got something - or somebody - who can help.

ERIC JACOBSON: (As Grover) Hello, all you children and mommies and daddies. I hope you are all safe and well right now.

KAMENETZ: That's right. It's Grover from "Sesame Street." Cory and I got to video chat with him the other day.

TURNER: It's kind of like you might be doing with your teachers. And he asked us to tell you a couple of things.

KAMENETZ: First of all, it definitely feels like there's a lot that we can't control right now. But Grover says we can still be helpers.

JACOBSON: (As Grover) I put on my mask. And I am very safe. And I go to the store. And I pick up groceries. And I take them to people like Mrs. Crustworthy.

KAMENETZ: I was wondering - how does Grover fit his mask around that round, pink nose he's got?

JACOBSON: (As Grover) I made my own mask. And it is very stylish, too.

TURNER: So stylish. It has...

JACOBSON: (As Grover) Little, cute bunny rabbits. I designed it myself.

TURNER: In case you're missing your friends, Grover says he does, too.

KAMENETZ: He tries his best to stay in touch using video chat, like with Mr. Snuffleupagus.

JACOBSON: (As Grover) Just before talking to you, I was on with Snuffy - his left eye anyway. It's kind of hard to see all of him on a little tiny screen (laughter).

KAMENETZ: Grover says sometimes he likes to play games over video chat or they'll cook a meal together.

TURNER: He's busier now than ever seeing so many friends.

JACOBSON: (As Grover) Oh, and of course the penguins. They are my next meeting. We have a virtual lunch date. I guess they started early in another one of these apps here on my computer.

KAMENETZ: We also asked Grover the question that pretty much everybody's been wondering.

TURNER: Yeah, I know I have. When is this all going to be back to normal?

JACOBSON: (As Grover) I am sorry. I do not know. But that is OK not to know things. But I know that it will be over someday. And we will all get to see each other again and play with each other again. This is just for now. That is what my mommy says.

TURNER: And well, if that makes you feel kind of sad...

JACOBSON: (As Grover) It is OK to be sad every now and then. That is only human or monster. But this is going to pass. And we will all be able to get together, and we will all be able to celebrate when we do.

KAMENETZ: And our chat with Grover ended with something that always makes him feel better, he said - being grateful.

JACOBSON: (As Grover) I want to thank all of the people out there who are helping others, like nurses and emergency workers and the people at the stores. We should all thank them.

TURNER: That is such a great idea, Grover. In fact, let's send one big radio thank you right now.

JACOBSON: (As Grover) OK.

ANYA KAMENETZ, CORY TURNER AND ERIC JACOBSON: Thank you.

JACOBSON: (As Grover, laughing).

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That was Grover from "Sesame Street" talking to Cory Turner and Anya Kamenetz from Life Kit. You can listen to their whole conversation by going to npr.org/lifekit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.
Cory Turner reports and edits for the NPR Ed team. He's helped lead several of the team's signature reporting projects, including "The Truth About America's Graduation Rate" (2015), the groundbreaking "School Money" series (2016), "Raising Kings: A Year Of Love And Struggle At Ron Brown College Prep" (2017), and the NPR Life Kit parenting podcast with Sesame Workshop (2019). His year-long investigation with NPR's Chris Arnold, "The Trouble With TEACH Grants" (2018), led the U.S. Department of Education to change the rules of a troubled federal grant program that had unfairly hurt thousands of teachers.