Nice & Lily

Nice & Lily is a play by Rachel Grossman for 4-6yo and their adult companions about diversity, identity, and talking about race. Her director/collaborator is Danielle Drakes.

Early stages of development for Nice & Lily occurred in 2017, supported by a FY17 Individual Artist Project grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The character Nice was developed by friend and collaborator Natasha M. Gallop. Natasha and Rachel presented a workshop performance of the young child section of Nice & Lily at the Petworth Community Library in September 2017 (Natasha as “Nice,” Rachel as “Lily.”)

Sydney Koffler is designing the book, Our Townspeople, for the play.

contact Rachel for an early draft of the script or to receive informaton about testing sessions and workshops.


We know:

  • Babies as young as 6 months stare longer at a face from a racial group different than their own. (Phyllis Katz, 2000-2010)
  • Children as young as 3 make distinctions based on race, even when race is not discussed (Phyllis Katz, 2000-2010) and start to prefer and ascribe positive attributes to their own racial group more often (Rebecca Bigler, 1993)
  • By age 5, children see race as a major point of difference or distinction, even when it is not discussed. (Phyllis Katz, 2000-2010)
  • By age 7, children can accurately reflect social status bias and will make choices or judgments based on who they perceive as having more power or privilege. (Bigler, Averhart, & Liben, 2003)


  • Research on family habits indicates that parents of color are three time more likely to discuss race with their children than white parents. The majority of white families never or almost never talk about race at home. (Brown, Tony N., Emily E. Tanner-Smith, Chase L. Lesane-Brown, and Michael E. Ezell, 2007)
  • When we don’t talk about race with our kids, they fill in the blanks, extrapolating from an often inequitable and segregated existence filled with racial messages. (Phyllis Katz, 2000-2010) (Brigitte Vittrup, 2006)
  • One study showed that when white children of white parents (who intentionally enrolled in a study about children’s racial attitudes) were asked “Do your parents like black people?” 14 percent said “no, they don’t,” and 38 percent said “I don’t know.” Almost 90 percent of the enrolled parents were very reluctant or refused to talk directly about race with their children. (Brigitte Vittrup, 2006)



Learn more about talking with children, starting at a young age, about racism, identity, and inequality.

From “What we Know” (more facts!)

From “When do we become Racist?”

From Teaching Tolerance: “Colorblindness: the new Racism?

From blog/website Raising Race Conscious Children: “White as ‘Right’: Why I don’t normalize Whiteness with my children”

EmbraceRace, Raising a Brave Generation (a website for adults who interact with children in all the ways seeking to fight racism and promote social justice)

Want more? Contact Rachel

Photo jamieskinner00/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)