Something in Common: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity with The Wiggles

© 2022 The Wiggles Pty Ltd.

For over three decades, The Wiggles have brought fun, friendship, and positivity to homes across the globe through musical performances, dances, and entertainment. With fans worldwide, spanning all borders, backgrounds, and boundaries, the children’s group has made an impact that has only grown with each generation. Wherever and however you listened and watched, the magic they inspired went far beyond the borders of your family’s TV set.

Tsehay Hawkins, the newest and youngest member of The Wiggles, has become one of those beloved figures, stepping into the role of the Yellow Wiggle—and being the first woman of colour to do so. Born in Ethiopia, Tsehay was adopted at seven months old and raised in Australia. Like many other children, she found her passion for dance through watching The Wiggles.

When the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, the leading charity devoted to improving the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system, reached out to Tsehay and The Wiggles to work with them on a children’s book, she jumped at the opportunity.

The book, titled Something in Common, takes inspiration from Tsehay’s story and from youth ambassadors of the Foundation family who shared their stories of adoption, experiences in foster care or their journey in the child welfare system.

“Growing up in a non-traditional family like mine, where I’m Ethiopian, my little brother is Colombian, and our parents are Australian, we’ve always felt different,” Tsehay explained.

Something in Common follows Yellow Wiggle Tsehay, a camp counsellor at Camp Wiggles, where she meets a lonely camper named Leo. Tsehay introduces Leo to other campers who all have something in common—they’ve all experienced child welfare. When we share our stories with one another, we can break down barriers and be better friends.

the wiggles

A believer in the power of representation, Tsehay was inspired to share her story so that other children from non-traditional families could see themselves in the book and feel proud of their families. Each e-book is available for free download, and for every download, AMJ Campbell will be donating to support Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.

“Even just reading the book with children and looking at the illustrations that depict diversity and inclusion will make it easier to stimulate conversation about complex issues,” Tsehay said.

For Chelsea, a psychology student, this story holds a different meaning but one that hits home for her all the same. Chelsea was removed from an abusive home at a young age and lived in several foster homes until she was adopted at seven years old.

Like Leo, Chelsea visited summer camp but never felt welcomed, as it was a family camp where everyone else had a mom and dad there except for her.

“When I went to summer camp, I was anxious about making friends because I felt that no one would understand why I moved around so much or why my family looked so different from theirs,” she explained. “This book addresses the anxiety that adolescents from the welfare system experience every day.”

According to the Foundation, 59,000 young people across Canada live in foster homes, institutional settings, or with extended family due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

“Often, when people think of foster care, they think of a very cookie-cutter scenario,” Chelsea shared. “There are so many different forms of foster care. When I was in care, I moved around every couple of months.

Trying to settle down and connect with the people around me was almost impossible. This is a huge issue for children in care. There is always a sense of wherever you are being temporary. There is a feeling that you don’t belong or aren’t wanted.”

Chelsea said she is thrilled to see diverse representation in Something in Common and how the book makes different non-traditional family settings relatable to kids unfamiliar with child welfare.

“Although all the children in the book came from different care scenarios, they could still find something in common and connect!”

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