A Place in the Middle

A Place In The Middle: An Educational Toolkit for Cultural Empowerment & Gender Diversity

A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE tells the true story of an eleven year-old Hawaiian girl who dreams of leading her school's all-male hula troupe. The only trouble is that the group is just for boys. She's fortunate to have a teacher who understands what it means to be "in the middle" - the Hawaiian tradition of embracing both male and female spirit. Together they set out to prove that what matters most is what's in your heart and mind.

This youth-focused educational film is a great way to get K-12 students thinking and talking about the values of diversity and inclusion, the power of knowing your heritage, and how to create a school climate of aloha, from their own point of view!

The film is accompanied by a Classroom Discussion Guide that includes background information about Hawaiian culture and history, discussion questions, and lesson plans aligned with the Common Core State Educational Standards and additional educational benchmarks.

The complete film, Discussion Guide, and other resources, including a displayable "Pledge of Aloha," are available for free at APlaceintheMiddle.org. They are also available on the trusted educator's website PBS LearningMedia, and in hard copy upon request.

From the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals to classrooms across the United States, A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE is proving to be a powerful tool to talk about the intersections between gender, identity and culture, and the positive outcomes that occur when schools welcome students with love, honor and respect.

View the short film trailer HERE.

What people are saying about A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE

"An inspiring coming-of-age story on the power of culture to shape identity, personal agency, and community cohesion, from a young person's point of view.

-Cara Mertes, Ford Foundation


"A valuable teaching tool for students in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as for parents and teachers."

-Carol Crouch, Eleʻele Elementary School, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi


"An amazing tool to help educators understand the need for acceptance for each and every child regardless of gender expression."

-Tracy Flynn, Welcoming Schools


"One of the most positive films about the trans experience I've ever seen."

-Jennifer Finney Boylan, author and writer-in-residence at Barnard College


"Uniquely accessible for youth."

-Gender Spectrum


"A true-life 'Whale Rider' story."

-The Huffington Post

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