Julie Lythcott-Haims with Lower School students

Bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims has written about being a Black and biracial woman living in predominantly white spaces (“Real American: A Memoir”). She’s drawn on her experience as a dean of freshmen at Stanford University and as a mother herself to explain how overparenting harms children (“How to Raise an Adult”). And she’s provided young people with a guide to being a grown-up (“Your Turn: How to Be an Adult”). 

During a three-day visit to Blake, Lythcott-Haims explored all these areas with students, teachers, parents, alumni and the wider Twin Cities community as the 2023 Northrop and Blake Classes of 1955 speaker. As part of her residency, Lythcott-Haims addressed both an Upper School and Middle School assembly, where she told students to follow the personal and professional path that aligns with who they know themselves to be. At an open-to-the-public presentation, she talked about how to raise successful kids without overparenting (based on her 2016 Ted Talk). And she gave a Breakfast at Blake talk on what it means to be Black in white spaces. 

Over 10 classroom visits, Lythcott-Haims connected with students as young as first grade, sharing experiences from her childhood, as well as the story of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. In Middle School and Upper School English classes, students learned that when writing memoir you inhabit three personas: character you; narrator you; author you. 

Lythcott-Haims says this is the first time she’s had the opportunity to spend three days and discuss all three of her books at one institution. “To the [Northrop and Blake] Classes of 1955, who have made this possible, what generosity, imagination, foresight [in establishing this program]. You are really offering something incredibly special.”