When Alex opens his orange mouth to speak, his voice comes out in a half-gasp.

“My dad is…” he says, before pausing to collect himself. “My dad’s in jail,” he says, his eyes locked on the ground.

Meet Alex, the first Muppet to have a parent in prison.

“I just miss him so much,” the Muppet says. “I usually don’t want people to know about my dad.”

While incarceration might seem like an unusual topic for an educational children’s show, Sesame Street has never shied away from taboo topics over the years, touching on everything from suicide to divorce.

And with two million Americans locked up in the country’s prisons, Sesame Workshop – the non-profit organization that runs Sesame Street – decided it was time to talk about incarceration. Along with a short video featuring Alex and his friends, the group also released a free online kit for parents helping their young kids cope with the incarceration of a loved one.

“The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers,” the website for the Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration initiative says. “In simple everyday way, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments.”

The website also includes poster kits that help kids express their feelings and tips for parents to talk to their kids about the touchy topic.