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A groundbreaking study of the impact of current events on the lives and minds of children from the Pulitzer Prize-winning child psychiatrist.
Most parents teach their children the lessons and skills they need to function in the world while trying to shield them from the harsher realities of life. But long before children are considered ready to face the complications of the real world, they are learning truths and perspectives most adults imagine are beyond them.
Child psychiatrist and author of The Spiritual Life of Children, Robert Coles traveled the globe for more than a decade, from Northern Ireland to Nicaragua, South Africa to Southeast Asia, across the United States and beyond, conducting in-depth interviews with children about their cultures, ideologies, national pride, and political knowledge. He learned that the greater challenges, traumas, conflicts, and issues of the world around them find their way into children’s impressionable minds and play a crucial role in their development.
Robert Coles’ unique and groundbreaking research sheds much-needed light on the psychology of childhood, revolutionizing both professional and personal understanding of humans’ formative years.
“Robert Coles is to the stories that children have to tell what Homer was to the tale of the Trojan War.” —The New York Times Book Review
Children only four or five years of age are capable of developing outspoken, blunt and imaginative political views. Coles, in this companion volume to The Moral Life of Children (reviewed above), explores young people's developing political consciousness. A 12-year-old Hopi Indian girl despairs, "Everything, everyone is the white man's.'' A Cambodian in Boston who saw his parents killed when he was five struggles to make sense of two worlds. Children's political views, Coles insists, aren't always a carbon copy of those of their parents or other adults. In Poland, where the government tries to indoctrinate kids into Communism, a girl fantasizes dropping a Soviet missile on Warsaw bureaucrats whom she despises. On the other hand, there is depressing evidence that a cycle of hatred continues in Belfast and South Africa, where children mirror their parents' racial or religious divisiveness. Proof of the abiding power of nationalism is found in conversations with Nicaraguan, French Canadian and American children. January 28