CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE TOO: How We Fail Our Children and How We Can Love Them by Virginia Coigney

CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE TOO: How We Fail Our Children and How We Can Love Them

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ms. Coigney whose approach approximates that of John Holt in his Escape from Childhood (1974) calls for a firm recognition of the rights of children on all levels. She has apparently been so fired by the justice of her cause that she tends to excess in both statement and illustration. ""The [USA] abounds with evidence that we hate our children--not all of us and not all of the time; but many of us, a good deal of the time. Some of us all the time."" There follows a roster of abuses, indignities, exploitative practices, cruelties and stupidities used against kids: discipline imposed for the sake of the adult; mistreatment of the mentally ill child; callous handling of both legal offenders and ""innocents"" in the juvenile court system; malnutrition; a school system fiddled with failure; the commercial trash on TV; the lack of ethical models for the young to emulate. Ms. Coigney covers an immense territory in what could only be called high dudgeon, citing a large store of sensational particulars, and resorting to oversimplifications, which may sound grand from a platform but which demand qualification in print: ""We are not willing, we comfortable ones, to make any appreciable change in our manner of living to ensure that every child in the world has one good meal a day. . . ."" (This charge might make more sense if there were demonstrable evidence that any individual or group action today could ""ensure"" such a happy result.) Or "". . . as a nation we are in the main unsentimental about how the world's children live."" (She forgets the unexpected success of the fund raising for Bangladesh, due in a large part to the terrible photographs of suffering children.) A worthy subject weakened by an overwrought, slapdash treatment, not as convincing as Howard James' work The Little Victims (see below) which covers the same territory.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1975
Publisher: Morrow