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Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Tragedy of Children's Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate
Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Winner of the 2009 APSA's Best Book Award, Human Rights Section

Paperback | 2010 | $19.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691146218
384 pp. | 5 3/4 x 9 | 11 halftones.
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Hidden in Plain Sight tells the tragic untold story of children's rights in America. It asks why the United States today, alone among nations, rejects the most universally embraced human-rights document in history, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This book is a call to arms for America to again be a leader in human rights, and to join the rest of the civilized world in recognizing that the thirst for justice is not for adults alone.

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse explores the meaning of children's rights throughout American history, interweaving the childhood stories of iconic figures such as Benjamin Franklin with those of children less known but no less courageous, like the heroic youngsters who marched for civil rights. How did America become a place where twelve-year-old Lionel Tate could be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1999 death of a young playmate? In answering questions like this, Woodhouse challenges those who misguidedly believe that America's children already have more rights than they need, or that children's rights pose a threat to parental autonomy or family values. She reveals why fundamental human rights and principles of dignity, equality, privacy, protection, and voice are essential to a child's journey into adulthood, and why understanding rights for children leads to a better understanding of human rights for all.

Compassionate, wise, and deeply moving, Hidden in Plain Sight will force an examination of our national resistance--and moral responsibility--to recognize children's rights.


"With this thoroughly annotated, well-written book, Woodhouse performs an admirable job in helping readers to understand the complicated and ambiguous issue of children's rights in the US. Documenting some of the most egregious examples of the abuse and neglect of children with stories both personal and universal, she leads readers down the historical trail of legislative and judicial decisions made on children's behalf, and suggests others ripe for the making."--J. C. Altman, Choice

"This book is timely. Hidden in Plain Sight: The Tragedy of Children's Rights . . . will serve as a guide for all professions involved with children. The author has provided a discussion of the elemental rights of children, using historical narratives to illustrate the presence and lack of rights afforded them. . . . It is an important book and hopefully will result in definitive guidelines that will include needs-based and capacity-based standards that the legal, economic, and psychosocial professions can apply in determining the best interests of children."--Viola Mecke, PsychCRITIQUES

"This is a substantive book from an academic perspective while maintaining a very readable dialogue. And for absolute certainty, wherever you stand or thought you stood on the issue of children's rights, once you have read this book, you will never look at a children's story the same again."--Elizabeth Falter, Nursing Administration Quarterly

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