How the Myth of Childhood Innocence Undermines Teenage Activism

Kids Are on the Front Lines of Society's Problems, but They're Treated as Less Than Full Citizens

Since the 1960s, so-called “youth movements” worldwide have been led by college-aged students. What has been less accepted, and less noted, is that children under 18 also have participated in social movements throughout history. Often they have been written out of the history of these social movements or given only a mere descriptive mention.

One example is Barbara Johns, who in 1951 at age 16 led a student strike at Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, to protest overcrowding and inadequate conditions at the segregated school there. Johns …

Longing for the Softer Side of Hurricanes

A Continent Away from Horrible Destruction, I Miss the Familial Routines of My South Florida Childhood

After school, whenever I walked into my family’s home in Davie, Florida, I was always reminded of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which decimated nearly 64,000 homes some 60 miles away in …

How My Parents’ Wartime Gamble on Greyhounds Paid Off

The Sentimental Journey of My WWII Childhood Mixed Dog Racing with an Idyllic Life on the Road

The greyhound racing tracks were like big shiny carnivals, but I could only see them from the outside. Kids weren’t allowed in where people were gambling. Sometimes mother took …

Why Believing in Monsters Is a Rite of Passage

Creatures of the Night Give Shape to Fears and Put Our Moxie to the Test

Rawhead and Bloody Bones
Steals naughty children from their homes,
Takes them to his dirty den,
And they are never seen again.

—Traditional Nursery Rhyme, Yorkshire, UK

Ours was a safe …

Element

The wind would be water and fire,
would be earth—sand and gravel,
mud churning, even magma—

as I held my hand out from
the car on drives back to Texas.
The …

Home Is Wherever There Is Peace

I Left Venezuela's Political Chaos and I Have Been Searching for an Escape Route Ever Since

Growing up in my hometown of Caracas, I wanted nothing more than to be seen as a sifrina. To be, in Venezuelan slang, counted among the rich kids—a spoiled, fashionable …