Book round-up: Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Tragedy of Children’s Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate

Hidden in Plain Sight reveals why fundamental human rights and principles of dignity, equality, privacy, protection, and voice are essential to a child’s journey into adulthood. In her book, Barbara Bennett Woodhouse explores how understanding rights for children leads to a better understanding of human rights for all. In a moving account of children’s rights throughout American history from Benjamin Franklin to Lionel Tate, Woodhouse asks why the United States alone rejects the most universally embraced human-rights document in history, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. She calls on the United States to again become a leader in human rights and children’s rights.

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. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8613.html