Sociologists often study exotic cultures by immersing themselves in an environment until they become accepted as insiders. In this fascinating account by acclaimed researcher William A. Corsaro, a scientist "goes native" to study the secret world of children.
Here, for the first time, are the children themselves, heard through an expert who knows that the only way to truly understand them is by becoming a member of their community. That's just what Corsaro did when he traded in his adult perspective for a seat in the sandbox alongside groups of preschoolers.
Corsaro's journey of discovery is as fascinating as it is revealing. Living among and gaining the acceptance of children, he gradually comes to understand that a child's world is far more complex than anyone ever suspected. He documents a special culture, unique unto itself, in which children create their own social structures and exert their own influences.
At a time when many parents fear that they don't spend enough time with their children, and experts debate the best path to healthy development, seeing childhood through the eyes of a child offers parents and caregivers fresh and compelling insights. Corsaro calls upon all adults to appreciate, embrace, and savor their children's culture. He asks us to take a cue from those we hold so precious and understand that "we're all friends, right?"
"In this lighthearted, thought-provoking book that examines the social world of children, sociologist and ethnographer William A. Corsaro shares profound insights from nearly 30 years of observing children in such settings as sandboxes, dramatic play areas, and lines outside the bathroom. ... this book offers detailed observations and persuasive explanations of the ways children learn to adjust to social situations and cope with the realities of childhood. ... Corsaro weaves a colorful array of stories and examples as he examines topics ranging from social participation, sharing, and making friends to fantasy and pretend play, role-playing, and adjusting to adult rules. Within these topics, themes emerge through powerful illustrations that portray such examples as access strategies into social settings; fantasy play scenes of danger-rescue, lost-found, and death-rebirth; and strategies for delaying or avoiding cleaning up. ... This book is delightful to read and is highly recommended to anyone who seeks to understand the social world of childhood in the most authentic way possible through the voices of children."
-- Childhood Education, September 22, 2004
"...an absorbing account of a dedicated researcher who strived to better understand children by immersing himself in preschool culture. A scientific analysis as well as an intriguing personal narration of individual and illustrative case studies, We're Friends, Right? offers a new perspective on child psychology, development, and research. ...a seminal contribution to Child Development and Parentings Studies reference collections -- as well as highly recommended reading which is thoroughly accessible to non-specialist readers with an interest in gaining an informed and informative insight into the complexities of early childhood."
-- Wisconsin Bookwatch, March 2004
"Lots of people write about children. William Corsaro had the patience to sit down in the sandbox and the playground and listen to them first. What he found out will open your eyes. We're Friends, Right? is a landmark"
-- Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point
"Corsaro's book contains unique and valuable policy insights into early education issues..."
-- Library Journal
"[A] colorfully written book. ... William Corsaro, a renowned sociologist and child ethnographer, passionately describes the social world of children based on his cross-cultural observations that span over nearly 30 years. ... I highly recommend this book to childhood sociologists, family and early education sociologists and specialists, psychologists, parents, and anyone else who wants to understand the social world of children and childhood through the voices of children."
-- Children, Youth and Environments, 2004
"...Corsaro reveals the details of kid culture in a way that few professional experts can. The results might seem of most interest to parents and teachers, but in fact his approach makes it an illuminating read for everyone."
-- Focus, April 1, 2004
"Corsaro is legendary as a researcher of children and now he has done it again, and done it even better. With his admirable and masterly grip on small children's worlds, he does brilliant justice to current claims about children's capacities and competencies, showing that their interaction is anything but chaotic. The conflict, friendship, rejection, and attraction are all portrayed through his empathetic eyes as humanly normal, rather than childishly preliminary. We're Friends, Right? is well-read and entertaining, and it promises to make the reader wiser."
-- Jens Qvortrup, professor of sociology, Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim
"William Corsaro paints an ethnographic portrait of the group life of young children with uncommon depth, insight, and accuracy. He suggests new aspects of what is important about high quality programs that foster continuity and close relationships. This is a lively, illuminating, and often funny book that will nourish both professionals and parents."
-- Carolyn Pope Edwards, Professor of Psychology and Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
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