The Moral Life of Children

Front Cover
Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Dec 1, 2007 - Psychology - 320 pages
An in-depth investigation from the renowned child psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author: “Fascinating.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

In this searching, vivid inquiry, Robert Coles shows how children struggle with questions of moral choice. Bringing to life the voices of children from a rich diversity of backgrounds, including regions plagued by poverty or social unrest, he explores their reactions to movies and stories, their moral conduct, their conversations and relationships with friends and family, and their anxieties about themselves and the fate of the world. Whether they are from the poorest classes of Rio de Janeiro or middle-class America, these children lead lives of intense moral awareness.

“What meaning do terms like ‘conscience’ or ‘moral purpose’ hold for malnourished, sick, poorly clothed children in Brazilian slums or South African hovels, children whose main goal is to survive another day? In attempting to answer this question, child psychiatrist Coles shows how children in the most trying circumstances manage to maintain their moral dignity.”—Publishers Weekly


Psychoanalysis and Moral Development
Movies and Moral Energy
Moral Purpose and Vulnerability
On Character
Young Idealism
Social Class and the Moral Other
Children and the Nuclear Bomb
Index Illustrations follow page 148

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Boston-born psychiatrist and author Robert Martin Coles devoted his professional life to the psychology of children. Coles has been associated with the Harvard University Medical School since 1960. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his five-volume series entitled Children in Crisis, Coles has contributed hundreds of articles to popular magazines, as well as writing over thirty books for adults and children. Other books include The Mind's Fate, Flannery O'Connor's South, and Walker Percy: An American Search.

Bibliographic information