Children. Poor children, orphans, abandoned children, children of the streets, abused children- children from Haiti and Russia. They stare at the reader from the pages of this book. To our surprise, most do not betray despair. We are hard pressed toMoreChildren. Poor children, orphans, abandoned children, children of the streets, abused children- children from Haiti and Russia.
They stare at the reader from the pages of this book. To our surprise, most do not betray despair. We are hard pressed to feel pity. They laugh and act silly just like any other children. They bask in the sun at the beach. They go on picnics. But the words of these children are presented alongside of the photographs. We read them and a door opens to the deep sadness that permeates so many of their lives. Yet their faces glow and we wonder why.
It is the suggestion of resilience that requires explanation, not the stressful histories or the occasional downcast expressions. Surely not all of them are doing well. But many seem to be. That is what is unexpected. That is what stops us in our tracks. Camaraderie is about encardrements, a French word referring to the frames that define a persons life. The author, Dr.
Robert Belenky, postulates that the children are sustained by a particularly important frame, their ancient, still vital culture. If we are to be of use to such children, Belenky argues, we must see them in their full context, framed by friends, families, community, and all that defines and enhances them.
And, he thinks, we can do this best through the arts. He offers Camaraderie as an example. Because Camaraderie overflows with photographs of remarkable children, it is fun to leaf through and thus has a place on everyones the coffee table. But its light touch and provocative social themes also makes it well suited to serious students of the human condition whether they be in kindergarten, graduate school, or in any of the grades between.