Troubled children

Book club selection looks at impact of poverty and inequality

“Our Kids:  The American Dream in Crisis” will be discussed at the June 10 meeting of the book club. The author is Harvard University political scientist Robert D. Putnam.

The event will be hosted by Bill and Nancy Myers at their Elk Grove home. It will start at 6:30 p.m. with a potluck dinner. Contributions of appetizers, side dishes, breads, salads and desserts are welcome. RSVP to Bill at

The book, says Bill, provides an intergenerational and spacial perspective on the currently hot topic of growing social and economic inequality in the United States.   And it demonstrates what social and medical science and common sense have long understood -- poverty and pronounced inequality are bad for society in general and especially harmful to children in particular.

For those who might want an alternative view of what produces happy and successful children who grow up to be functional, responsible, caring adults, Bill  suggests reading “Growing Up in a Culture of Respect:  Child Rearing in Highland Peru,” a 2006 study by anthropologist Inge Bolin. While about a society vastly different from that in the United States, this book will by implication goad your thinking about how we treat our own young people.

Photo: Some rights reserved by Emily Carlin