Latin American history - the stuff of wars, elections, conquests, inventions, colonization, and all those other events and processes attributed to adults - has also been lived and partially forged by children. Taking a fresh look at Latin American and Caribbean society over the course of more than half a millennium, this volume explores how the omission of children from the region's historiography may in fact be no small matter. Chidren make up one-third of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, and over the centuries they have worked, played, worshipped, committed crimes, fought and suffered in wars. Regarded as more promising converts to the Christian faith than adults, children were vital in European efforts to invent loyal subjects during the colonial era. In the contemporary economics of Latin America and the Caribbean - where 23 per cent of people live on a dollar per day or less - the labour of children may spell the difference between survival and starvation for millions of households.
Tobias Hecht is the author of "At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil." A freelance writer, editor, and literary translator, he holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge.