Trick-or-treating. Flower girls. Bedtime stories. Bar and bat mitzvah. In a nation of increasing ethnic, familial, and technological complexity, the patterns of children's lives both persist and evolve. This book considers how such events shape identity and transmit cultural norms, asking such questions as: How do immigrant families negotiate between old traditions and new? What does it mean when children engage in ritual insults and sick jokes? How does playing with dolls reflect and construct feelings of racial identity? What does it mean for a child to be ""flower-girl material""? How does that role cement a girl's bond to her family and initiate her into society? What is the function of masks and costumes, and why do children yearn for these accoutrements of disguise? Rituals and Patterns in Children's Lives suggests the manifold ways in which America's children come to know their society and themselves.