There is only one child in the world
and the child’s name is All Children.
—Carl Sandburg

Standing on the side of the road to Jericho a small child with his camel waits for tourists to stop and give him a few coins for a ride. In other parts of the world the camel is gone and a lemonade stand takes its place.

two princessesIn Siaya, Kenya children kick a ball made of trash and tape, playing soccer with World Cup enthusiasm. Little girls dress as princesses in Africa and France and best friends walk down a dusty path in Bangladesh, proud of their pretty dresses.

I document the ravages of illness, hunger and poverty, creating the stark images afforded those issues. But there are always children, and in the midst of oppressive forces the children are undaunted. Their spirit lifts them, and in turn me, above the tumult that surrounds us.

GirlsBangladeshIn every corner of the earth there are children, unfettered by the politic of adulthood, making the same discoveries of wonder and amazement and offering up their dreams in a smile. Illness and sadness also affect them, but lacking guile and intrigue they live without irony,  expecting the best of the world.

Somewhere along the line it changes: Cultural demands intrude and barriers are erected, but for a moment in time the joy and innocence of youth shines the same through each child.

It is a moment that gives us all hope.


Photographs: A boy and his camel on the road to Jericho in the West Bank; young princesses in Kenya and France; young girls in Bangladesh; and boys in Siaya, Kenya give a thumbs up after a makeshift game of soccer.

Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.

  1. I love this – it’s so simple and sweet and true. Just like a child…

    I’m sending this link to all the people I know who need something simple and sweet.

  2. This is why I teach Kindergarten. The joy, humor, wonder my students feel is contagious. They are amazed at everything they are learning about the world. They are so accepting of differences then too. It makes me sad when I see these same students in 5th grade as they are getting ready to leave our school. A lot a them have had a complete change of attitude. They are jaded, angry, intoleratant. What happens? If only we could hang on to the joy and innocence of childhood for a little longer.

  3. Melinda Ennis

    Billy. This is so incredibly lovely, both the pictures and the words. I just read the book “The Help” and I am reminded of what was to me, the saddest thing in the book. It was when one of the black maids who is telling her story is talking about all the many white children she took care of. The intense love the children all had for her (and she for them) was innocent of any anything but the purity of that emotion. And then there was the moment she always dreaded when the children would be made aware of race, and the love, while still there, changed. By the way, the book is flawed but worth the read for anyone who even vaguely remembers those horrible days.

    I especially love the picture of the beautiful girls in their beautiful dresses. The one looking over her shoulder and back to you is a heartbreaker.

  4. Billy, your heart makes me happy. thanks for not letting us forget the big picture!

  5. Thank you Billy…this is evidence of your compassionate heart.

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