In this study, Dimitra Hartas analyses contemporary childhood. She discusses the plurality inherent in childhood and the forces that shape children's experience of growing up in the 21st century. She engages with new lines of argument about diversity, difficulty and difference, and critiques the issues that affect children's quality of life such as market-driven values, poverty and civic engagement. Hartas shows how the right to childhood is being violated in both the developed and the developing world and how our consumerist culture is shaping children's lives in ways that are not always understood, and she advocates the rights to childhoods. She concludes by discussing policy and practice in early childhood education, and examines pedagogies that are responsive to ethics, diversity and difference.