Parents' Guide: Friends Matter

The dictionary defines child's play as a simple task, but in reality it can be far more challenging

Sandi Ann Woods' welcome to America was so ugly that eight years later it remains seared into her memory. In 1989 Sandi, only 9, immigrated with her mother to New York City from the British West Indies. At her new school, where she arrived dressed in shabby clothes, her hair braided unfashionably, another nine-year-old girl, without provocation, announced that she hated her--and punched her. "My esteem was so low," says Sandi, now a vivacious 17-year-old high school senior, "I used to cry every night."

It would have been small comfort to Sandi to know she was not alone. Children of every...

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