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Photographer captures the magic of childhood in photo book about boys

Kate T. Parker photographed 200 boys for her second book, in an attempt to show what boyhood is like across the U.S.
/ Source: TODAY

For her 2017 book, "Strong is the New Pretty," Kate Parker photographed girls from around the country, celebrating the strength and beauty of young females. Two years later, the Georgia photographer is back, capturing "The Heart of a Boy" in a new book that showcases young men and the things that bring them happiness.

But the collection almost didn't happen. Parker, a mom of two daughters, says when she was initially asked by fans to write a book about boys, she was uninterested.

"I really thought our boys didn't need any help from me and were totally fine," Parker told TODAY Parents. "But reluctantly, I agreed to try and immediately, I was floored by the variety and the depth of feeling these boys were willing to share."

Parker photographed 200 boys for her second book, "The Heart of a Boy."Kate T. Parker

From there, Parker created the project, traveling the country to photograph around 200 boys between the ages of 4 and 20. "The Heart of a Boy" showcases boys playing sports, painting, climbing trees and doing other things they are passionate about.

"Really, it's the same message for girls and for boys," said Parker. "It's about celebrating our kids for who they are."

In addition to stunning photos, Parker reveals more about each young man by sharing a quote told to her during each photo shoot. Parker says she captured the funny, moving and honest remarks by photographing each kid during an activity they were passionate about and letting them talk.

Parker says once she began photographing boys for her project, she was "floored" by their willingness to share their feelings and hobbies.Kate T. Parker

"I wanted that representation of what boyhood looks like in San Francisco and in New York and everywhere," said Parker. "I wanted to try and make sure diversity was represented — economically and geographically and in every way that I could."

"I wanted to make sure there was a boy in the book that would inspire and be relatable to any boy if he picked it up."

Below are 16 images and quotes from Parker's latest book, "The Heart of a Boy."

For her book, "The Heart of a Boy," Kate T. Parker traveled the country meeting and photographing boys and learning what's at the heart of growing up male.