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The Heart of a Boy: 16 images and quotes that capture the magic of boyhood

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.


"I prefer to be my own self because when I am ... I just am." Oisin, age 6

"My teammates are my brothers -- my family." Walker, age 17

"I'm not scared to do anything." Grayden, age 9

"I have many friends. I loved them since I met them. It just seems right." Axel, age 5

"Brownie batter and basketball do mix!" Owen, age 9

"Be nice to everyone." Jackson, age 10

"Breaking my leg was the worst thing ever. I missed running around and still can't run as fast as I used to, but I did learn that I really like making comics. I made 23 comics with 293 pages of full color when I was recovering." Brooks, age 8

"I feel happy when people watch me dance. I like the movement of dance, and getting to learn new variations." Daniel, age 11

"I picked this for my mommy." Sam, age 5

"Some people think I am not smart because I am dyslexic, but I am smarter than people think. And I am proud that I think differently and learn differently than other people." Ryan, age 10

"The hardest part of swimming is trying not to count to four. I am only supposed to count to three and then breathe." Ojore, age 5

"I'm trying to grow my hair longer than my dad's. And I'm gonna win." Waylon, age 5

"People say, 'You look like a girl. Your hair is too long, your hair isn't normal, your hair doesn't look like boy hair. Why are you wearing pink leggings? Why do you wear tight clothes? Why do you wear so much jewelry?' But I like the way I am." Atticus, age 9

"When I paint, I feel like I can do what I want. I can be creative without someone telling me what to do. It's like there aren't any rules." Smith, age 8

"I like that it's okay to get messy when making art." Mason, age 7

"I've learned that you've got to make the most of everything and have fun where you can. I appreciate the simple things like going outside in my yard and running around." Jude, age 13