Abstract: The book is about how children, families, and communities in Australia influence one another. It focus particularly on how children's development is affected by different contexts. In addition to research evidence, the book provides some theoretical groundwork for understanding these mutual influences. The first section examines characteristics of children, focusing on the effects of disability, ethnicity, and gender. The second section explores how the development of children is influenced by families, schools, and neighbourhoods. The final section presents three examples of inventions by the wider community into the lives of children: child protection, the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, and social policies relating to children's services.