Childhood tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and curable infectious disease that remains overlooked by public health authorities, health policy makers and TB control programmes. Childhood TB contributes significantly to the burden of disease and represents the failure to control transmission in the community. Furthermore, the pool of infected children constitutes a reservoir of infection for the future burden of TB. It is time to prioritise childhood TB, advocate for addressing the challenges and grasp the opportunities in its prevention and control. Herein, we propose a scientifically informed advocacy agenda developed at the International Childhood TB meeting held in Stockholm, Sweden, from March 17 to 18, 2011, which calls for a renewed effort to improve the situation for children affected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposure, infection or disease. The challenges and needs in childhood TB are universal and apply to all settings and must be addressed more effectively by all stakeholders.