Skip to content
ascd logo

Join
December 1, 2022
Vol. 80
No. 4
Relevant Read

Through the Eyes of a Homeless Child

author avatar

    premium resources logo

    Premium Resource

    Equity
    Photo of the book cover for Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City
      "Children are bystanders, after all—no more to blame for their poverty than for their very existence." —Andrea Elliott (p. 518)
      When New York Times investigative reporter Andrea Elliott set out to cover the city's worsening homeless crisis in 2012, she chose to tell the story through the eyes of a child—one of the voiceless victims of poverty and inequity. Elliott began following 11-year-old Dasani Coates and her family of 10 at the city's Auburn shelter, a dilapidated building ripe with mold and bugs, where incidents of violence and child abuse keep residents on edge.
      What started out as a five-part series, "Invisible Child" (which can be read on New York Times' website), morphed into this 500-plus page book that gives educators a heart-wrenching glimpse into the lives of homeless students—and what it's really like to grow up poor and Black in urban America.
      Over eight years, Dasani and her seven siblings shuffle between shelters, subsidized housing, and government agencies in a dizzying cycle of hope and despair. At the Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts in Brooklyn, principal Paula Holmes and teacher Faith Hester—though worn down by their own difficult pasts—prove to be a positive force in Dasani's life. Through fights and suspensions, hunger, and countless school transfers, Dasani (labeled a "shelter boogie" by classmates) finds refuge in Holmes and Hester, two adults who believe in her worth and potential.
      A must-read for educators, this Pulitzer prize-winning book reveals the eye-opening conditions that homeless children face—every day—in their struggle for survival.

      Sarah McKibben is the director of digital and editorial content for ASCD.

      Learn More

      ASCD is a community dedicated to educators' professional growth and well-being.

      Let us help you put your vision into action.
      Related Articles
      View all
      undefined
      Equity
      From Learning Loss to a Liberatory Mindset
      Sonja Cherry-Paul
      6 days ago

      undefined
      Building Empathy with Poverty Simulations
      Tara Laskowski
      2 months ago

      undefined
      Leading with the Six Priorities in Mind
      Luis Eladio Torres
      2 months ago

      undefined
      Opening Doors to Advanced Math Courses
      Esteban Bachelet
      2 months ago

      undefined
      Why School Desegregation Still Matters (a Lot)
      sean f. reardon & Erin Fahle et al.
      2 months ago
      Related Articles
      From Learning Loss to a Liberatory Mindset
      Sonja Cherry-Paul
      6 days ago

      Building Empathy with Poverty Simulations
      Tara Laskowski
      2 months ago

      Leading with the Six Priorities in Mind
      Luis Eladio Torres
      2 months ago

      Opening Doors to Advanced Math Courses
      Esteban Bachelet
      2 months ago

      Why School Desegregation Still Matters (a Lot)
      sean f. reardon & Erin Fahle et al.
      2 months ago
      From our issue
      December 2022 / January 2023 header image
      Confronting Poverty in Schools
      Go To Publication