An NPR education reporter shows how the pandemic disrupted children’s lives—and how our country has nearly always failed to put our children first
The onset of COVID broke a 150-year social contract between America and its children. Tens of millions of students lost what little support they had from the government—not just school but food, heat, and physical and emotional safety. The cost was enormous.
But this crisis began much earlier than 2020. In The Stolen Year, Anya Kamenetz exposes a long-running indifference to the plight of children and families in American life and calls for a reckoning.
She follows families across the country as they live through the pandemic, facing loss and resilience: a boy with autism in San Francisco who gains a foster brother and a Hispanic family in Texas that loses a member to COVID, and finds solace when they need it most. Kamenetz also recounts the history that brought us to this point: how we thrust children and caregivers into poverty, how we over-police families of color, how we rely on mothers instead of infrastructure. And how our government, in failing to support our children through this tumultuous time, has stolen years of their lives.
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Anya Kamenetz is the lead digital education correspondent for NPR. Previously she worked as a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. She's contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, Slate, and O, the Oprah Magazine, and has won multiple awards for her reporting on education, technology, and innovation. She is the author of four books: Generation Debt, DIY U, The Test, and The Art of Screen Time. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.