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Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City

Andrea Elliott, Journalist; Matthew Desmond, Sociology

February 24, 2022 · 6:00 pm7:00 pm · Livestream

Labyrinth Books; Princeton Public Library; Housing Initiative of Princeton; Humanities Council
Labyrinth Books, The Princeton Public Library, and Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) invite you to an important conversation about homelessness in America.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott tells an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality. Based on nearly a decade of reporting, Invisible Child, named 1 of the 10 best books of the year by the NYT, illuminates some of the most critical issues in contemporary America through the life of one remarkable girl. Matthew Desmond, who is one of this country’s most important scholars working on homelessness, joins the author in conversation.

Invisible Child follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani, named after the bottled water that signaled Brooklyn’s gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. Elliott weaves the story of Dasanis childhood with the history of her family, tracing the passage of their ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. As Dasani comes of age, the homeless crisis in New York City has exploded amid the deepening chasm between rich and poor.

Dasani must guide her siblings through a city riddled by hunger, violence, drug addiction, homelessness, and the monitoring of child protection services. Out on the street, she becomes a fierce fighter to protect the ones she loves. When she finally escapes city life to enroll in a boarding school, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family, and yourself?

Andrea Elliott is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. Her reporting has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award, among many other honors. Matthew Desmond is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, principal investigator of the Eviction Lab, a MacArthur Genius Fellowship recipient, and the author of four books, including the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

This online event is part of Labyrinth Books and the Princeton Public Library’s ongoing, jointly-sponsored series of events (LLL) and is cosponsored by Housing Initiative of Princeton and Princeton University’s Humanities Council. It is a fundraiser for HIP: tickets are pay-as-you-can, starting at $5. Click here to register. Attendance entitles you to 20% off a copy of Invisible Child at Labyrinth Books –a discount code will be issued at the event.

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