Join us when National Public Radio reporter and author Anya Kamenetz presents and signs her new book, THE STOLEN YEAR: How COVID Changed Children’s Lives, and Where We Go Now.
“The story of what happened to children during the pandemic isn’t over by a long shot. The decisions that led us here were made by powerful adults over centuries. We are still the ones in charge and there is time to make it right. We are at the start of what must be a generation-long process of redressing harms done to children. This is not the last global crisis they are going to see in their lives—this is a perilous world indeed we have brought them into. It’s our responses now that will be decisive going forward.” —from THE STOLEN YEAR
The pandemic has touched almost every aspect of our lives. Some of the most lasting harm was visited on children. In the United States’ response to the pandemic, we buried the needs of children. We allowed the childcare system to collapse, mothers were driven from the workforce, in the early days children went hungry in record numbers, and the bulk of our schools remained closed longer than our peer countries.
Though it is segregated, inequitable, and starved for resources, the American school system is the biggest, most reliable social welfare institution for 50 million children. When schools were abruptly shut, children missed basic medical care like vaccinations. Depression, anxiety, suicidality, obesity, eating disorders, and diabetes climbed. Two years into the pandemic, many of our schools are still struggling to keep school staffed and students healthy, safe, and cared for. How did this happen in one of the wealthiest countries in the world? What are the long-term ramifications of school closings? How do we help our kids as we move into a new normal where the pandemic is not going away?
Anya Kamenetz explores these questions in her new book THE STOLEN YEAR and shows the last true social safety net—the public school system—was decimated by the pandemic, and how years of short-sighted political decisions have failed to put our children first.
The roots of our crisis run far deeper than Covid. Kamenetz follows families across the country as they lived through the pandemic’s first year. And she dives deep into the political history that brought us to this point: Why we have no childcare system to speak of, how subsidies for families were cut to the bone, how children became the group most likely to live in poverty, how we over police and separate families of color, and how we are content to let the unpaid and underpaid labor of women, especially women of color and immigrants, stand-in for a void of public and collective concern for children.
Kamenetz makes the case that 2020 wasn’t a lost year—it was taken from our children, by years of neglect and bad faith. We have failed to put them first. THE STOLEN YEAR is a passionately argued and emotional story, but also a demand for recompense.
Anya Kamenetz is an 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 previous books: Generation Debt, DIY U, The Test, and The Art of Screen Time. She grew up in New Orleans and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
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.