Invisible Child

She called her living arrangement “the house,” even after her family was moved into one cramped room. She choreographed her own privacy, taking turns with her siblings to undress while the others looked away. They maneuvered around the shelter’s rules as well. Residents were banned from bringing in bleach, yet the janitors refused to clean the bathrooms. So the children swiped the janitors’ bleach and scrubbed the floors themselves. On the outside, Dasani seemed steady. She kept a poker face when the staff scolded her thirty-three-year-old mother as if Chanel were a cheeky adolescent. Yet these episodes left their mark. “Sometimes it feels like, ‘Why you guys messin’ with my mom?'” To mess with Chanel was to mess with Dasani. There was no separating mother from daughter. They felt the same anger, the same humiliation. Feelings passed between them like oxygen.

Still, Channel tried to shield Dasani from the worst things… Smaller degradations were part of daily life.

—  Andrea Elliott, Invisible Child Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City (Random House, October 5, 2021)

One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by New York Times Book Review: “Dasani Showed Us What It’s Like to Grow Up Homeless. She’s Still Struggling.”


  1. Phew…. thanks for the book quote, David… just glad to know you are “alive and well”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh-h heartache! but she has so much inner strength, Dasani, named after the water. When I first encountered her on the cover of the NYTimes magazine, I was struck by her power–reminds me of another powerful black woman, Serena Williams. This tossed about life is being encountered by countless people all over our Earth…no home at the Inn!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Wow!! …. “Still, Channel tried to shield Dasani from the worst things … Smaller degradations were part of daily life.” — Andrea Elliott, Invisible Child Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City (Random House, October 5, 2021).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reality check. Moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi David – You know I dip in and out of the blog these days due to work commitments. And predominately I follow photoblogs – but your blog is addictive and I find myself reading and following links probably more that any other non photoblog – anyway I just wanted to share that – have a wonderful Christmas season and stay safe. all the best Scott

    Liked by 2 people

    • Scott, the timing of your note to me…so good. Your words so meaningful, and so timely. You’ll get a flavor of what’s going on with my blog in this morning’s post. I appreciate you. Happy Holidays Scott. Dave

      Liked by 1 person

  6. this sounds like a beautifully written book, raw, honest and powerful. i’m going to look for it

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Made me think of another book I ‘hated’ to read because it was so revolting about what happened to that young woman and couldn’t put aside because it was so captivating, interesting, well written, so full of compassion, love and understanding way beyond that girl’s age. Let me search for the title…..

    a few hours later: Got it (after a meandering trip to Desert Flower etc.)
    The girl with the louding voice by Abi Daré
    As I know that you very much appreciate The Guardian literary reviews, here a link:

    yes, I see it clearly: It’s clearly another one of those books one really, really should read – a ‘must read’ if you want…. and off we go with this title on the ever growing list!
    Thank you for ‘these’ reminders of What’s Important.

    Liked by 1 person

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