Invisible Child

Invisible Child

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction 2022


'A classic to rank with Orwell . . . I didn't want it to end' CHRISTINA PATTERSON, SUNDAY TIMES

Winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction
A Barack Obama Favourite Book of the Year

Winner of the 2022 Anthony Lukas Book Prize
Winner of the 2022 Gotham Book Prize
Winner of the 2022 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism
A New York Times 10 Best Books of 2021
A Time Top Three Books of the Year
An Atlantic Top Five Books of the Year

Finalist in the 2022 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

'This is non-fiction writing at its best - uncluttered, evocative and well-researched' GARY YOUNGE

'One of the most moving and extraordinary pieces of reportage I've ever read' BEE WILSON

'Simply put, this is a masterpiece' THOMAS HARDING


Based on nearly a decade of reporting, Invisible Child follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani Coates, a child with an imagination as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn homeless shelter. Born at the turn of a new century, Dasani is named for the bottled water that comes to symbolise Brooklyn's gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. As Dasani moves with her family from shelter to shelter, this story traces the passage of Dasani's ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north.

Dasani comes of age as New York City's homeless crisis is exploding. In the shadows of this new Gilded Age, Dasani leads her seven siblings through a thicket of problems: hunger, parental drug addiction, violence, housing instability, segregated schools and the constant monitoring of the child-protection system.

When, at age thirteen, Dasani enrolls at a boarding school in Pennsylvania, her loyalties are tested like never before. Ultimately, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning the family you love?

By turns heartbreaking and revelatory, provocative and inspiring, Invisible Child tells an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family and the cost of inequality.


  • This is non-fiction writing at its best - uncluttered, evocative and well-researched... This is not a polemic. Elliott bears witness but does not preach; she shows but rarely tells. She does not pretend to be a neutral bystander (how could you immerse yourself in a struggling family for eight years and not root for them?) but does not intrude on her own storytelling. It is not a morality play either. The villains are too elusive and the heroes too flawed for that. This is structural, generational poverty at work in all its gruesome, demeaning inhumanity and punitive, institutional brutality.
    Gary Younge, New Statesmen

About the author

Andrea Elliott

Andrea Elliott is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. Her reporting has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, a Scripps Howard Award and prizes from the Overseas Press Club and the American Society of News Editors. She has served as an Emerson fellow at New America, a visiting journalist at the Russell Sage Foundation and a visiting scholar at the Columbia Population Research Center, and is the recipient of a Whiting Foundation grant. In 2015, she received Columbia University's Medal for Excellence, given to one alumnus or alumna under the age of forty-five. She lives in New York City. Invisible Child is her first book, which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction.
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