The Sunday Read: ‘The Children in the Shadows’

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Prince is 9 years old, ebullient and bright; he has spent much of the pandemic navigating the Google Classroom app from his mother’s phone.

The uncertainty and isolation of the coronavirus lockdown is not new to him — he is one of New York City’s more than 100,000 homeless schoolchildren, the largest demographic within the homeless population.

Families like Prince’s are largely invisible.

Samantha M. Shapiro, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, has spent the last two years speaking with over a dozen homeless families with children of school age. On this week’s The Sunday Read, she explores what their lives are like.

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Credit…Illustration by Hokyoung Kim

“The Daily” is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Julia Longoria, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi and Rachelle Bonja. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.

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