• Invisible Child

  • Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City
  • By: Andrea Elliott
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 21 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (406 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A “vivid and devastating” (The New York Times) portrait of an indomitable girl—from acclaimed journalist Andrea Elliott

“From its first indelible pages to its rich and startling conclusion, Invisible Child had me, by turns, stricken, inspired, outraged, illuminated, in tears, and hungering for reimmersion in its Dickensian depths.”—Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, Library Journal

In Invisible Child, Pulitzer Prize winner Andrea Elliott follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani, a girl whose imagination is as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn shelter. In this sweeping narrative, Elliott weaves the story of Dasani’s childhood with the history of her ancestors, tracing their passage from slavery to the Great Migration north. As Dasani comes of age, New York City’s homeless crisis has exploded, deepening the chasm between rich and poor. She must guide her siblings through a world riddled by hunger, violence, racism, drug addiction, and the threat of foster care. Out on the street, Dasani becomes a fierce fighter “to protect those who I love.” 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?

A work of luminous and riveting prose, Elliott’s Invisible Child is like a novel. It is an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family and the cost of inequality—told through the crucible of one remarkable girl. 

Winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize • Finalist for the Bernstein Award and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award

©2021 Andrea Elliott (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A vivid and devastating story of American inequality.”—The New York Times

“A classic to rank with Orwell.”—The Sunday Times

“Andrea Elliott’s Invisible Child swept me away. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, Dasani’s journey kept me up nights reading. Elliott spins out a deeply moving story about Dasani and her family, whose struggles underscore the stresses of growing up poor and Black in an American city, and the utter failure of institutions to extend a helping hand. Invisible Child is a triumph.”—Alex Kotlowitz, bestselling author of There Are No Children Here  

What listeners say about Invisible Child

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narration is completely over the top

This might be a great book (the Times series was very well reported, if self-righteous) but it’s hard to tell through the highly affected, grating narration. The reader delivers every line either like she’s smugly lobbing the final riposte in an argument, or like she’s trying to weave a magical fantasy yarn for children. It’s tough to take. Her acting of Dasani’s voice literally made me cringe. It’s just a completely unnatural, distracting, and unpleasant narration style.

15 people found this helpful

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Wrong narrator for content

Unfortunately, the voice and inflection of the narrator just irritated me beyond belief. This is a story about an 11 year old NY child, one of 8 children, living in a homeless shelter with their drug addicted parents and who is the Grandchild of a person who lived in a NY housing project...The voice did not fit the content or character. When the narrator did the voice of Dasani I could not take it anymore. Someone with a NY accent or inflection could have brought the story to life. This narration felt like it was read by a White Librarian who volunteers in the inner city and that was their only exposure to poor black people. Terrible!

11 people found this helpful

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Superlative reporting, Heartrending story telling

In Andrea Elliott’s reporting, Dasani and her family come to life. I fell in love with that smart, proud, sassy, loving girl, and will root for her success always. Her family may have left something to be desired, but there are no perfect families. This is the human side of racism, poverty, and addiction. I feel like sending this book to Mitch McConnell.
I must also praise the voice actor. She adopted different voices for each family member. How she kept them straight is beyond me. I will buy this book to have as a future reference, but I feel I got more from this Audible version than I could from the written one, due to the excellence of the narrator.

8 people found this helpful

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Wee worth the lusten

I really liked the "stories" in this book and the passage of time over which they take place. Thanks go out to the author for putting the time and effort involved in writing this book. It was really a good look at the problems (clients/services) have and the consequences, often unforseen they bring.

I'm glad I listened. It is well worth the time

5 people found this helpful

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Incredible true story of one family’s fight to stay together in the battle against poverty

The Invisible Child is an incredible journey through the legal systems of NYC as lived and experienced by a family of ten including married parents and their eight children. The persistence of the family to stay together and take care of each other against all odds is a fight most families never experience. The author’s dedication in following this family through it all to expose the true story of poverty in America is outstanding. This should be a classroom textbook studies by all to promote understanding, empathy, and solutions.

4 people found this helpful

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An Important Book

This was a gut wrenching story but one of many hundreds of thousands that needed to be told. The narration was spot on. The listener does not need to hear a tougher sounding Brooklyn/NY accent to feel and imagine the utter despair and hopelessness of parents who cannot provide for their children, or of children being scattered far and wide from the only parents they've ever known. The narrator's sardonic manner throughout the book is a perfect representation of a broken system that continues to be broken year after year, decade after decade as history continues to repeat itself. All of which, by the way, is no accident!

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent, informative, heart-breaking,

I loved this book. The factual information about the various systems (welfare, child protective services, homelessness) and how they can destroy the children and families they are supposed to help, was seamlessly woven into the stories of Dasani and her family . The narrator, however, was hard to listen to. She did not vary her intonation no matter what, and emphasized or dramatized words that were not the important words in the sentence, which was both misleading and irritating. Her "voices" of the characters was not very well done, and all the males sounded the same. But the book was so compelling that it was not that hard to overlook the limitations of the narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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A fabulous book

I wish we could follow Desani and her family for another 8 years! The first hand account of homelessness and poverty is so sad but now I feel like “I get it” a little bit more. I loved this book and am grateful for what I learned.

2 people found this helpful

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Mesmerizing and thrilling story!

The story about Dasani and her family is heartbreaking but also inspiring. I learned so much about how people are treated and what leads to poverty.

2 people found this helpful

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moving

An amazing motivational page turner. a must read for all.hopibg for more from author.

1 person found this helpful