Kamenetz combines tales from the front with analysis of what happened to systems meant to support the nation’s children and their families — and the ways in which the pandemic revealed that they were barely systems at all.

As a correspondent for National Public Radio, Kamenetz began receiving e-mails from mental health professionals in June 2020. Their increasingly urgent message as the months wore on: The kids are not all right.

Depression among young people was skyrocketing, as were exhausted therapists’ caseloads. Among the children whose poignant stories Kamenetz recounts is Oliver, a kindergartner who simply stopped eating and took to his bed once he understood that he would not return to school.

We now know that learning loss…

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