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A boy who bonded with Biden through stuttering will write a children’s book.

They bonded nearly a year ago after Joseph R. Biden Jr. leaned in to greet Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old boy who stutters, during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

“Don’t let that define you,” Mr. Biden said, squeezing Brayden’s shoulder and looking him in the eye. “You are smart as hell.”

Months later, Brayden spoke at the Democratic National Convention, a remarkable display of courage and vulnerability that has been seen hundreds of thousands of times online.

Now, Brayden plans to tell her story in a picture book, “Brayden Speaks Up,” which will be released on August 10 by HarperCollins Children’s Books, the publishing house said.

The book will be illustrated by Betty C. Tang. Harper Collins said it was a two-pound deal and Brayden’s agent was David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates. Next year, Brayden plans to write a novel for children ages 8 to 12, HarperCollins said.

The announcement came as Brayden attended Mr. Biden’s inaugural celebration on Wednesday evening, reading aloud a famous passage from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Don’t ask what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. “

“When I heard that I had the opportunity to speak at the Democratic National Convention, I was so nervous! Brayden said in a statement. “What got me through and motivated me was knowing that I could be a voice for other children who stutter as well as for anyone who faced challenges. I only hope that my story will give a little more support and motivation to those who need it.

Mr. Biden has spoken openly about the “terrible fear and frustration” he experienced from his stuttering. He said it had embarrassed him and made him question himself and his abilities. And he said he tells young people who stutter that, if they persevere, they can overcome the challenge and discover new skills and strengths.

“I promise you,” Mr Biden wrote in a letter to the Stuttering Foundation in 2015 when he was vice president, “you need not be ashamed, and you have every reason to be. proud.

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Boy who bonded with Biden over stuttering will write children’s book

They bonded nearly a year ago after Joseph R. Biden Jr. leaned in to greet Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old boy who stutters, during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

“Don’t let that define you,” Mr. Biden said, squeezing Brayden’s shoulder and looking him in the eye. “You are smart as hell.”

Months later, Brayden spoke at the Democratic National Convention, a remarkable display of courage and vulnerability that has been seen hundreds of thousands of times online.

Now, Brayden plans to tell her story in a picture book, “Brayden Speaks Up,” which will be released on August 10 by HarperCollins Children’s Books, the publishing house said.

The book will be illustrated by Betty C. Tang. Harper Collins said it was a two-pound deal and Brayden’s agent was David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates. Next year, Brayden plans to write a novel for children ages 8 to 12, HarperCollins said.

The announcement came as Brayden attended Mr. Biden’s inaugural celebration on Wednesday evening, reading aloud a famous passage from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Don’t ask what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. “

“When I heard that I had the opportunity to speak at the Democratic National Convention, I was so nervous! Brayden said in a statement. “What got me through and motivated me was knowing that I could be a voice for other children who stutter as well as for anyone who faced challenges. I only hope that my story will give a little more support and motivation to those who need it.

Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation, said she was delighted that Brayden was considering writing a book. She said it showed how important it was to him and to others who stutter to have a role model in the White House.

“Being open is rule # 1, isn’t it?” Ms. Fraser said. “It’s the smartest thing you can do. Whether you’re a kid who stutters, an adult, or a politician running for office, being open about it takes all the pressure off.

Mr. Biden has spoken openly about the “terrible fear and frustration” he experienced from his stuttering. He said it had embarrassed him and made him question himself and his abilities. And he said he tells young people who stutter that, if they persevere, they can overcome the challenge and discover new skills and strengths.

“I promise you,” Mr Biden wrote in a letter to the Stuttering Foundation in 2015 when he was vice president, “you need not be ashamed, and you have every reason to be. proud.

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Children’s screen time has skyrocketed amid pandemic, alarming parents and researchers

Overall, children’s screen time had doubled in May compared to the same time a year earlier, according to Qustodio, a company that tracks the use of tens of thousands of devices used by older children. from 4 to 15 years in the world. Data showed that usage increased over time: in the United States, for example, children spent an average of 97 minutes per day on YouTube in March and April, up from 57 minutes in February, and nearly double that. use a year ago. – with similar trends observed in Great Britain and Spain. The company calls the monthly increase “the Covid effect”.

Children turn to screens because they say they have no alternative activities or entertainment – this is where they spend time with friends and go to school – while children Technology platforms are leveraging loyalty through tactics such as virtual cash rewards or “limited edition” perks to maintain daily usage “streaks”.

“It was a gift to them – we gave them a captive audience: our children,” said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The cost will be borne by families, Dr Christakis said, as increased online use is associated with anxiety, depression, obesity and aggression – “and addiction to the medium itself.” even”.

Basically, research only shows associations, which means heavy internet use doesn’t necessarily cause these problems. What worries researchers, at a minimum, is that device use is a poor substitute for activities known to be essential for health, social and physical development, including physical play and other interactions that help children learn to cope with difficult social situations.

Still, parents express a sort of desperation with their options. Sticking to prepandemic rules not only seems impractical, it can seem downright nasty to keep children from a major source of socialization.

“So I take it off and what do they do?” A puzzle? Learn to sew? Knit? I don’t know what the expectations are, ”said Paraskevi Briasouli, a business writer who is raising four children – ages 8, 6, 3 and 1 – with her husband in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Device time replaced sports on weekday afternoons and jumped 70% on weekends, she said.

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Chicago girl raises $ 22,000 for children’s hospital with friendship bracelets

As word of his fundraising spread, support grew locally and beyond. Hayley’s two sets of grandparents matched the first $ 1,500 she raised. She got a boost from Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, who bought bracelets in the colors of the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears and the Chicago flag. Mrs. Lightfoot also shared Hayley’s story on social media with the hashtag #ChicagoGoodWorks.

“The mayor has really started to step up a gear,” said Orlinsky.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also purchased three Chicago-themed bracelets, according to Orlinsky. The Chicago White Sox have recognized Hayley as one of the heroes of the Beyond Diamond team. Orders have come in from as far away as Hawaii and Italy.

Hayley, who is in second grade and enjoys dancing and acrobatics, makes most of the bracelets herself, looping colorful little rubber bands on her thumb and forefinger a few times. She had help from her family, including her little sister, Ellie, who sorts colors, and friends from her summer day camp who stepped in to help her fulfill her orders.

It takes Hayley about two minutes to make each bracelet, she says. She works on her bed while listening to Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson and asking Alexa to tell her vivid jokes.

She sells the bracelets for $ 3 a piece or $ 5 a pair and has offered variations on the holiday theme, including Hanukkah and Christmas.

“She was always giving people upselling opportunities,” her mother laughed.

The money for the bracelets was donated to the hospital’s Covid-19 relief fund, which provides personal protective equipment such as masks and goggles for staff members and families of patients, according to Tracey McCusker, associate director community involvement in the hospital.

“Hayley has been such an inspiration to all of us at Lurie Children’s Hospital,” Ms. McCusker said Wednesday. “She has definitely been a shining light through this pandemic, and we can’t thank her enough.

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Children’s hospitals are mobilizing to help cope with the influx of adult Covid-19 patients.

With a rising tide of Covid-19 patients threatening to overwhelm hospitals, public health officials across the United States are looking for a safety valve the Northeast used in the spring: borrow beds at children’s hospitals to treat adults.

Hospitalizations in the United States reached a record 104,600, according to the Covid Tracking Project, and the country set a record last week for the most deaths in a seven-day period.

“As fall has kicked in and wave two has hit, I think we’re seeing a lot more of this happening now,” said Amy Knight, president of the Association of Children’s Hospitals, a national group representing more than 200 American establishments.

It is rare for children’s hospitals in the United States to admit adult patients or relax their admission criteria, so the fact that this is done now is a testament to the severity of the crisis, according to Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, professor of pediatrics and virology. molecular and microbiology. at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

“I don’t even know if this was done during the H1N1 flu in 2009, so I can’t think of too many modern precedents,” he said.

Because coronavirus infections seem to largely spare young children, compared to adolescents and adults, children’s hospitals and pediatric departments in general hospitals tended not to be overwhelmed at the start of the pandemic.

“It was more like a trickle of kids who needed to be hospitalized,” Ms. Knight said.

Since then, however, the number of children infected and requiring hospital care has increased sharply, and children’s hospitals may have less space and resources at a time of year when the need for pediatric beds is greater. anyway tend to increase because of the flu.

“We’re much more limited in capacity for serious pediatric illness across the country,” said Dr. Brian Cummings, who works in the intensive care unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston. “It is clear that we are overloading the capacity of adults in intensive care, and then using an even scarcer resource concerns all of us who advocate for children.”

Despite this, children’s hospitals are mobilizing to help with the coronavirus outbreak in various ways. The Children’s Hospital Association released guidelines in April for several possible approaches, including taking in pediatric patients from general hospitals to free up space in these facilities and increase their maximum age for admission.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital, part of BJC HealthCare, began opening its doors to adult patients in November, and another St. Louis pediatric hospital, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, accepts transfers from adults who do not have Covid-19. Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital said it would temporarily increase its admission limit to admit patients up to 25 years of age.

During the first big wave in the northeast, from April to June, the MassGeneral Hospital for Children welcomed adult patients to its 14-bed intensive care unit. “As we saw hospitals become overwhelmed, everyone wanted to come together and do their part,” said Dr. Cummings.

The unit returned to normal over the summer, but with a further upward trend in cases in Massachusetts, he said: “We are really worried about having patients again within a week or so. next two.

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Reopen schools before a children’s vaccine

This is the Coronavirus Schools Briefing, a guide to the seismic changes in education in the United States that are occurring during the pandemic. Sign up here to receive this newsletter to your inbox.


The first adult coronavirus vaccines are almost here, but children’s vaccines will take much longer. Pfizer and Moderna pediatric trials are only just beginning for children over 12 years old.

So what does this mean for the timetable for the full reopening of schools?

For once we have some good news. Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, told Adam last month that it is “an added benefit when we get the vaccine for children”, but it is not a prerequisite. upon reopening. This has been echoed by many groups of teachers and medical experts.

“There is very little concern or feeling that the school should not be open because the children are not immunized,” said Colin Sharkey, executive director of the Association of American Educators.

Dr Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Board, said: “It is extremely rare for a child to die from this virus, so teachers are the ones who need it. must be vaccinated.

Teachers will be part of an initial group of people to receive vaccines, after health workers and people living in long-term care facilities. Even before teachers are vaccinated, their unions say elementary schools can be safely reopened, provided districts enforce testing, personal protective equipment, physical distance and ventilation protocols. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Young children are not at high risk of infecting others.

“You can reopen elementary schools before you have the vaccine for teachers, but the vaccine will create an assurance that everything is safe,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Above all, it is not only teachers who need to be protected. Day care staff and meal attendants, receptionists and bus drivers are all part of the school community.

“The equity angle is really important,” said Dr. Grace M. Lee, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Practice Innovation at Stanford Children’s Health. “Everyone who helps open a school will be essential to this workforce.”

Similar questions about access and equity for children, however, are months later. The vaccination process and timing for children will inevitably be very different, as researchers would only begin large-scale testing if they found no serious side effects.

“Vaccine developers are very much aware that children are not just miniature adults,” our colleague Carl Zimmer explained earlier this fall. “Their biology is different and can affect how vaccines work.”

For example, young children have a more active immune system than adults and may have stronger reactions, including more fever, body aches and fatigue.

Even once vaccines are available, conspiracy theories and mistrust could slow their adoption. Some governors have already said they will not impose vaccines. While the warrants promote herd immunity, medical and teacher groups fear it will simply distract from the main problem: keeping children learning.

“We will lose the war over whether to vaccinate if we strike up a conversation about whether it is mandatory,” Weingarten said. “Above all, we have to create trust.”


As the fall semester draws to a close, final evaluations and mid-term grades are due. And many, many children will have failed their lessons.

  • In Houston, the seventh largest public school district in the country, 42% of students failed two or more courses during the first grading period, compared to 11% in a normal year.

  • In Fairfax County, Va., Internal analysis found that the percentage of middle and high school students earning Fs in two or more classes rose to 11% in the first term of this year, from 6% a year ago. a year.

  • In Washington, DC, internal testing data shows a sharp drop in the number of kindergarten through second-graders who meet literacy criteria.

  • In Chicago, the nation’s second largest district, 13% of high school students failed math in the fall term, up from 9.5% last fall.

“We are obviously facing unprecedented learning losses and course failures,” said Brian T. Woods, a Texas superintendent, “and it will take years to mitigate them. In his district, the proportion of students failing at least one course in the first grading period has risen to around 25% from 8% last year.

But in many cases, it is the schools that have let their students down. Few of the children in the above districts have spent time learning in person this semester. Many have had difficulty accessing online courses. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged students suffer the most from continued distance learning.

In the spring, districts made major changes to student report cards – removing grades, securing A’s, or ensuring that performance during the pandemic is not factored into students. But many have since returned to normal scoring schemes.

A strong rebuke: Seven families sued the state of California on Monday for the quality of the education their children receive at home this year. In the lawsuit, they said distance learning exacerbated inequalities in schools and deprived minority students from poor families of their right to education.

A careful look: The Washington Post reported on one school where about 90% of first graders met the reading goal in March. In the fall, every child had fallen behind.


  • More than 200 faculty members at University of Florida requested a stay of in-person teaching the following semester. But only 78 will be allowed to teach remotely, Corbin Bolies reported for The Alligator, the student newspaper.

  • Male community college enrollments are dropping, especially among students of color, The 74 reported.

  • Colleges across the country are urging Congress to pass a $ 120 billion higher education relief bill.

  • The student government at the University of Maryland will distribute over $ 400,000 to classmates in need.

  • Students pursue both the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech for a partial refund of tuition and fees after the transfer of online courses.

  • An open letter: “We have every reason to expect the University to be – once again – swamped with infections when classes resume,” wrote the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professors are asking the university to cancel most in-person classes in the spring semester.

  • Parents in Washington DC, should schedule the return of children to classrooms in February, the Chancellor said.

  • In-person learning has temporarily ceased in 47 of the 50 largest districts in Minnesota, as cases climb.

  • Several districts of Virginia began to gradually progress to face-to-face instruction.

  • Maine plans to keep schools open even as cases increase. “This is largely not due to transmission at school,” the state education commissioner said. “It’s community based. It wouldn’t be the safest thing to do to close schools, even though people might think we should be closing schools.

  • A good read: In South Korea, the pandemic has added anxiety and protocols to the already grueling nine-hour college entrance exam. Thirty-five students who tested positive for the virus took the exam in negative pressure rooms in hospitals across the country.


Independent play is an important skill for kids, but winter could put a wrench in things. Here are a few ways to help promote a guide-less activity, even when the temperatures drop. Above all, give them space to make a mess.

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The latest on children’s antibodies

A study published Thursday found that children infected with the coronavirus produce fewer and weaker antibodies than adults.

While this finding sounds frightening, it may actually help answer long-standing questions about why children experience the virus differently than adults.

“We know that children are much less likely to get sick from the coronavirus,” said Apoorva Mandavilli, who covered the study. “This study indicates that they produce a less robust immune response to the virus, which, ironically, may be a good thing.”

There are three possible reasons:

First, fewer antibodies may indicate that children sick for a shorter period. (Usually, the sicker you are, the more antibodies you make.) Their weaker antibodies can indicate that children are defeating the virus before it has had a chance to wreak havoc on their bodies.

Second, less antibodies may also explain why children seem to transmit the virus less effectively. If they have fewer antibodies, it may mean that they have had lower levels of the virus.

“Having a ton of antibodies isn’t necessarily a marker of a good thing,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona at Tucson. “It usually means something went wrong at the start of the response.”

Third, a weak immune response may explain why children are usually spared from severe symptoms. Other studies have suggested that too strong an immune response may be to blame in people who become seriously ill or die from Covid-19. A human body can harm itself by attacking a foreign pathogen, such as the virus.

Some experts called for caution in interpreting the results, especially since the study was small and samples were only collected at one point. In addition, children already have stronger innate immune systems than adults, so their bodies may be better able to eliminate disease.

Either way, having weaker and fewer antibodies doesn’t seem to mean children are at greater risk for re-infections.

“You don’t really need a huge, overly robust immune response to maintain the protections over a period of time,” Bhattacharya said. “I don’t know if I would be particularly worried about children having a slightly lower antibody response.”


As colleges have become a major source of coronavirus outbreaks, student journalists are on the front lines of a vital national history.

Amelia spoke to university journalists across the country. While reporting on their own campus communities, they often report news from their administrations and peers.

“It’s weird being a student talking about other students,” said Eli Hoff, 19, editor of The Maneater, a University of Missouri student newspaper. Hoff and his colleagues announced cases in the fraternities, which he said drew jokes and harassment from Greek members.

After the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill abandoned plans to open for in-person teaching, Elizabeth Moore filed for public records. She and her colleagues at the Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper, then published articles based on more than 3,000 pages of documents, exposing internal faculty dissent over the plans to reopen and the epidemiologists’ prior warning.

“You could see a direct line of the decisions they made in May,” said Moore, 20. “It ended up causing harm. Lots of people got sick and people were moved from dormitories.

This report is essential. In places without a strong local presence in the news, student journalists are sometimes the only reporters left in town. As student epidemics often spread beyond the dormitories and affect local economies, their work is especially important.

Here are some great pieces of student journalism from the pandemic:


An updated New York Times survey of more than 1,700 US colleges and universities shows more than 252,000 cases and at least 80 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Most of the cases have been announced since the students returned to campus for the fall term; more than 38,000 cases have been added since the end of October.

Most of the deaths were reported in the spring and involved college employees. But at least three students – Jamain Stephens, a football player at the University of California, Pennsylvania; Chad Dorrill, second year student at Appalachian State University; and Grace College student Bethany Nesbitt (see below) – have died in recent weeks after contracting the virus.

With no national tracking system and statewide data available only sporadically, colleges set their own rules for how to count infections. While the Times survey is considered the most comprehensive account available, it is also an undercount.



“The hardest thing about single parenthood in the pandemic has been the abyss of loneliness associated with responsibilities that cannot be fulfilled,” Andrea Luttrell wrote for The Times’ Parenting section. “My son needs help navigating a remote school; it’s a situation designed for stay-at-home parents, but I can’t afford not to work. And I am one of the lucky ones. … I’m luckier and I feel like I’m drowning.

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