When Francesca Montanaro’s school shut down in March due to fears about the new new coronavirus, she had nowhere to go. Francesca’s mother is a nurse working long hours in New York City. The grandparents who would otherwise have provided child-care were old enough to be vulnerable to the bug, so they were out. That meant Francesca has spent the last few months with her dad at his pizza shop in the Bronx. In this six-minute piece from Radio Diaries and NPR, we take a look at what it’s been like to be a bright and typical 11-year-old thrust into a completely different world. She puts pizza boxes together and answers phones. She’s even learned to make perfect pizzas. I found the story touching. It reminds me of the degree to which children used to learn more about the real world than they do today. Even though she won’t follow in the pizza-making footsteps of her father, I’ll bet this will be one of the defining experiences of her childhood, one that she will treasure for years to come.
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