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Ages 9-12

Understanding 9/11

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30,000 Stitches : The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by  Amanda Gilman Davis
In the days following September 11th, a 30-foot American flag hung torn and tattered at 90 West Street, across from Ground Zero. A few weeks later, the flag was taken down by a construction crew and tucked away in storage, where it stayed for nearly seven years. The flag was brought out of storage in 2008 when the New York Says Thank You Foundation headed to Greensburg, Kansas, a town nearly destroyed by a tornado. NYSTY brought the flag with them, sparking a grassroots restoration effort that traveled over 120,000 miles across all fifty states, bringing together thousands of people, and helping America heal and rebuild . . . hand by hand, thread by thread, one stitch at a time. This book is the story of that journey, a journey that ended at the opening of the National September 11 Museum, where the flag remains today. Along the way, the flag was restored using pieces of retired flags from every state--including a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on after he was shot at Ford's Theater and threads from the original Star-Spangled Banner flag, which flew at Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem. The pieces and threads were stitched in by military veterans, first responders, educators, students, community-service heroes, and family members of 9/11 victims, among others. At each stop, communities came together to remember, to heal, and to unite.
Ground Zero by Alan Gratz
Brandon is visiting his dad on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 when the attack comes; Reshmina is a girl in Afghanistan who has grown up in the aftermath of that attack but dreams of peace, becoming a teacher and escaping her village and the narrow role that the Taliban believes is appropriate for women--both are struggling to survive, both changed forever by the events of 9/11.
Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O'Malley Cerra
Jake and Sam are best friends, but after the attacks on September 11 their friendship is in danger of crumbling, as Sam and his family succumb to hatred for being Muslim American.
Nine, Ten : A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day--until a plane struck the World Trade Center. But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will's father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she's getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. These four don't know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day--the day our world changed forever.
Saved by the Boats: the Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman
September 11, 2001 was a black day in U.S. history. Amid the chaos, sea captains and crews raced by boat to the tragic Manhattan scene. Nearly 500,000 people on Manhattan Island were rescued that day in what would later be called the largest sea evacuation in history. In this rarely told story of heroism, we come to understand that in our darkest hours, people shine brightly as a beacon of hope.
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan
A reverent account of the creation of a seagoing 9/11 memorial fashioned by incorporating part of one of the fallen towers into the hull of a Navy ship. Following a wordless, powerful sequence in which a seemingly ordinary jet flies peacefully through a cloudless sky and then directly into a tower, Nolan opens by noting that there is "something different, something special" about the seemingly ordinary USS New York. In the tragedy's aftermath, she explains, a steel beam was pulled from the wreckage and sent to a foundry in Louisiana. There, workers melted it down, recast and shaped it, and sent it to New Orleans, where, notwithstanding the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, it was incorporated into the bow of a new ship of war. Gonzalez echoes the author's somber, serious tone with dark scenes of ground zero, workers with shadowed faces, and views of the ship from low angles to accentuate its monumental bulk. Though Nolan goes light on names and dates, she adds a significant bit of background to the overall story of 9/11 and its enduring effects. Backmatter includes a cutaway diagram and some additional facts. A deeply felt but not overwrought telling of a story that will be new to most young readers.
The 9/11 Attacks by  Laura K. Murray
A historical account of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the events leading up to that day, the people involved, the monumental rescue and recovery efforts, and the lingering aftermath.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
A spare recounting of Philippe Petit's daring 1974 wire walk between the Twin Towers depicts him as a street performer who defies authority to risk his feat, is arrested, and then sentenced to perform for the children of New York. At the conclusion, on the only non-illustrated page are the stark words, "Now the towers are gone," followed by the changed skyline and finally by a skyline on which are etched the ghost-like shapes of the towers as memory of the buildings and of Petit's exploit. Readers of all ages will return to this again and again for its history, adventure, humor, and breathtaking homage to extraordinary buildings and a remarkable man .
The Places We Sleep by  Caroline Brooks DuBois
Twelve-year-old army brat Abbey is the new kid at her Tennessee middle school. Although she has made one good friend over the summer, she is distressed to get her first menstrual period at school, to lose her aunt in the September 11 bombings, and to have her father deployed to Afghanistan shortly afterward. Through a series of poems told in the first person, Abbey reveals the inner thoughts she cannot share with others: her inability to confide in Mom, who is mourning her sister; her fears that Dad will not return safely from his tour of duty; and her silent admiration for Jiman, a Muslim classmate who is stoic in the face of insults and torment from other kids.
The Red Bandanna by  Tom Rinaldi
The New York times bestseller adapted for young readers. Welles Crowther was working on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by a plane on the morning of September 11, 2001. Physically unharmed and able to escape, altruistic Welles chose instead to assist an estimated 18 people to safety using his junior firefighter training. To those he helped that day, he was known only as the man with the red bandanna, until, through newspaper reports from eyewitness accounts, his family was able to piece together his final moments of self-sacrifice and courage. At times a documentation of history, at others an emotional journey, this remarkable true story of bravery and heroism places readers directly inside the South Tower as events unfolded; Rinaldi's writing heightens the senses capturing the smoke, heat, and smells, while also making the uncertainty, confusion, urgency, and raw human emotion very real--a feat not often accomplished in books for this age group. Drawing upon firsthand accounts from family members and friends, readers receive a sense of Welles's optimism, leadership, perseverance, and his genuine desire to help others.
This Very Tree : A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by  Sean Rubin
In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree's home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived. Dubbed the "Survivor Tree," it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And in the thoughtful care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Callery pear was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort...and also hope. This is the story of that tree--and of a nation in recovery. Told from the tree's perspective, This Very Tree is a touching tribute to first responders, the resilience of America, and the restorative power of community.
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Sure, moving from Brooklyn and into the Avalon Family Residence doesn't sound that bad, but for Dèja and her family, it's just a fancy way of saying that they live in a homeless shelter. The one good thing to come out of the move is that Dèja finally gets to go to a good school. Used to being a tough girl, she is quick to bristle, but two patient students--Sabeen, a Muslim, and Ben, a displaced country boy--soon win her over. Fifteen years after the September 11 attacks, their school strives to teach about the tragedy by focusing on ideas of home, interconnectedness, and what it means to be an American. Dèja, who has never heard about 9/11, is filled with questions, especially after her father grows inexplicably angry over her lessons.
Updated 08/25/2021