8 Books to Read this September 11

On September 11, 2001 I was in an elementary school art class when my teacher picked us up early from lunch. As we entered the classroom we saw that the tv was on. The tv was only ever on for announcements.

I remember watching the news and not really understanding what was happening. I only knew that it was bad and that the teachers were all in a frenzy.

One by one students got called from the office to go home. When it was my turn I remember my mom telling us to lay down in the car just in case.

We were nowhere near New York but there was a palpable panic in the air.

Last week when we started our September 11 lessons using a unit this unit. We went over the Flag, Pledge of Allegiance, the events of September 11, a timeline, and we spent lots of time talking about how we felt, and our thoughts about what happened.

I researched different books that we could read to help us reach a better understanding of what happened that day.

Because I’m a last minute planner I was only able to get the books available at my library. I really wanted to check out the books “This Very Tree” and “The Survivor Tree” but they were unavailable at the time. I look forward to reading them one day because I’m so interested in this tree that survived September 11!

Regardless of my slacking, I managed to snag some great books for our Unit!

  1. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” by Mordicai Gerstein:
    • This is a children’s picture book that tells the true story of Philippe Petit, a French tightrope walker, who walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. While the book does not directly relate to the 9/11 attacks, it captures the iconic towers and celebrates their place in New York City’s history before their tragic destruction.
  2. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey” by Maira Kalman:
    • This children’s book is about the retired fireboat John J. Harvey, which was called back into service on September 11, 2001, to help fight fires in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. It highlights the vessel’s role as a symbol of resilience during the 9/11 crisis.
  3. Seven and a Half Tons of Steel” by Janet Nolan:
    • This children’s book tells the story of a steel beam from the World Trade Center that was salvaged from Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. The beam is used to create the bow of the USS New York, a naval ship commissioned in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11. The book emphasizes the transformation of tragedy into a symbol of strength and remembrance.
  4. “Big Apple Diaries” by Alyssa Bermudez:
    • “Big Apple Diaries” is a young adult novel that provides a fictionalized account of a teenager’s experiences in New York City on September 11, 2001.
  5. 14 Cows for America” by Carmen Agra Deedy:
    • This children’s book tells the touching story of a Maasai village in Kenya’s response to the 9/11 attacks. The village is deeply moved by the tragedy and donates 14 cows, a symbol of wealth and life, to the United States as a gesture of solidarity and compassion.
  6. “What Were the Twin Towers?” by Jim O’Connor (part of the “What Was?” series):
    • This book is part of a series designed for young readers and provides a historical overview of the Twin Towers, their construction, significance, and ultimately, their tragic destruction on September 11, 2001.
  7. “September 11: National Geographic” by Michael Sandler:
    • This book is part of the National Geographic series and provides a comprehensive account of the events of September 11, 2001. It includes photographs, maps, and in-depth coverage of the 9/11 attacks, their impact on the world, and the subsequent responses.
  8. “Why I Love America” Booklet
    • While not directly related to September 11, this little booklet reminds us about why we should be grateful for our wonderful nation.

I hope that as my girls get older we’ll be able to continue having meaningful discussions about September 11. We’ll continue to talk about how the world can be a scary place, but we can still have peace, hope, and happiness. We’ll talk about how grateful we are to live in the country and how blessed we are to see how even though terrible things happen, people still persevere and get through things together.

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