Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Books about September 11

We've all been figuring out how to talk to our smallest students about September 11.  For the past 15, as adults, we've all been trying to process what this event meant to our country and although there have been a few things to talk with little kids about what happened, most of it is so big and so scary, that it didn't seem like a good idea.  Thankfully, some amazing authors and illustrators have been able to create some stories that introduce a conversation about what happened in way that is emotional without being overwhelming.

The first one is called "Seven and a Half Tons of Steel" by Janet Nolan.  It's about a piece of the Twin Towers that was removed from the crash site and used as part of a new Navy ship.  This one JUST came out last week (August 1st!) and one really great thing about it is how hopeful it feels.  A terrible, scary thing happened, but people could take that wreckage and turn it into something strong and powerful.  The other thing that's really great about this one is the art work.  I read this one as an electronic advanced readers copy and usually that means the art work is a bit jumbled or small, but this one.  Holy Cow.  The art work GLOWED, the pictures practically leapt off  my kindle.  I think this one is going to be a great one for elementary schools because of the simple text but bigger kids will really appreciate the amazing art work. 

Another new one, that is also a picture book is called "Saved By the Boats" by Julie Gassman.  I wrote about it in a blog post here.  It also had amazing art work, but in a really different way.  The art work in "Saved By the Boats" is really muted with a limited palette but wow, what an amazing emotional impact.  I loved this one too. 

Of course it's not enough to just have picture books, there are bigger kids who don't have first hand knowledge the events of September 11.  Luckily, there are some good new chapter books about September 11 too.  I already reviewed one that I liked a lot on this blog, called "Towers Falling" by Jewel Parker Rhodes.  (Here's a link to that one if you want to read it).  There's a even newer one that's getting a lot of buzz called "Nine, Ten" by Nora Raleigh Baskin.  It's told from the perspective of four different kids from really different backgrounds in different parts of the US on September 10, 2001.  Each one of them are dealing with different kinds of social issues-moving, divorce, death of a parent, bullying.  Each of them also has part of their story that takes them very close to the events of September 11.  It's not an easy book to read.  It gets a bit confusing switching between all the characters, but it's worth a bit of persistence to have the opportunity to talk about all these different points of view on an event like September 11.  This one would be a good read aloud for middle grade and middle school kids.  


1 comment:

  1. It's not at all new, but The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is still a powerful and beautiful book, too.