Middle school-age children are too young to remember the events of that tragic Tuesday morning. Teenagers have only a sketchy memory. Most elementary-age children were not yet born. Ten years later, there are plenty of horrific images on the airwaves of airplanes crashing, the towers falling, and the Falling Man but it is the stories behind the death and destruction that matter most. Fortunately, there are some excellent stories for young people that capture the fear, grief and loss of that day, and also the great acts of heroism and gestures of compassion that day brought.
- Brown, Dan. America is Under Attack. Roaring Brook, 2011.
An excellent chronicle of the tragic day for readers too young to remember or not yet born. I especially like the focus on individual victims and survivors. Vivid, emotional and powerful.
Deedy, Carmen Agra in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah. 14 Cows for America. Illus. Thomas Gonzalez. Peachtree, 2009.
While in New York studying medicine, Kimeli witnesses the September 11th attacks. When Kimeli returns to his village in Kenya, he tells his Maasai elders that he will offer his cow to the people of America. The elders agree and invite a diplomat from the United States Embassy in Nairobi to visit the village where he is greeted with a ceremony and presented with not one, but fourteen cows. A wonderfully told, beautifully illustrated true story.
Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Roaring Brook, 2003. Gerstein’s Caldecott Medal-winning story of how in 1974 French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. A poignant and riveting tribute to the lost towers.
Kalman. Maira. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey. Putnam, 2002.
Reissued this year, this is my favorite book for children about the September 11th attacks. Nearly scrapped by York City in 1995, the fireboat John J. Harvey was called in to help put out the fires at the World Trade Center site.
Maynard, Joyce. The Usual Rules. St. Martin’s, 2003.
Maynard brings the September 11th tragedy to readers through its effect on thirteen-year-old Wendy and her extended family. Sensitive, real and powerful.
9-11: Artists Respond, vols. 1&2. DC Comics, 2002.
Two volumes of original stories and powerful illustrations about the September 11th attacks from a stellar group of contributors, including Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, John J. Muth and dozens more.
Speigelman, Art. In the Shadow of No Towers. Pantheon, 2004.
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman presents his very personal observation of and response to the destruction of the World Trade Center. A resident of lower Manhattan, with children attending school on the morning of September 11th, Spieglman vividly conveys his experiences of the day’s events. Powerful and revealing.
Winter, Jeanette. September Roses. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004.
The true story of how roses, originally destined for a flower show, were used to recreate the image of the World Trade Center Towers and help heal people’s hearts. A moving story of compassion, generosity and kindness.