Resources for Children and Youth

A Bibliography of Children’s Storybooks Related to the Events of September 11th

List compiled by the Rev. JoAnne Bogart, UCC Education Consultant, Serving the Western Region

New and used titles may be found in public libraries, your local bookstore, or from online booksellers.

(Descriptions are from Amazon.com.)

For Younger Children:

Curtiss, A. B., The Little Chapel that Stood.  Oldcastle Publishing, 2003.

For ages 4-8, English, 40 pages, ISBN-10: 0932529771.  Available new and used from online booksellers.
Beautifully illustrated book tells of the historic chapel less than 100 yards from the Twin Towers that miraculously survived on
9-11. Firemen hung their shoes on the fence and raced to help the people in the towers:” Oh what gallant men did we lose/
Who never came back to get their shoes.” The story of terror overcome by courage and bravery that teaches us no one is too small to make a difference.

 

Deedy, Carmen Agra and Thomas Gonzalez, 14 Cows for America.  Peachtree Publishers, 2009.

For Grades 2–5, English, 36 pages, ISBN-10: 1561454907.  Available new and used from online booksellers.
Kimeli Naiyomah returned home to his Maasai village from New York City with news of 9/11 terrorist attacks. His story prompted the villagers to give a heartfelt gift to help America heal. The story comes to life with pithy prose and vibrant illustrations. Each block of text consists of a few short, elegant sentences: "A child asks if he has brought any stories. Kimeli nods. He has brought with him one story. It has burned a hole in his heart." The suspenseful pace is especially striking when surrounded by Gonzalez's exquisite colored pencil and pastel illustrations. Full-page spreads depict the Maasai people and their land so realistically as to be nearly lifelike. Gonzalez manages to break the fourth wall and draw readers in as real-time observers. The book's only flaw is the less-than-concrete ending: "…there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort" is an important message, but not a particularly satisfying one for children. Fortunately, their questions will be answered by Naiyomah's endnote, and it provides a fitting conclusion to this chronicle.

 

Gerstein, Mordicai, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers . Square Fish, 2007.

For ages 5-8, English, 40 pages, ISBN-10: 031236878X.  Available new and used from online booksellers.The setting for this story is the Twin Towers, but it is NOT about the bombing.  The towers are intact in the story. This effectively spare, lyrical account chronicles Philippe Pettit’s tight rope walk between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers in 1974.  Gerstein begins the book like a fairytale, "Once there were two towers side by side. They were each a quarter of a mile high... The tallest buildings in New York City." The author casts the French aerialist and street performer as the hero: "A young man saw them rise into the sky.... He loved to walk and dance on a rope he tied between two trees." As the man makes his way across the rope from one tree to the other, the towers loom in the background. When Philippe gazes at the twin buildings, he looks "not at the towers but at the space between them.... What a wonderful place to stretch a rope; a wire on which to walk." Disguised as construction workers, he and a friend haul a 440-pound reel of cable and other materials onto the roof of the south tower. How Philippe and his pal hung the cable over the 140-feet distance is in itself a fascinating-and harrowing-story, charted in a series of vertical and horizontal ink and oil panels. An inventive foldout tracking Philippe's progress across the wire offers dizzying views of the city below; a turn of the page transforms readers' vantage point into a vertical view of the feat from street level. When police race to the top of one tower's roof, threatening arrest, Philippe moves back and forth between the towers ("As long as he stayed on the wire he was free"). Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away. Truly affecting is the book's final painting of the imagined imprint of the towers, now existing "in memory"- linked by Philippe and his high wire.  

 

Kalman, Maira, Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey (Picture Puffin Books). Puffin, 2005.

For Preschool - Grade 3, English, 48 pages, ISBN-10: 0142403628. Available new and used from online booksellers.
Kalman's hip, high-energy paintings portray American life in 1931: the Empire State Building is constructed, Babe Ruth hits his 611th home run, "Snickers" is invented, and the John J. Harvey is launched to fight fires on New York piers. In its heyday, the boat is the crème de la crème, but toward the end of the century as the piers start to close, it is forced into retirement, soon to become scrap. Amazingly, a group of friends decides to tackle a restoration, and the John J. Harvey is called upon to fight its worst blaze ever. The fireboat's role on September 11 calls for a shift in the book's mood and style. The transition is signaled with a quiet page of white text on gray-no art. The spread of the expressionistic explosion is followed by portraits of community helpers. The climax is depicted on a black background with the firefighters, appearing as blue, kinetic outlines, furiously battling the blazing orange, red, and yellow flames with long lines of white spray. Fireboat does many things. It sets forth an adventure, helps commemorate an anniversary, offers an interesting bit of history, celebrates the underdog, and honors the fire-fighting profession.

 

Masterson Elementary Students, Masterson Elementary Student and First Grade Students of H. Byron Masterson Elementary in Kennett Missouri, September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right.  Tangerine Press 2002.

For Elementary students, English, 32 pages, ISBN-10: 043944246X .  Available new and used from online booksellers. On September 11th horrific events occurred, yet through the simple text and vibrant art of first graders, we are reminded that the world continued the next day. On each page, children experience the comforts of ordinary routines, such as their teacher reading books to them, having homework and recess, and knowing that 2 + 2 still equals 4. This is a poignant message of hope that reassures us all that even after bad things happen, tomorrow always brings a new day.

 

Patel, Andrea, On That Day: A Book of Hope for Children (Reading Rainbow Book).  Tricycle Press, 2002.

For ages 4-7, English, 32 pages, ISBN-10: 1582461007.  Available new and used from online booksellers. How does one address the attacks of September 11, 2001, in a picture book for young children? Patel's efforts to make her own peace with the subject have resulted in a book that does so quite effectively. Her tissue-paper collages depict, at first, a world that is "very big, and really round, and pretty peaceful." The white expansive backgrounds allow viewers to focus completely on the images and message. The author goes on to explain that "sometimes bad things happen because people act in mean ways and hurt each other on purpose." Patel then offers a variety of ways that children, or anyone, could help the world: sharing, playing and laughing, taking care of the Earth, and being kind. Concluding pages point to the strength of the goodness that exists; listeners are reminded that they are part of that. Short sentences build into longer, cumulative lines; this repetition plugs into a familiar, oral tradition, while providing reinforcement for the ideas. Both this textual pattern and the circular, connected lines of the art break at the delivery of the terrible news. They resume, subtly, in the denouement. This book will be welcomed by those who want to mark the anniversary of the tragedy with children; it is worth noting that it would also be useful to open a dialogue in the context of any violent act.   

 

Rodriguez, Cindy L., I Was Born On 9 / 11.  Publish America, 2009.

For Ages 4-8, English, 41 pages, ISBN-10: 1448950511. Available new and used from online booksellers. Who would have dreamed that the exact same day on which they were born would be the same day that one of the most world-changing, history-making events ever occurred? In poetic rhyme and brilliant colors, the narrator in this book, I Was Born on 9/11, shares what happened on September 11, 2001. The reader sees the events in New York, how America pulled together, how our people realized the value of their country, and how we as a nation can have hope for a safer tomorrow. One is left with a sense of patriotism, cooperation, passion, and a deep respect for those who gave their lives to help keep our country safe that day, and for those who continue to do so even today. For September 11th birthday celebrants everywhere.

 

Schwartz, Teri J., The Day America Cried.  Enduring Freedom Press, 2002.

For ages 7 - 9, English, 48 pages, ISBN -10: 0972394508.  Available new from online booksellers.  This children's book describes the events of 9/11/01 and in the weeks that follow. Moving beyond the facts, it captures the moments as they were lived without generating fear and provides a message of hope and courage. The book focuses on human reactions to the events such as emotions, acts of kindness and our need to continue onward in spite of fear and uncertainty. It attempts to explain why 9/11 occurred without prejudice. The story is accompanied by graphics (b&w) that are meant to keep the children's interest. The events are told by a cheerful cat who finds his way onto each page of the text as well as onto the full page illustrations. Children between ages 7 and 9 years old will likely be able to read this book alone. However, the material in the book can be utilized into classroom lessons on 9/11, as well as those on citizenship, for older and younger school-aged children as well.

 

Winter, Jeanette, September Roses. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.

For K-Gr. 3. English, 40 pages, ISBN-10: 0374367361. Available new and used from online booksellers. This very small book that even a child can hold in one hand is full of ineffable sorrow and sweetness. Two sisters fly to New York from South Africa with thousands of roses meant for a flower show. The day they fly is September 11, 2001, and after the attack they are stranded at the airport with their flowers. They are offered shelter and offer their roses in return: at Union Square, they design two fallen towers made of roses. Winter makes beautiful patterns with her figures and her roses using her signature thick black outlines. At the center of the book, when the towers are hit and the women stranded, she switches to grisaille so the exquisitely drawn images are gray. When the roses are made into the fallen towers, the colors return. In notes at the beginning and end, Winter describes where she was when the Towers were hit.

 

For Older Children: 

Englar, Mary, September 11 (We the People: Modern America series).  Compass Point Books, 2007.

For ages 9-12, English, 48 pages, ISBN-10: 075652041X.  Available new and used from online booksellers. On a bright sunny morning on September 11, 2001, hijackers took control of four U.S. commercial airplanes. The terrorists crashed two planes into two World Trade Center Towers in New York City. Forty minutes later, hijackers crashed another plane into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Passengers on a fourth hijacked plane resisted, and the plane crashed in an empty Pennsylvania field. The tragic events of September 11 killed nearly 3,000 people, scarred Americans, and changed the world forever.

 

Santella, Andrew, September 11, 2001 (Cornerstones of Freedom: Second). Children's Press (CT), 2007.

For Grades 4-6, English, 48 pages, ISBN-10: 053118692X.  Available new and used from online booksellers. This title follows a prescribed format, allowing for a less emotional presentation of the day's events than some of the other titles available on the topic for this age group. Students will find basic facts about the three attack sites, the investigation, the president's role and whereabouts that day (including excerpts from his speech to the nation), the war on Afghanistan, anthrax, and the six-month anniversary memorials. Most of the large, color photographs are of the sites before the destruction or relevant people or related subjects, e.g., Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Osama bin Laden, the Empire State Building, the U.S. Capitol, the Qu'ran. Sidebars present information about topics such as the Pentagon, Air Force One, and the history of terrorism. The title is carefully constructed to show strong leaders and sunny days.

 

For Middle Schoolers:

Ringgold, Faith, What Will You Do for Peace? Impact of 9/11 on New York City Youth.  InterRelations Collaborative, Inc. 2004.

For ages 9-12, English, 32 pages, ISBN-10: 0976175304. Available new and used from online booksellers. Following the tragic events on 9/11, New York City youth, aged 11 to 19 from many cultures, came together to document their experiences on 9/11. In their own words and images, they produced a remarkable book calling for peace and understanding. Their powerful artwork caught the eye of celebrated artist, Faith Ringgold, and they are honored to publish this book in association with her.  Ms. Ringgold writes:  "When I was shown the layout for this new book…... my heart filled with joy. What a beautiful collaboration, a perfect response from New York City's young people. This gracefully poetic account of that frightening day in their young lives is a gift of sensitivity and love. I was amazed at their generosity of spirit. I found the paintings and expressive verse in this book deeply inspiring.

 

Thoms, Annie, With Their Eyes: September 11th--The View from a High School at Ground Zero.  Harper Collins, 2002.

For ages 13 and up, English, 256 pages, ISBN-10: 9780060517182. Available new and used from online booksellers.The students, faculty, and staff of Stuyvesant High School, located four blocks from Ground Zero, responded creatively with a unique work of reader's theater. Student actors transcribed monologues culled from interviews with their fellow classmates, teachers, custodians, and cafeteria workers. The pieces describe the pain of watching people jump to their deaths from office windows, the terror of being separated from their families, the lingering aftereffects of being temporarily housed in a different school, and the post-traumatic stress that nearly paralyzed all 3200 students. The monologues echo the individuals' everyday speech, including the "ums," "likes," and "you knows," which, while sometimes jarring to read, make them dramatically immediate and realistic when performed. This unique book rings with authenticity and resonates with power; it can be used in the curriculum or as an independent piece of theatrical art.

  

For All Ages:

Fahnestock, Andrea Henderson and Goodman, Robin F. editors, The Day Our World Changed.  Abrams, Harry N., Inc., 2002.

For all ages, English, 128 pages, ISBN-10: 0810935449.  Available new and used from online booksellers. "I saw the planes hit the WTC... I saw people jumping out of buildings... My teachers and my family comforted us so good it really made me feel better," writes a 10-year-old beneath her chaotic red and black and orange watercolor of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. "I feel sad because dogs have sacrificed themselves for other people. And their tails got squashed and their ears got cut off," reads another caption of an eight-year-old’s drawing of an injured dog on a stretcher. Eighty-three artworks like these by New York City-area children comprise this full-color album edited by, a professor of psychiatry at the New York University Child Study Center, and, curator of paintings and sculpture at the Museum of the City of New York Some of the young artists who range from five-year-olds to teenagers are stunningly precocious, but the more rudimentary efforts are just as touching. There is a painting of Osama bin Laden eating the towers, murals of post disaster streetscapes, a drawing of dinosaurs helping to rebuild the towers and much more. Throughout the book are essays by teachers, clerics and various prominent NY figures about the effects of September 11 on their own families or the city at large.

 

Harwayne, Shelley and New York City Board of Education, Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to September 11, 2001.  Heinemann Publishing, 2002.

For all ages, English, 176 pages, ISBN-10: 0325005141. Available new and used from online booksellers. This is a collection of letters, poetry, and art by children in response to September 11th. All were sent to other children reflecting innocent support, outreach, and caring. This book is an archive of what children were thinking and feeling through their honest and heart-filled messages.

 

Marsh, Carole, The Day That Was Different: September 11, 2001: When Terrorists Attacked America. Gallopade International, 2001.

For all ages, English, 48 pages, ISBN-10: 0635009188. Available new and used from online booksellers.
Timely, factual, sensitive information for children about the day terrorists attacked America.
Includes:
• The Day That Was Different: What Happened on September 11, 2001 and What It Means;
• Other Days That Were Different: Pearl Harbor, the Bombing of Ft. Sumter (start of Civil War), and the Challenger Explosion
• Home of the Brave: They Came to Help-Firefighters, Police, the Military, Civilian Volunteers
• The Government in Charge: What Happens When America Suffers an Attack?
• Timeline of Significant Events (for students to add to over time)
• The Geography of Terrorism (map activity of pertinent locations)
• What is the World Trade Center?
• What is the Pentagon? Why Did the Terrorists Pick on It?
• What is Islam? Who Are Muslims?
• What is Terrorism? Why Does It Exist? Is it New in History?
• Land of the Free: How a Democratic Country is Different
• I Want to Help!: What Kids, Families, and Schools Can Do to Help
• Is this the "First War" of the 21st Century?
• What Will America Do Next?
• What Good Can Come From this Experience?
• Tolerance and Your Role as a Student
• Dear Diary: A Page to Record Your Feelings
• Dear Friend: A Letter to Write
• Pride and Patriotism
• My Questions for Further Discussion 

 

 

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