September 11 (9/11)

Starting the conversation about 9/11 with elementary kids can seem like a daunting task. Here are some picture books and chapter books that can help with age-appropriate stories and additional resources.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story: Baskin, Nora Raleigh: 9781442485075: Amazon.com:  Books

Four kids are dealing with ordinary life on September 10, 2001, unaware that everything will change the next day. 208 pages, grades 3-7.

Me and the Sky: Captain Beverley Bass, Pioneering Pilot by Beverley Bass with Cynthia Williams, illustrated by Joanie Stone

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2019

Me and the Sky: Captain Beverley Bass, Pioneering Pilot: Bass, Beverley,  Williams, Cynthia, Stone, Joanie: 9780525645498: Amazon.com: Books

This is mostly the story of Beverley Bass, one of the first women to pilot commercial airlines. The 9/11 connection? She was flying a plane on September 11 that got diverted to Newfoundland, and her experiences there were part of the musical Come From Away.  Includes additional information about Beverley, her experiences on 9/11, and her role in founding the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.  40 pages, grades 1-5.

Big Apple Diaries by Alyssa Bermudez

Published by Roaring Brook Press

Amazon.com: Big Apple Diaries: 9781250774279: Bermudez, Alyssa, Bermudez,  Alyssa: Books

Alyssa Bermudez used her real diaries from seventh and eighth grade to create this graphic novel that takes place in New York City from 2000 to 2002, including her experiences of 9/11. 288 pages; grades 4-7.

Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen, illustrated by Aaron Becker

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021

Survivor Tree: Colleen, Marcie, Becker, Aaron: 9780316487672: Amazon.com:  Books

I haven’t seen this book yet, but it tells the story of a tree pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, nursed back to health in another location, then moved to the 9/11 Memorial, where it stands today. 48 pages; ages 4-8.

Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Steve Moors

Published by Capstone Press, 2016

Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 (Encounter:  Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books): Gassman, Julie, Moors, Steve:  9781515702702: Amazon.com: Books

After the attacks of 9/11, bridges, subways, and roads were closed, with more than a million people trying to get out of Manhattan. The Coast Guard put out a call for any kind of boat to come help, and almost 500,000 people were transported in nine hours, the largest sea evacuation in history. Includes an author’s note telling of her 9/11 experience being rescued by a boat, a brief glossary, and a few additional resources and source notes.  32 pages; grades 3-7.

Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11 by Alan Gratz

Published by Scholastic, 2021

Ground Zero: Gratz, Alan: 9781338245752: Amazon.com: Books

On 9/11, Brandon goes to work with his dad, a restaurant worker at Windows on the World. After the plane crash, they’re separated, and Brandon has to try to rescue his father and get them both to safety. His story is interspersed with Reshmina’s, a girl in Afghanistan who witnesses horrific events on September 11, 2019, very timely with current events in Afghanistan. Includes a lengthy author’s note with historical information. 336 pages, grades 5-8.

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Published by Peachtree Publishers, 2016

Amazon.com: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel: 9781561459124: Nolan, Janet,  Gonzalez, Thomas: Books

The story of USS New York, a Navy ship made of steel taken from the World Trade Center. There’s not a lot about 9/11 in this book, but it’s an interesting story to supplement with some other resources. An author’s note gives more facts about the USS New York and the meaning of the different colors and symbols of its crest. 36 pages; grades 2-5.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016

Towers Falling: Rhodes, Jewell Parker: 9780316262224: Amazon.com: Books

Deja’s family is struggling with homelessness in New York City. When her new school begins a curriculum studying 9/11, Deja begins to understand more about the impact of the event on her father, and why he is no longer able to work. 240 pages; grades 4-6.

The Red Bandanna (Young Readers’ Adaptation) by Tom Rinaldi

Published by Viking, 2017

Amazon.com: The Red Bandanna (Young Readers Adaptation): 9780425287620:  Rinaldi, Tom: Books

Some people who escaped the World Trade Center told a story of being helped by a young man with a red bandanna covering his face. Gradually the story emerged of Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old trader, who from childhood had dreamed of becoming a firefighter. 176 pages; grades 5-8.

This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by Sean Rubin

Published by Henry Holt and Co., 2021

Amazon.com: This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth  (Audible Audio Edition): Sean Rubin, Jennifer Ceci, Macmillan Young  Listeners: Books

Another story of The Survivor Tree, this one narrated by the tree itself. Includes an author’s note; a two-page history of the World Trade Center, 9/11, and the Survivor Tree; a note on the illustrations; and a list of six sources.  48 pages; grades K-5.