Books for Kids about September 11th. #PatriotDay

Books for Kids about September 11th

Sadly, tragedies are a part of life. Seems we’ve all participated in at least one. It’s hard to believe though, that September 11th, was 16 years ago. Seems like just yesterday, sometimes.  What’s also hard to believe, is that many children will have no knowledge of this event. I’ve even heard that they stopped teaching the events of this day in some schools. It’s hard to imagine life before the more stringent airplane security screenings and other security measures that are now commonplace.

If you want to talk to your kiddo about September 11th, here are a few books that might help:

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman

Here’s one for the littles.

In 1931, the John J. Harvey was the ultimate in fireboats, an essential part of the New York Fire Department. But times change, and by 2001, the Harvey was retired, destined for the scrap pile. Until September 11, when the fire hydrants at the attack site were inoperable, and the water of the Hudson River was needed to combat the burning buildings. With a little ingenuity, a team quickly got the John J. Harvey in working order, proving that she was still the best fireboat on the river.

14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy and Thomas Gonzalez

I love the idea of a small African tribe wanting to help.

In the aftermath of 9/11, not only did America mourn, but shockwaves were felt around the globe. Kimeli Naiyomah is a student in New York in September 2001. Upon returning to his Maasai village in Kenya, he recounts his experience, and his people immediately want to help. But what can a poor African village provide? The answer is powerful and touching, and demonstrates that sometimes the smallest gestures are the most deeply felt.

America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell, by Don Brown

If you need more of an instructional book on how to cope with difficult times, this might help. For middle grades (tweens)

How to explain the events, emotions, and tragedy of that day to children who didn’t experience it? Don Brown does just that with this book. These are personal stories, humanizing the first responders, passengers, witnesses, and survivors that were part of that day, while still maintaining a straightforward account of events. The text is engaging, without being sensationalized, the tone direct, but compassionate. A good resource for both parents and teachers.

Eleven, by Tom Rogers

This is what I love about fiction: it incorporates real life into a story and helps you understand it. Like taking medicine with a spoonful of sugar.

Nothing exciting ever happens to New Yorker Alex Douglas. Life is pretty much (boringly) normal. There’s his pesky sister, and school, and the ongoing battle to convince his parents that he’s responsible enough to own a dog. So on the morning of his 11th birthday, Alex is not expecting anything special. Then school is unexpectedly let out early. His mom is stuck at work, and calls to tell him not to turn on the TV, and to look out for his sister. And a four-legged companion shows up and won’t leave Alex alone. Turns out maybe this birthday will be anything but normal.

The Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived #6) by Lauren Tarshis

This series is so great. It covers lots of major life events.

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.

So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again.

Do you have any titles to add to this list?

Books Non Fiction

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

I’ve had the recent honor of being promoted to book club doyenne at the book store where I work (Towne Book Center & Cafe) and our pick for December is Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan.


Montalvan is a career Army Captain stationed in the recent war in the Middle East.  He’s suffered some debilitating PTSD for which he receives the most darling and helpful golden retriever named Tuesday. Since I’m a dog lover, I thought the book would be the perfect blend of oohing and ahhing over how adorable the pooch is and how helpful he’s made Montalvan’s life.  To be sure, Tuesday is helpful and probably kept Montalvan from hurting himself and others.

What’s surprising about the book is how much the author talks about the war effort. War is gruesome stuff and Montalvan describes the atrocities that he and others faced more than I cared to read.  it gave me nightmares, this stuff.  I cannot even begin to imagine how these heroes live now that they’ve been to war.  What else I cannot believe is how it’s only been very recently that vets have been getting accurate treatment.  We’ve been fighting war for millenia and vets are only just now getting treatment for PTSD.

It’s sad.

Amazingly, Montalvan (and I suspect his ghost writer) added relevant, thought provoking quotes at the beginning of each chapter such as:

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over.  Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

That quote was from the famous writer Kurt Vonnegut, a WWII veteran.  You’d be surprised how many famous writers were war veterans.

As a civilian, I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes during war time.  Montalvan gives us some insight into the mismanagement and I’ll admit it makes me a bit angry.  But you try to stow that anger when you read Tuesday’s goofy personality or his contagious smile or the way he calms Montalvan’s tension, potentially staving off an anxiety attack.

Where would we be without our pets?  You know I love my Bailey, and while he’s no service dog, mostly cuz he’s a little neurotic,  his daily greetings make me feel like I’m the best person he’s seen all day (at least until someone else comes home).

Bailey, not a service dog

My hope is that service animals will become more available to those who need them.

World peace wouldn’t be too much to ask for, would it?

Our book club meets at 7pm and I’m sure there will be a great discussion surrounding this book (and prolly a war discussion).

I give Until Tuesday 4 paws!