Towers Falling


Towers Falling (hardcover)

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

AR Level 3.3, 4 points


I got on a 9/11 kick and wanted to read all of the books written for children so I would have them for my class library in September.  I feel like we are doing a disservice to our students if we aren’t teaching them what happened to the Twin Towers.  I ordered this one and let my students read it first, and each one LOVED it and said I had to try it.

Deja is a homeless girl living in a shelter with her parents and two younger siblings.  Her dad is ill and shellshocked, but she doesn’t understand why he can’t work, and she has to pick up his slack.  Deja starts at a new school and meets 2 new friends – one boy is a transplant from Arizona whose parents recently divorced, and the other is a Muslim girl who is the kindest person Deja knows.  Their teachers spend September teaching them about why history is important, building up to the terrorist attack, and Deja learns a lot about her family, her friends, and her existence.

What I liked about this book was that it taught several important lessons, including the power of friendship, judging individuals instead of groups of people, and the impact history can play on the present.  I really appreciate how Rhodes taught about 9/11 through a good piece of literature so our students can learn about what happened somewhere besides a history book.  We need to make sure they understand WHY we say “Never Forget.”

What I didn’t like about this book was how ignorant Deja was about the entire situation.  It was very frustrating to me that she lived in Brooklyn her entire life, but was clueless about what happened.  How is that even possible?!

Book 1 of Summer 2017!


Nine, Ten


Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story (ebook)

by Nora Raleigh Baskin

AR Level 4.8, 5 points


I heard about this book when I was looking for books about September 11th.  I realized my students weren’t alive and know very little.  I was shocked last year when several of them had no idea what the day meant.  While this isn’t a book that teaches about what happened, it does show snapshots of what it was like for different people.  It follows 4 students: one Muslim girl, one boy in Brooklyn, one girl in California whose mom was headed to the Twin Towers, and one boy in Pennsylvania where a plane crashed into the ground.  This book shows what it was like for a seventh grader on this day.

What I liked about this book was that it recounted this day that I experienced as an adult, but from a child’s perspective.  We also learned about their background, the problems they were facing, and how those problems were put on hold.  I also appreciated that a Muslim was a character, because we could see how the millions of Islamic Americans were targeted and mistreated.  I think this would be a good reminder for students.

What I didn’t like about this book was that I felt there could have been more to it.  It is a good snapshot, but it doesn’t really teach about 9/11.  It is more about these 4 kids who happen to all experience 9/11 in this book.  Perhaps what I was wanting from this book is different from the author’s intention or purpose for writing it.

Book 33 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)