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!