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10 Books to Teach 9/11

This week, the nation will remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and teachers may be struggling to find resources to teach their students about that horrific day in our history. Teaching this subject to students of any age can be difficult. Take the time to clear up inaccuracies and misconceptions. Warn students when possible of the graphic nature of some of the content as well.  

Teachers can present first-hand accounts in books as an effective way to teach students about 9/11, especially as more and more students were born after this date in history and may feel disconnected from its events.

Here are 10 books to teach 9/11 in the classroom:

  1. With Their Eyes by Annie Thoms: In this book, the author presents first-hand monolouges told by students at Stuyvesant High School. Thoms was an English teacher at the school, which is located four blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. The students wrote their own first-hand accounts and converted them into poetic monologues. 
  2. September Roses by Jeanette Winter: Follow the story of two sisters traveling from South Africa to New York City with 2,400 roses to be displayed at a flower show. As their plane approaches the airport, they see a cloud of smoke above the Manhattan skyline. The sisters land, and cannot go home, so they find something special to do with all of their roses. 
  3. On That Day: A Book of Hope for Children by Andrea Patel: In this book, Patel answers the question, what do you do when bad things happen? Throughout these pages, children can learn about the events on September 11, 2001, but also learn about the good that is also in the world following these events. 
  4. 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy: Kimeli Naiyomah returns to his Maasai village fin June 2002 rom New York City and shares news of 9/11 with his village. His story then prompted the Maasai people to give a hearfelt gift to America. The word of the gift then travels throughout the world, and touches the hearts of Americans. 
  5. The Little Chapel that Stood by A.B.Curtiss: This book tells the story of the chapel that stood less than 100 yards from the Twin Towers--and survived on 9/11. This story teaches children that no one is too small to make a difference. 
  6. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein: This story highlights the time in 1974 when Philippe Petit, a French aerialist, threw a tightrope between the Twin Towers and walked across. (This story references the Twin Towers in a lighter way and can  provide a break from some of the heavier content.)
  7. Fireboat: The  Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman: Follow the story of the famous, retired fireboat, John J. Harvey, and how it came back to life to save lives during 9/11. 
  8. America is Under Attack by Don Brown: In this book, Brown narrates the events of 9/11 with the goal to be both accessible and understandable to young readers. The account moves chronologically through the morning, from the hijacking to the crashes, and then to the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, and more. 
  9. Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson: Follow Hingson through his tale of being blind during 9/11, and trusting his dog for their survival. 
  10. September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right by Masterson Elementary Students: Follow students at Masterson Elementary School in Kennet, Missouri, as they tell the stories of their experiences the day after 9/11 and what comforted them. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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