Today is the first of September, which means next week we’ll be marking another anniversary of 9/11. In the last couple of years I have encountered two books — both based on true stories — that have helped introduce the tragedy to my children. In both cases, the tragedy takes a backseat — but is still a very real presence — to the main storyline of the book
One is called Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey. This story recounts how an antique fireboat was preserved and restored by a group of friends and then called back into active duty on the night of 9/11. One of the boys picked it up purely “by accident” on a trip to the library and a happy accident it turned out to be! It’s an engaging story and the illustrations are bright and beautiful.
The second book is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. This Caldecott medal winner tells the tale of Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk in 1974. It’s always shocking to the children that this actually happened! The twin towers were awe-inspiring structures, and this tale relates that emotion. 9/11 is more of an afterthought in this book — but I always choke up when I get to the page that says, “Now, the towers are gone.” The accompanying page shows the NYC skyline without the World Trade Towers.
What do you do in your home to mark the anniversary of 9/11?