One of School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011One of Horn Book's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
On the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, a straightforward and sensitive book for a generation of readers too young to remember that terrible day.
The events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. In the fourth installment of the Actual Times series, Don Brown narrates the events of the day in a way that is both accessible and understandable for young readers. Straightforward and honest, this account moves chronologically through the morning, from the terrorist plane hijackings to the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania; from the rescue operations at the WTC site in New York City to the collapse of the buildings. Vivid watercolor illustrations capture the emotion and pathos of the tragedy making this an important book about an unforgettable day in American history.
Explaining the events of September 11, even 10 years afterward, is a task fraught with emotion. Brown's sturdy yet empathetic tone seems just right. Winnowing through the day's thousands of stories to focus on a representative few, he conveys suspense while maintaining respect, and pays understated homage to the heroism of the rescuers. Individuals who were inside the Twin Towers that day, or who went in to help fire captain Jay Jonas, who led a team aiding an older woman whose bad feet made their exit agonizingly slow; Chris Young, who was trapped in an elevator and walked out unscathed are studied in clear and telling detail. The worst moments "at 9:59 AM the South Tower came down are recorded with journalistic calm. Brown's courtroom-style artwork draws little attention to itself; he focuses on the anguished faces of spectators as they watch from the ground, pans across the Manhattan skyline, and portrays a crew of firefighters huddled in a corner, engulfed in smoke. An invaluable resource for educators and parents, it's also unexpectedly comforting: "We got through it, Brown seems to say, "and we are still here. Ages 9 12.