Review: Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

It was a clear blue sky and I was driving to work when the music pumping through my radio was interrupted.  The hosts were confused, I remember, reporting that there was a fire in one of the World Trade Centers, possibly caused by a plane, they would let us know when they knew more.  I remember looking at the driver in the car next to me, wondering if they had heard what I had just heard.  That night, as I finally got home, exhausted from a day of so much fear, my boyfriend, for he was not my husband yet, held me and told me not watch TV. Don’t watch it.  Don’t watch it.  But we did, didn’t we?  Over and over it played on our screens, imprinting into our hearts, into our minds, and we wept for we were a nation changed.

Everyone has their story of where they were when they first heard about the towers.  At least everyone old enough to remember.  We teach a generation of children that only know about 9/11 through the stories that we share.  That certainly can google and watch in on YouTube but will never fully understand how changed our world became that day, 15 years ago this year.  This is why I am so grateful to the authors that have taken it upon themselves to tell the story of 9/11.  That tell the story from so many different angles and yet with the same purpose; never forget, heal, but remember.

Nora Raleigh Baskin’s book Ruby on the Outside was a book that I said all libraries should own because it told a story that some our children live every day; a parent incarcerated.  Her latest book Nine, Ten: A 9/11 Story is another must own, must read, must share, must discuss.  Written delicately, yet honest, it follows four different children on the days leading up to what we know as 9/11.  The four stories means that we get four different perspectives of that day, of what it meant to be an American after the event.  I love the four different perspectives because they mirror so well how we felt as a country; fractured but together.  All with our own experiences coloring how we viewed the event.

This book is a must add to your library as we continue to try to teach such a historic and frail moment.  It is appropriate for young students, but my 7th graders also love it (I was gifted an advanced review copy).  I am grateful to the authors that are giving me the tools to make our future understand why we changed so much as a nation, why we are the way we are now.  How we came together as a country, even though these days, that seems like a long lost memory.  Perhaps books like this will help us remember how alike we all are, rather than how different.  One can only hope.

From Amazon:

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.


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