We Remember 9/11: Our Favorite Patriot Day Books and Resources
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. '” -Fred Rogers
Exploring sensitive topics with our children requires a gentle touch, and we've carefully curated this list of picture books, having read each one ourselves.
These titles focus on the resilience, compassion, and unity that emerged from the darkness of September 11th. By sharing these stories with your young readers, you can foster meaningful conversations and inspire hope.
14 Cows For America by Carmen Agra Deedy and Thomas Gonzalez
A beautiful telling of gift cows from the Maasai of Africa to America in our time of grief. This event takes place nine months after 9/11 when one of their own returned from school in NYC and shared our nation’s story with their elders.
30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Gilman Davis and Sally Wern Comport
A flag from Ground Zero goes on an incredible restoration journey that sees it patched up using flags from every state. This flag can now be seen at the National September 11 Museum.
A profusely illustrated short book on 9/11 sensitively told for young readers.
Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree by Ann Magee, illustrated by Nicole Wong
A beautiful example of hope springing from ashes, this book tells of a young girl following her uncle’s footsteps after 9/11 and growing up to join the NYC Fire Department.
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman
We discussed this title in episode 017 Favorite Autumn Books & 9/11 Stories That Make Ambre Cry of the Stories from the Ashes podcast. It’s one of Ambre’s favorite stories of things being restored to usefulness after initially being cast aside.
Saved By The Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman and Steve Moors
This picture book was written by a woman who was evacuated from Manhattan by boat with her husband on 9/11. She was inspired to write this book after watching the documentary Boatlift which we have included at the bottom of this list.
September Roses by Jeanette Winter
A lovely telling of two African women who had just landed in New York City for a flower show when the first plane hit. They used their flowers in a beautiful memorial in a show of shared grief between peoples.
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel: A Post-9/11 Story of Hope and Transformation by Janet Nolan and Thomas Gonzalez
A fascinating look at the recycling of a beam from one of the Twin Towers into the bow of a US Navy Warship.
The Man in the Red Bandanna by Honor Crowther Fagan and John Crowther
A book honoring the life and death of Welles Crowther, a volunteer firefighter who saved many lives and lost his own on 9/11.
Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen, illustrated by Aaron Becker
We discuss this moving title in episode 017 Favorite Autumn Books & 9/11 Stories That Make Ambre Cry of the Stories from the Ashes podcast. This telling of the survivor tree focuses on it recovery and subsequent return to NYC after the attack.
The Little Chapel That Stood by A. B. Curtiss, illustrated by Mirto Golino
We are so grateful to the author for making this book available for free online. It’s also available to purchase through the 9/11 Museum gift shop. Click to Listen and Watch. Read aloud by the author and including further history of the chapel and information about 9/11, this is highly educational. The reading of the book begins at the 12:50 mark.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
A story of the towers from another time. French aerialist Philippe Petit set his mind to do a trapeze walk between the towers in 1974 and this is the fantastic telling of that feat. A beautiful way to memorialize what the Towers meant to people over the years.
A picture book that moves through time from the 1970s when a Callery pear tree was planted to its being buried when the towers fell, its miraculous survival and rehabilitation to present day.
This graphic novel alternates between events on and following 9/11 in NYC and the resulting war in Afghanistan. It’s also the only children’s book I’ve read to even acknowledge building 7.
BOATLIFT - An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience, a documentary narrated by Tom Hanks
We discuss this documentary in episode 017 Favorite Autumn Books & 9/11 Stories That Make Ambre Cry of the Stories from the Ashes podcast. It is gentle enough for most children and will make you proud to be an American.
Thank you for remembering with us. Please share this list with others so we can share the tools to tackle tough topics.
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