Where were you when you heard the news? I was on my first-period conference in my very first year as a teacher. I liked to listen to the radio while I entered grades. I remember thinking the radio guy had to be wrong. The plane could not have hit the towers I visited in 10th grade. Probably a mistake…right? By the time my second period class came in, a few students and many teachers were already starting to talk about it. I had to tell this class of seventh graders the news. My hands were shaking. In a seat on the front row, a student named Brittany started crying.
It was my 26th day as a teacher.
Virtually no students in today’s K-12 schools were alive during this important event in our history. How can we help them understand the magnitude of how much this event shook the US and the world? How much people came together to heal? How much fear, prejudice, and Islamophobia continue to divide our communities today?
As with so many other historical events, books can help insert students into that time period. September 11, 2001 wasn’t all that long ago, but the world has changed so much in these 20 years. Students who read stories set during 9/11 can develop a better understanding of the profound sadness, fear, and outrage that came from that event. Books can help them feel the patriotism and profound grief surrounding that time. #Ownvoices stories by Muslim authors (who may have been children or young adults on 9/11) can help readers empathize with Muslim Americans who suddenly found themselves blamed for it.
I’ve created a PowerPoint of recommended 9/11 books for classrooms and libraries. It includes picture books, middle grades, and YA fiction and nonfiction titles about 9/11. Please feel free to download, edit, and share as you like. Use it as a booktalk or scroll in the library during checkout and downtimes.
September 11, 2001 Library Lesson
Looking for more? This is a 20-slide PowerPoint and Google Slides presentation for middle grade librarians and classroom teachers. It also comes with an editable PDF list of 9/11 reads for Grades 4-7.