Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My 9/11 Read Alouds - Picture Book Praise

This is the year that I truly realized that my students from this point forward will not have any memory of the September 11th terrorist attacks from their own lives. It will officially be history for them. This is the year that I truly realized the importance of non-fiction picture books...those that tell the true stories in a way that is accessible to children (even middle school age!) and engaging and provides a method of inviting them into a conversation about events that can sometimes be hard to understand or process or talk about. Books allow that conversation to happen by opening those doors. These are the picture book read alouds I use for 9/11. Both have stunning illustrations and stories that are powerful in their own way. One for the day of bravery and helpfulness of strangers; the other for the interconnectedness of our global society and the way in which small gestures can be meaningful and the importance of understanding other cultures. I would love to hear what other books you're using to share the stories of 9/11.

Title: FIREBOAT: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
Author: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: August 4, 2005
Number of Pages: 48
The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn't need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die.


Title: 14 COWS FOR AMERICA
Author: Carmen Agra Deedy
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Number of Pages: 36
In June of 2002, a very unusual ceremony begins in a far-flung village in western Kenya. An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed on the American men, women, and children, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary. A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely from American and Maasai as these legendary warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away. Word of the gift will travel news wires around the globe. Many will be profoundly touched, but for Americans, this selfless gesture will have deeper meaning still. For a heartsick nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope and friendship. Master storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy hits all the right notes in this elegant story of generosity that crosses boundaries, nations, and cultures. An afterword by Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah the Maasai warrior at the center of the story provides additional information about his tribe and their generous actions. Thomas Gonzalez's stunning paintings are saturated with rich hues of oranges and browns and blues and greens, which capture the nobility of the Maasai people and the distinctive landscape of the African plain.


1 comment:

  1. two beautiful books, I agree. I've heard of them, but you've now sold me on 14 cows. Thanks for the good reviews.

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